April 2014 30th Year of Publication


April 8 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Greenbelt American Legion Post #136 at 6900 Greenbelt Road. Reservations are required due to our change of venue, so please contact Alberta Moran either on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 or via e-mail at no later than noon on Friday, April 4th. Our featured speaker will be Dr. K. Jon Ranson, Head of Goddard’s Biospheric Sciences Laboratory and Project Scientist for the Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra spacecraft. He will present the results of recent research about forest fires and other biospheric studies in the US.
May 13 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. William Wrobel, Director of the Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) and Suborbital and Special Orbital Projects Directorate, will provide an overview of the many new and exciting missions and operations that have been occurring at the WFF in recent years.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: After last October’s government shutdown forced cancellation of the GRAA Luncheon, we were able to reschedule Center Director Chris Scolese as featured speaker for the March GRAA Luncheon. He provided an excellent overview and status of recent missions, ongoing missions, comments about the FY15 budget, and thoughts about what instruments and missions are or may be on the operations horizon. Recent successes include the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, a joint US/Japan program and follow-on to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K; and the National Polar-orbiting Partnership mission, precursor to the Joint Polar Satellite System. Missions in assembly and/or test mode include the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, which will orbit as four satellites in formation; the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mirror elements and instrument package is being integrated at Goddard and is on schedule for launch in 2018, and the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), a precursor to the planned Mars rover mission in 2020, is expected to reach Mars this September 22nd to explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the sun and solar winds. An agreement was reached between NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration to test drones at both WFF and NASA Langley in collaboration with Virginia Tech, the University of MD, and Rutgers University. One example of vagaries experienced with the government shutdown was that JWST equipment was in a thermal test chamber; however, it could only be monitored and kept cold, but not tested. In another example, MAVEN prelaunch activity was allowed to continue to meet a tight rendezvous window with Mars. NASA’s proposed FY15 budget is $17.5B, and $800M may be added with Congressional approval.

Goddard won both 2013 new start missions, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, for which it competed. Future programs are Cyrus-Rex to collect an asteroid sample; laser communication with geosynchronous satellites; the Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets mission to look at dark matter with a telescope made from mirrors given to NASA by the National Reconnaissance Office; and satellite servicing at the International Space Station to cut wires, remove covers, detect ammonia leaks and transfer fluid. WFF is being studied as a possible launch site for sun-synchronous missions. Chris closed his presentation by showing a photograph of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on a recent visit to Goddard where he recognized and praised the worldwide contributions of both Landsat and EOS. He wanted to revisit Goddard after first visiting 50 years ago.

52nd ROBERT H. GODDARD MEMORIAL SYMPOSIUM : This year’s symposium in early March was more positive and upbeat than in recent years due to having a relatively stable budget for the next two years, progress being made in designing, assembling and testing flight hardware (e.g., Space Launch System, Orion Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle, JWST) and prioritizing the use of innovative science and technology advances has apparently helped immeasurably. If interested in watching the symposium’s many sessions on video, simply go to and access them near the top of the homepage where ”click here for video coverage” is highlighted.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Treasurer Bob Wigand reports he received tax-deductible contributions from the following members: Elaine Blazosky, Ronald Britner, Allen & Rebecca Frenzel (in memory of Barney Hoyt), Thomas Huber, Michael Lauriente, Gerald Longanecker, William Meyer, Robert O’Steen, Edward & Phyllis Radovich, E. G. Stassinopoulos, Charles Woodyard (in memory of John W. Morton), Earle Young, and Michael Ziegler

THOUGHT FOR APRIL: Have you ever noticed that the first ten pieces of luggage on the airport carousel never belong to anyone?

