July 2013 29th Year of Publication


July 9 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, July 5th. Dr. David Rosage, Program Director in Goddard’s Office of Education, will be bringing both experienced and new interns (accompanied by some mentors) to highlight projects they are working on during their summer internships. Please plan to attend, perhaps have the opportunity to share experiences with these talented young scientists and engineers, and encourage them to pursue NASA careers.
August 13 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Dr. David Tomko, Space Biology Program Executive at NASA Headquarters, expertly described fundamental and applied research for space exploration as related to humans in space. He defined the following major areas of concern for extended space flight: anatomy and physiology; space radiation; hostile/closed habitat; distance from the Earth; and isolation and confinement. Factors affecting these areas are interrelated. As in NASA space and earth science exploration, human space exploration now relies on recommendations from National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council decadal surveys. Space life and physical sciences research is looking at the sequence of biological systems to human health emphasis on human exploration during long-term space flights, with the International Space Station (ISS) serving as a space biomedical/biological laboratory. The current plan of going to an asteroid rather than Mars changes research emphasis. Much has been learned from human space flight, such as: in space, body fluids go toward the head rather than feet, causing fluid to dump; astronauts experience diminished vision; women should have less exposure to radiation; micro organisms become more virulent; and human duration in space can be extended from six months. Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are anticipated to spend a year on the ISS starting in March 2015. Dr. Tomko noted that this year’s budget for the Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division is about $200 million dollars.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES - IT HAPPENED IN JULY: On July 24, 1992, a Delta II rocket launched the Geotail spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, FL. The mission is a collaboration of Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (forerunner of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and NASA Goddard. The primary purpose of Geotail is to study the structure and dynamics of the tail region of the magnetosphere (i.e., magnetotail) with a comprehensive set of scientific instruments which study electric fields, magnetic fields, plasmas, energetic particles and plasma waves. Geotail, together with the Wind, Polar, Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and Cluster spacecrafts, have constituted the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics program which aims at gaining improved understanding of solar-terrestrial relations. After 20+ years, Geotail continues to send back crucial information about how aurora form, how energy from the sun funnels through near-Earth space, and the ways in which magnetic field lines move and rebound, creating explosive bursts that rearrange the shape of the Earth’s magnetic environment.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Bob Wigand reports no tax-deductible donations were received from members during the past month, which is unprecedented since GRAA received tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Bob notes this is no doubt a fluke and hopes members were not discouraged by the problems the IRS has experienced of late. After all, GRAA has luncheons, but has never had anything to do with a tea party!

NASA MAKES SELECTS NEW CROP OF ASTRONAUT CANDIDATES: On June 17th, NASA announced the selection of eight new astronaut candidates – its first new crop since 2009. The announcement came on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first American woman in space, Sally Ride, who passed away last year. The candidates were chosen from the 6000+ applications received in early 2012, the second largest number ever received. The group made NASA history, as four of the eight are females, making it the highest percentage of female candidates ever selected. NASA Administrator Bolden noted they will no doubt “help lead the first human mission to an asteroid in the 2020s, and then on to Mars.”

GRAA NEWSLETTER MAILINGS: Members desiring to receive the GRAA Newsletter via email versus snail mail may simply send an email to Strat Laios at Please consider doing so, as you will help save a tree and GRAA’s mailing fees.


•  Henry K. “Buck” Arneson, Jr, of Dawsonville, GA, passed away on May 21st from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He served in numerous finance-related positions at both NASA Headquarters and Goddard. Among varied assignments at Goddard, he was Chief of the Financial Management Division and also Deputy Director for Resources in the Flight Projects Directorate. He was a Korean War veteran who, among other medals, received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Silver Star.

•  Theodore L. “Ted” Felsentreger, of Gambrills, MD, passed away on June 15th from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He was an Electrical Engineer/Mathematician at Goddard who was widely known for calculating the orbits of satellites by hand. In 1983 he volunteered in his spare time to take over the monitoring of bird nest boxes on the Center’s nature trails. He continued to monitor the boxes after retiring in 1995, with close to 30 years to his credit.

•  Henry C. Hoffman, Jr., of Catonsville, MD, passed away May 28th from pneumonia. He was an Electrical/Electronics Engineer at Goddard who spent 31+ years as Head of the Guidance & Control Branch. Missions he worked on are too numerous to mention; however, some are the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, Cosmic Background Explorer, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, and SOHO. He was renowned for troubleshooting satellites to resolve anomalies when they occurred and bring them back into operational compliance.

•  John J. “Jim” Jacintho, of Sun City Center, FL, passed away on June 10th from heart failure. He was a Computer Engineer at Goddard and, among other assignments during his 36-year career, worked in the Network Computing Operations Section, the System Development Section, and was Assistant Head of the Network Control Systems Branch in the Networks Division.

•  Nathan Mandell, of Deerfield Beach, FL, passed away on February 28th. He was a Senior Technician in the Electronics Test Branch of the Test and Evaluation Division. Nathan and another technician were instrumental in designing much of the instrumentation for Goddard’s Space Environment Simulator, which was used to evaluate the performance of spacecraft such as the Orbiting Astronautical Observatory, Orbiting Geophysical Observatory, and the series of Interplanetary Monitoring Platforms.

•  Mary Ellen Shoe, of Dunkirk, MD, passed away on June 6th from cancer. She spent 45+ years at Goddard as a Communications Manager in NASA Communications and later as Head of the Communications Services Branch, Systems Management Division, Information Technology and Communications Directorate.

•  Robert C. Smaldore, of College Park, MD, passed away on May 26th at age 93. He was a Small Business Specialist at Goddard and, among varied assignments, was Head of the Industry Assistance Office.

JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE (JWST) RECEIVES A BACKBONE: The JWST is closer to completion with the recent delivery of the backplane support frame, a piece that will be used to connect all pieces of the telescope together. It will bring together the JWST’s center section and wings, secondary mirror support structure, aft optics system, and integrated science instrument module. It will also keep the light path aligned inside the telescope during science observations.

GRAA MAILINGS: Members no longer desiring 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 ( ) and we will, regrettably, remove your entry from our database.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: When country singer Willie Nelson became a senior citizen, he decided to change the titles and lyrics of many of his famous songs. For instance, his big hit, “On the Road Again,” was updated to “On the Commode Again.”