Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association
P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163


March 2012 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 28th Year of Publication


March 13 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, so either contact Alberta Moran on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 or via e-mail at mdspacebr@aol.com no later than noon on Friday, March 9th. Our featured speaker will be Dennis J. Andrucyk, Goddard Director of Applied Engineering and Technology. His topic will be entitled “Major Engineering Changes in the Past 10 Years,” and he will no doubt provide a snapshot of advancements developed and implemented over the past decade.
April 10 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Dr. H. John Wood, Goddard Astronomer and Lead Optical Engineer, served as featured speaker for our February luncheon. He opened his absorbing presentation with insight into some of the challenges, development of solutions, and results from his experience with Goddard spacecraft and instruments for over 25 years. His primary focus was concentrated on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Can anyone who worked at Goddard during the past 20 years forget the attention to the launch, checkout and concern when HST did not focus on the Universe to the degree expected by scientists, NASA management and the knowledgeable public? John was a member of the inner circle that led to correcting the focus problem. What pleased attendees highly was the way he illustrated the solution with terms anyone could easily comprehend, such as grinding and polishing optical lenses, and relating the so-called “HST Correcting Lenses” to the few optical lenses in a “child’s periscope.” Dr. Wood continued to illustrate, through many HST images, how the optics and instruments were improved over time and sometimes replaced with newer and stronger instrumentation developed as technology improved. Further, he touched on the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite being parallel to challenges experienced during its time before the HST. In summary, his illustrations were so clear that attendees became absorbed with the topic and images and stayed after the presentation to discuss more one-on-one and in small group discussions.

March 19, 1964: A Delta rocket launched the Beacon Explorer-A satellite. It was a small ionospheric research satellite with the primary objective of obtaining worldwide observations of total electron content between the spacecraft and the Earth. During the third stage operation, however, a malfunction of unidentified origin prevented successful orbit. Beacon Explorer-A descended into the South Atlantic Ocean with no useful scientific data obtained.

RECENT RETIREES: Michael A. Comberiate, Howard C. Dew, John C. Ellis, Jr., Patricia A. Hutchinson, Harold D. Isenberg, Dona R. McKenney, Frank A. Peters, Virginia E. Rhodes, Lyle E. Tiffany, and Carol A. Sappington.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible contributions were received from the following members: Mary Adkins, Marlene Forster, Glenn Harris, Elizabeth Hoff, Mrs. Donald Jamison, Marie Marr, Edward Radovich, Donald Righter, Robert Stanley, Francis Stetina, Mary Trainor (in memory of George Pieper and Jack Townsend), and an anonymous donor.

CHANGES IN GODDARD LEADERSHIP: Center Director Robert D. (Rob) Strain announced on January 30th that he was departing Goddard to become Chief Operating Officer of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation in CO. He announced on February 21st that NASA Administrative Bolden tapped Christopher J. Scolese to be the new Goddard Center Director, effective March 5th. Mr. Scolese has been with NASA nearly 25 years, moving from private industry to start at Goddard in 1987, where he served in numerous positions, to include Earth Observing System (EOS) TERRA Project Manager, EOS Systems Manager, EOS Program Manager, Deputy Director of Flight Programs for Earth Science, and Deputy Center Director. At NASA Headquarters, he served as Deputy Associate Administrator in the Office Space Science, Chief Engineer, and Acting Administrator, and Associate Administrator. Welcome back, Chris.


•  Anthony J. (Tony) Calio, of Whidbey Island, WA, passed away from heart failure on January 14th. While not a Goddard retiree or alumnus, some members likely remember him from his NASA years when he first helped establish the Electronics Research Center in Boston, MA, and later joined the Apollo Program Office at JSC to manage all scientific aspects of the Apollo and Skylab programs. He then moved to NASA Headquarters, where his last position was as Associate Administrator for Space and Terrestrial Applications. He was nominated by President Reagan in 1981 to be NOAA Deputy Administrator and became NOAA Administrator in 1985.

•  James B. (Bernie) Farrall, of Shallotte, NC (formerly of Bowie, MD), passed away from an 8-month battle with brain cancer on June 4th, 2011. He transferred from the Treasury Department to Goddard in 1963 and worked as a Computer Systems Analyst in the Computer Services Branch until his retirement in 1993.

•  Michael D. Rice, of Woodbridge, VA, passed away on February 1st. After working for many years as an Air Traffic Controller at Washington National Airport for the Federal Aviation Administration, he transferred to Goddard as a Network Manager following President Reagan’s decision to fire the unionized air traffic controllers. Mike retired several years later due to severe macular degeneration.

CALL FOR JUDGES TO SERVE AT SCIENCE FAIRS : For members living in the Metropolitan Washington area, please consider spending a few hours judging a science fair at a local school. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics National Capital Section (AIAA NCS) is seeking members interested in helping inspire the future generation of the nation’s best and brightest scientists and engineers. If interested, please contact Kate Becker, AIAA NCS Science Fair Coordinator, at ksbecker@gwmail.gwu.edu (or 316-288-6035). The science fairs are scheduled at schools for specific days between March 15th and 24th, so please contact Kate as soon as possible.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: The evening news is when television anchors begin with ‘Good Evening’ and proceed to tell us why it isn’t.



If you wish to vote for one or more of the nominees listed below, carefully circle the selected name(s).  You may also nominate yourself and/or

other GRAA members as write-in candidates.  YOU MAY VOTE FOR A MAXIMUM OF SEVEN (7) LISTED AND/OR WRITE-IN CANDIDATES.  Please print your name on the line provided below and return the ballot to GRAA, P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD  20703-0163 so it will arrive no later than April 6th.


Your name_________________________

Dick Baker

George Barth

Charlie Boyle                                                                                    Write-in Candidate________________________

Ron Browning

Barbara Hamilton                                                                            Write-in Candidate________________________

Strat Laios

Bob Wigand                                                                                      Write-in Candidate________________________