RECENT RETIREES: Peter O. Acosta, Carver G. Audain, James A. Bangerter, Evette J. Blackwell, John F. Bolton, David J. Bundas, Lourdes F. Carson, Liz A. Citrin, Regina J. Cody, William H. Coleman, Deborah A. Cusick, William M. Daniels, John E. Decker, Dewey A. Dove, William L. Eichorn, Jacquelyn H. Fiora, Catherine D. Fleshman, James L. Foster, Cheri A. Glaser, Suzanne Goldberg, Rodney R. Green, Gary A. Harris, Raymond K. Hinkle, Jr., Charlie Holloway, Paul H. Hwang, John T. Jackson, Robert E. Jenkins, Sr., Ronald L. Lassiter, Stephen A. Leake, David J. Mangus, Jane K. Marquart, Michael C. McCumber, Debora A. Miller, Gifford P. Moak, Eileen J. O’Neill, Hongwoo Park, Kathleen M. Pierson, Cheryl A. Powell, Frank Scalzo, Frank A. Schlosser, Ashok K. Sharma, Deborah L. Sharpe, James C. Smith, Robert J. Sodano, Felix L. Souffrain, Cheryl L. Spencer, David O. Starr, James R. Thieman, Edward F. Thomas, Ann M. Travis, Carl M. Wagenfuehrer, Raymond S. Whitley, Dorothy M. Williams, John T. Wolz, Pen-shu Yeh, and Said W. Zewari.


•  Anthony B. “Tony” Campitelli, of Millersville, MD, passed away on March 8th. He was a Thermal Engineer at Goddard and worked for several years in the Shuttle Payloads Design Section, Thermal Engineering Branch of the Engineering Directorate.

•  Joseph P. Cappello, of Columbia, MD, passed away on March 17th. He was a Procurement Officer/Specialist in the Procurement Division and for part of his time at Goddard was Head of the Space Sciences Negotiation Branch.

•  Kelly M. Carter, of Laurel, MD, passed away on March 7th. She spent most of her NASA career at Goddard in several procurement-related positions, as Associate Chief of the Logistics Management Division, and as Chief of the Information Services Division prior to transferring to NASA Headquarters in 2004. Before retiring in early 2013, she last served as Chief Information Officer of NASA Headquarters and Director of the Headquarters IT and Communications Division

•  Dean F. Elliott, of Mount Airy, MD, passed away on February 9th. Among varied assignments, he was an Engineer in the Electromechanical Integration Section and later in the Space Technology Division of the Engineering Directorate.

•  Jane N. Foster, of Pocomoke City, MD, passed away on January 4th. She was Manager of the WFF Library.

•  Lou Jean Jackson, of College Park, MD, passed away on October 31, 2013. She was a Secretary at Goddard and her last position was as Executive Secretary to the Director of the Office of System Safety and Mission Assurance.

•  William A. “Bill” Landymore, of Bowie, MD, passed away on February 11th. He was a Procurement Officer/Specialist and was Head of the Facilities Support Branch of the Procurement Division and later as Assistant to the Procurement Officer, Management Operations Directorate.

•  Joseph G. Lundholm, Jr., of Gaithersburg, MD, passed away on February 5th. Dr. Lundholm joined NASA Headquarters in 1965 as an Engineering Physicist and was a manager in the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology. From 1981 until 1986, he was a manager of the Advanced Missions Analysis Office in the Flight Projects Directorate.

•  William C. “Bill” Skillman, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on February 18th. He was a Meteorologist at Goddard and worked in Severe Storms Branch of the Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences of the Applications Directorate (later known as the Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes in the Earth Sciences Directorate).

•  Charles M. Uvass, of Frederick, MD, passed away on February 24th. He was an Electrical Engineer at Goddard who worked in the Network Engineering Branch of the Manned Spaceflight Support Division and later in the Flight Dynamics Support Branch of the Mission Operations and Data Systems Division.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES – IT HAPPENED IN APRIL : On April 14, 1969, a Thor-Agena rocket launched Nimbus 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. It was third in a series of meteorological R&D satellites designed as a stabilized, Earth-oriented platform to test sensor systems and collect meteorological data. Nimbus 3 was successful and performed normally until July 22, 1969, when the spectrometer failed. Three other instruments failed during 1970, after which most experiments were useless. All operations were terminated on January 22, 1972.