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


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


November 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, November 9th. Frank Cepollina, Associate Director of the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office and known by many as the “Father of On-Orbit Servicing,” will speak on the topic of “Servicing Spacecraft with Robotics.” He will no doubt discuss projects successfully achieved in the past and projects that are on the horizon.
December There will be no GRAA Luncheon due to December’s many holiday-related events.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: At the October GRAA Luncheon, Dr. Claire Parkinson, Senior Climatologist and Climate Change Scientist, described several concepts and theories that have been considered over time as possible means to control climate. Geoengineering is the term she used for human approaches to controlling climate change. Many natural as well as human activities affect climate on a worldwide basis. Examples of natural effects are tectonic plate movement and agriculture. Human impacts cause both climate warming and cooling. Particulate matter pouring into the atmosphere causes pollution, smog, and with time, climate change. Some of the predicted affects of warming around the Earth over the next few decades are: oceans expand slightly with warming, raising sea level; increased carbon dioxide causes ocean acidity, affecting sea life; permafrost decays the production of methane; and available fresh water is reduced and some species become extinct. Various alternative energy sources (e.g., nuclear, solar, wind) are being considered, but all have problems. Examples of geoengineering schemes are: placing large mirrors in orbit to shield the Earth from solar radiation; reflecting sunlight by painting roofs white in low latitudes; and damming the Bering Strait to keep Pacific Ocean warm waters from reducing the polar ice cap. Dr. Parkinson noted in closing that our attitudes change with time and conditions. In the early 1900s there were suggestions that the Earth was cooling and in need of warming.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES - IT HAPPENED ON NOVEMBER 23, 1960: A Thor-Delta rocket launched the Television Infrared Observation Satellite 2 (TIROS-2 or -B), the purpose of which was to test the experimental television techniques and infrared equipment to develop a worldwide meteorological satellite information system and to evaluate a new attitude control system for spacecraft orientation utilizing the Earth’s magnetic field.

RECENT RETIREES: Marc L. Imhoff, Arletta R. Love, Nancy G. Maynard, Rud V. Moe, Harvey G. Safren, Jean H. Swank, and Allen V. Sweigart.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible contributions were received from members Frank Carr, Donald Righter, and Mary Trainor (in memory of Frank McDonald).

MEMORIAL SERVICES PLANNED FOR DR. FRANK B. MCDONALD: There are two observances scheduled as memorials for Dr. Frank B. McDonald. The first is a memorial symposium on Friday, November 16th, which is an all-day (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) event (with lunch provided) at the University of Maryland College Park Clubhouse at Mulligan’s (located at University Boulevard and Stadium Drive). Since space is limited and available seats are now at a premium, members may attempt to register at http://ter.ps/mcdonald (noting your affiliation as “Goddard retiree”). The second is a public memorial service, for which registration is not required, to be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 17th, at the Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church (located at 3215 Powder Mill Road, Adelphi, MD).

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: There are two theories for arguing with women…apparently neither works.


•  Guy P. Marcot, of Summerville, SC, passed away on September 12th. He was a Computer Scientist who worked with Norman Ness and Mario Acuna in the 1960s in the Space Sciences Division at Goddard before moving to industry.

•  Barbara J. Sargent, of Capon Bridge, WV, passed away on September 25th after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was a Secretary at both Goddard and NASA Headquarters during the period 1966 to 1981.

•  Joseph P. Young, of Laurel, MD, passed away on September 28th. He was an Aerospace/Mechanical Engineer during his 30 years at Goddard, and after retiring as a civil servant he worked as a contractor at Goddard until his passing. Among various assignments, he served as Head of the Structural Loads and Analysis Section in the Mechanical Systems Branch and later on worked on Space Station-related tasks in the Projects Directorate.

RECOLLECTIONS OF GODDARD EXPERIENCES : In the August newsletter, Ron Browning asked members to provide stories about experiences in their Goddard careers. We share here the first input, submitted by James Gavura (and Ye Ed apologizes for heavily editing his comments due to space constraints). “I started at Goddard in 1966 as a BFEC tech bouncing laser beams off Echo satellites. Later I worked as a STDN tech and engineer supporting nearly all satellites launched from 1967 until retiring in 2005 as TDRS White Sands Complex Station Director in NM. As a result of my tracking network days, I was assigned to some very unique tracking stations worldwide. Perhaps most interesting was my assignment with the Polar Orbiting Geophysical Observatory (basically OGO-4). After supporting the launch/orbit via a mobile telemetry van on the USNS Wheeling, I returned to my station in Fort Myers, FL, only to be called two weeks later with a request to fly to Fort Churchill (Manitoba, CN) to provide emergency support to try to save the satellite, which due to tumbling had used an extensive amount of propellant to regain stability. Due to it being the Labor Day weekend, the movers charged triple time to pack and store my household goods. After being up all night packing, I drove my family to OH and dropped them off with relatives. I caught the first available flights to Winnipeg, CN, and then to Fort Churchill. The van and equipment arrived by cargo plane. A NASA rep arrived soon after to coordinate with Canadian government officials, but left in a few days. I befriended the site’s Facilities Chief, who provided laborers to help set up the equipment. Most were from Eastern Europe and didn’t speak English; however, being of Slovakian heritage, I used my limited vocabulary skills, drawings and gestures to communicate. They provided critical support and enabled me to survive the weather conditions (-67 degrees, with high winds and deep snow). When I brought the systems up, they essentially functioned properly and required only minor calibration. Two weeks later other techs and engineers arrived to help out. My wife and two children (ages 2 and 4) arrived and all I could find for us to live in was a trailer with no running water, so they literally had to stay inside due to the extreme weather and the constant threat of polar bears and wolves roaming in the little village. We advised the OGO control center that we were able to formulate a plan for stabilizing the satellite. The plan was accepted and implemented, the anomaly was corrected, and the satellite was saved. Suffice it to say I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on NASA projects worldwide and to meet and work with some of the hardiest, friendliest, and most capable individuals on Earth.”