March 2013 29th Year of Publication


March 12 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, March 8th. Our featured speaker will be Dr. Peter Hildebrand, Director of the Earth Sciences Division (Code 610). He will present his personal views on implications about climate change as presented in President Obama’s State of the Union Address and actions NASA could potentially consider implementing in response to the President’s statements to the nation.
April 9 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Attendees at the February luncheon were treated to a presentation, entitled “Observations of Global Warming at Both Poles,” by member Michael Comberiate (aka: NASA Mike). He came to Goddard in 1969 and, after working as a Design Engineer for many years, initiated over 120 projects for NASA and other agencies, leading to such honors as having the Comberiate Glacier named for one of his many significant achievements. In his talk, he explained the numerous observations and data compilations regarding global warming from both historical and personal perspectives (based principally on his two recent visits to all seven continents). Mike passionately demonstrated effects the melting polar ice cap is having on the world’s climate and weather, as well as what is happening with both the land- and sea-based ice in and around Antarctica. Particularly illustrative is the impact ice in western Antarctica could have in significantly raising sea level and how real that possibility may become. One other significant point he made is that the disappearance of much of the white sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has led to heating the High Arctic region and causing distortions in the Jet Stream. The Jet Stream is apparently experiencing more extended peaks and moving more slowly from west to east, thus causing the weird and prolonged new weather patterns we have heard or read about of late. Mike’s globetrotting always allows and prompts him to showcase his enlightening and entertaining findings for the edification of GRAA members and others.

51STROBERT H. GODDARD MEMORIAL SYMPOSIUM : The 51st Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium, hosted by the American Astronautical Society (AAS), will be held March 19-21 at the Greenbelt Marriott (the evening reception is merely a meet and greet mixer). This year’s theme is “Success through Interdependence.” Attendance is open to GRAA members (over 65 and no longer working full-time) for $75, which includes receptions, continental breakfasts, and refreshments breaks; however, lunches for the March 20th and 21st sessions cost $40 extra per day. An online reservation form, program agenda, and additional administrative information can be accessed at the top of the AAS website at

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES - IT HAPPENED IN MARCH: On March 5, 1978, a Delta rocket launched Landsat 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), CA. It was a modified Nimbus satellite with the general mission objective of extending the period of space-data acquisition for Earth resources initiated by Landsat 1 and continued by Landsat 2. The near-polar orbiting spacecraft served as a stabilized, earth-oriented platform for obtaining information on agricultural and forestry resources, geology and mineral resources, hydrology and water resources, geography, cartography, environmental pollution, oceanography and marine resources, and meteorological phenomena. It was decommissioned in 1983, far beyond its designed life expectancy.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Bob Wigand received tax-deductible donations from GRAA members Robert Groves, David Schaefer, Thomas Underwood, and Charles Woodyard. Our treasury experienced a deficit of $3,150+ during the 2012 calendar year, the largest outlay of which was for the printing and mailing of the 2012 edition of the GRAA Membership Directory.

TRACKING AND DATA RELAY SATELLITE K (TDRS-K) AND LANDSAT DATA CONTINUITY MISSION (LDCM) SPACECRAFT SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED: After being delayed for one day to replace a small box on the first stage of its Atlas V rocket that sends signals for explosive devices to properly detonate, Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) K was successfully launched on January 30th from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Just twelve days later, another Atlas V rocket successfully launched the LDCM from VAFB, CA, on February 11th. Although we have not yet heard if the results of check-out processes have been finalized and operational status achieved, congratulations are in order for every member of Goddard’s mission teams.


•  Denney J. Keys, of Mitchellville, MD, passed away from cancer at age 54 on December 30th. A Mechanical Engineer, he joined NASA as lead Power Systems Manager for the Space Station Freedom Program Office and transferred to Goddard’s Power Systems Branch in 1993 where he served as lead Power Systems Engineer for multiple spacecraft missions. From 2007 until his passing, he served at Goddard as a Senior Technical Fellow for Power Systems Engineering with NASA’s Space Engineering Research Center.

•  Alice D. Lohr, of Friendsville, MD, passed away on January 30th. She was a Secretary in Goddard’s former Applications Directorate and was a long-standing active member of the Goddard Art Club.

•  George H. Ludwig, of Winchester, VA, passed away on January 22nd after a two-year battle with prostate cancer. Dr. Ludwig was a Physicist who served at Goddard as Head of the Fields and Particles Instrumentation Section from 1960 to 1965. He later served as Chief of the Information Processing Division and Associate Director for Data Operations until transferring to NOAA in 1972, where he served in several senior positions. He transferred from NOAA to NASA Headquarters in 1981 as Chief Research Scientist and retired in 1984. One of his many notable scientific achievements was being co-discoverer of the Van Allen radiation belts on Explorer 1, America’s first orbital satellite. A memorial service for Dr. Ludwig will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 116 South Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA, on March 2nd at 3:00 p.m.

•  Anthony M. Marshall, of Reisterstown, MD, passed away after a long, debilitating illness on September 27, 2012. He was a Design Engineer at Goddard, principally serving during his career in the Sounding Rocket Division (including the Structures and Mechanisms Section of the Engineering Branch; the Technological Section and Instrument Structures Section of the Electromechanical Branch; and the Flight Support Section of the Special Payloads Division).

•  Marvin S. Maxwell, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on December 10, 2012. Among his varied Goddard assignments, he was Assistant Chief of the Earth Observation Systems Branch in the Applications Directorate.

•  John E. Naugle, of North Falmouth, MA, passed away on January 23rd from colon cancer. Dr. Naugle was a Physicist who came to Goddard at its inception, but transferred to NASA Headquarters shortly thereafter (1960), where he first served for a year as Chief of Physics and then in 1961 was appointed Director of the Physics and Astronomy Programs and later Associate Administrator for the Office of Space Science. Upon retiring from NASA, he was chairman of Fairchild Space Company and then left the company in the mid-1980’s to become a consultant to the NASA Administrator until 1991. While serving in Europe during WWI, he became a prisoner of war when he was captured during the Battle of the Bulge.

•  Edwin G. Reid, of Berkeley Springs, WV, passed away on October 12, 2012. He was an Electrical Technician at Goddard and, among his varied assignments, worked in the Instrument Electro-Optics Branch of the Instrument Division of the Engineering Directorate. Following retirement, he worked for several years as a contractor in the Security Branch.

•  Eleanor (Ellie) H. Ritchie, of Hopkinton, MA, passed away on January 28th at age 90. During her career at Goddard she worked as a Technical Writer in the Documentation Branch of the Technical Information Division and later as a Recruiter in the Classification and Organization Branch of the Manpower Utilization Division. She then transferred to NASA Headquarters, where she worked as a Writer/Editor for many years in the NASA History Office, retiring at the end of 1987.

GRAA MAILINGS: If you no longer wish to receive the GRAA Newsletter, simply send a note to our Lanham, MD, address or an email to Dave Moulton ( ) and we will regretfully remove your entry from our database.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: We could all take a lesson from the weather, as it obviously pays no attention to criticism.