August 2013 29th Year of Publication


August 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 no later than noon on Friday, August 9th. Our featured speaker will be Arthur Drea, noted historian, author, and lecturer. The topic of his presentation, “A Look at What Happened in 20th Century Europe,” promises to be an educational and entertaining journey down memory lane based on highlights from his recently published book, “20th Century Europe, A Concise History.” His book examines how the vagaries of European history have impacted lives on this side of the pond.
September 10 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: GRAA’s guests at the July luncheon were five summer interns and associated mentors selected by Dr. David Rosage, Program Director in Goddard’s Office of Education, to provide presentations. There is no doubt he spent considerable time and effort making his selections, especially since there were 400+ individuals granted Goddard internships this summer. Attending were interns having a mix of academic experience, including an undergraduate senior with a major in meteorology (and a option in atmospheric science); a Masters student with a major in chemistry (with a concentration in atmospheric chemistry); a 1st year PhD candidate who has a BS in Optical Engineering; a PhD candidate concentrating on Environmental Engineering; and an undergraduate junior with a major in Environmental Engineering. All of the presentations were well received by GRAA members and guests and great feedback was received from the interns. As a sterling example, one young man said he was “amazed to find out the GRAA meets monthly and has such a strong following” and that “seeing former employees staying in touch and involved speaks volumes for the NASA/GSFC culture.”

REVIEW OF AND VOTING INFORMATION FOR PROPOSED REVISIONS/UPDATES TO THE GRAA CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS: President Ron Browning formed a committee to revise and update GRAA’s Constitution and By-Laws. As a result of this review effort, the committee has proposed the following changes to these documents (i.e., deleting references to “Greenbelt only”; defining “alumni” as persons who ever worked as civil servants at Goddard (but moved to and/or retired elsewhere); and updating the frequency of Board of Director meetings). Copies of the proposed changes will be made available to members attending the August Luncheon for their review and purposes of voting to accept/decline the revision of the documents.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES - IT HAPPENED IN AUGUST: On August 25, 1997, a Delta II rocket launched the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center. ACE’s primary objective is to measure and compare the composition of several samples of matter, including the solar corona, the solar wind and other interplanetary particle populations, the local interstellar medium, and galactic matter. ACE orbits the L1 libration point which is a point of Earth-Sun gravitational equilibrium about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth and 148.5 million kilometers from the Sun and has enough propellant on board to maintain the orbit until at least 2024. When reporting space weather, ACE provides an advance warning (of about an hour) of geomagnetic storms that could potentially overload power grids, disrupt communications on Earth and present a hazard to astronauts. Eight of the spacecraft’s nine instruments are still functioning. Only the Solar Energetic Particle Ionic Charge Analyzer (SEPICA) is no longer functioning due to failure of the valves that control gas flow through the instrument. Active control of the SEPICA’s proportional counter was lost in February 2005 and permanently turned off in April 2011.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Treasurer Bob Wigand reports he received donations from the following members: Mary B. Atkins, Norman R. Beard, Jr., Ronald O. Britner (in memory of Henry C. Hoffman and Dale W. Harris), Harry L. Culver, John J. Degnan III, David M. Douds, Archie Lou Fitzkee, David J. Haykin, Jr., James P. Heppner, John M. Klineberg, John T. Koslosky, Harley J. Mann, Ivan J. Mason, Robert E. Orff, Karl G. Peters, Nancy G. Roman, Linda D. Soresi, John J. Tominovich, John A. Underwood, and Thomas C. Underwood.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: Arthur C. Clarke, noted science fiction writer and futurist who popularized space travel, once quipped, “I don’t believe in astrology. I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.”


•  John A. Balla, of New Carrollton, MD, passed away on April 28th. He was an Electronics Technician at Goddard and was part of the instrument team that developed and implemented numerous weather satellites. These included the Passive Attitude Control System for the Orbiting Solar Observatory, the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (which became Landsat 1 after launch), TIROS, and Nimbus.

•  David R. Lehman, Sr., of Eureka, CA, passed away on December 6, 2012. He was an Electronics Technician known as a jack-of-all-trades who worked during his Goddard career in the Sounding Rockets Division and later in the Compatibility Test Section of the Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network. Due to the section’s many capabilities, he was assigned special projects to assist in the development of both manned and unmanned spacecraft. During WWII, he served in the US Navy as an Engineer with the Seabees.

•  George M. Levin, of Fairfax, VA, passed away on June 17th after a long battle with cancer. He began his career at Goddard in 1962 and worked on the Nimbus weather satellite program and on the planetary exploration program, which included the Pioneer Venus Project. From 1971 to 1981 he managed the development of the Hubble Space Telescope’s first five scientific instruments as well as preparations for mission and science operations. In 1981 he moved to NASA Headquarters to manage the development of 17 successful flight demonstrations on both the Space Shuttle and Delta II rockets. In 1991 he assumed responsibility for managing NASA’s Orbital Debris Program. He retired from NASA in 1997 and joined the National Academies as Director of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, retiring from those responsibilities in 2007.

•  Stewart F. (Stu) McCullouch, III, of Tupper Lake, NY, suffered extreme head and brain trauma after losing control of his bicycle on June 25th while training to compete in the Lake Placid Ironman Triathlon in late July. As a US Air Force (AF) Captain, he was an Aerospace Engineer who came to Goddard to serve as an AF Liaison Officer in supporting the Network Control Center’s Space Shuttle missions on behalf of the Department of Defense. After retiring from the military in 1986, he became a civil servant and served as the Center’s Secure Programs Manager for ten years before becoming a security consultant for another 10 years prior to retiring to the pastoral environment of the Adirondack Mountains.

•  Harry E. Newberry, of Perry, IA, passed away on June 8th. Based in Greenbelt, he was an Electrical Engineer who established and maintained radar stations around the world, including such varied locations as England, Australia, Austria, South Africa, Peru, Ecuador, and Germany. He worked on such diverse missions as Apollo, Gemini and Viking. He served in the US Navy during WWII designing radar systems in the South Pacific.

•  Norman T. Myles, Sr., of Pocomoke City, MD, passed away at age 90 on June 22nd. Among his varied assignments at Wallops Flight Facility, he served as Head, Electrical Engineering Section, in the Sounding Rockets Division. He served in the US Navy during WWII and was involved with working on optical range finders.

PLEASE KEEP GRAA IN MIND: When you move or change your email address, please remind yourself to send a note to our Lanham address or notify Strat Laios via email at With more members opting to use cell phones nowadays rather than landlines, Ye Ed finds it extremely difficult to track down members when newsletters (both hardcopy and email versions) bounce back to us. Sometimes the effort turns out to be futile, providing us no alternative other than to delete members from our database. Ye Ed tries his level best to track down members, but sometimes his best efforts end up on the cutting room floor. Our best advice is to keep us informed of how we can contact you. With that said, members who no longer want to receive the GRAA Newsletter may simply send a note to GRAA, P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163 or an email to Dave Moulton at and we will remove your entry from the membership database.