February 2014 30th Year of Publication


February 11 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, February 7th. John Hrastar, GRAA member and Director of Goddard’s Systems Technology and Advanced Concepts Directorate prior to his retirement, will be our featured speaker. He will provide information from his recently completed book (currently being edited by the publisher) about the history of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). He will present the first half of his LNG history and then return at a later luncheon to complete the history, at which copies of his book will no doubt be available for purchase.
March 11 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Center Director Christopher Scolese will be our featured speaker. He will bring attendees up-to-date about Goddard’s ongoing and new missions as well as the general health and welfare of the Center. Please make an effort to attend to help demonstrate GRAA members’ passion for the Center’s past, present, and future.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Our first luncheon of 2014 offered the official NASA perspective on Space Technology. Dr. Michael Gazarik, Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, described his organization’s role in finding and supporting technology for new science and human space endeavors. The organization was formed a year or so ago to look at the need for systems that go beyond low earth orbit (LEO) to allow NASA to get back to building things rather than just operating LEO missions. Currently, NASA is principally looking at nine areas of technology that are associated with propulsion, robotics, power, and communications. For example, the Curiosity rover on Mars relied on 1970’s technology from Viking for its ascent to the surface of Mars, which restricted its landing weight to one metric ton. Inadequate bandwidth restricts the number of images sent back from Mars. So as not to become a “sandbox,” the plan is to develop a roadmap like science programs use to define and prioritize technology directed toward space missions. All NASA centers are involved, using a budget of approximately $600M in FY13. The goal is seven launches utilizing new technology within two years. Dr. Gazarik closed his presentation by emphasizing the need to maintain critical processes as well as advancing technology by citing Dr. Wernher von Braun’s quote of “after many years of rocketry, welding is critical.”

52ndROBERT H. GODDARD MEMORIAL SYMPOSIUM : The 52nd Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium, hosted by the American Astronautical Society (AAS), will be held March 4th – 6th at the Greenbelt Marriott [Note: Ye Ed points out that the reception on the evening of March 4th serves as a “meet and greet” mixer]. This year’s theme is “Science and Exploration: Engineering the Future.” Attendance is open for GRAA members (over 65 and no longer working full-time) for only $75, which includes the receptions on all three evenings. If interested in also attending the lunches on March 5th and 6th, they can be purchased for $40 each day. An online reservation form, program agenda, and additional administrative information can be easily accessed at the AAS home page at If you decide to attend, simply fill out the online reservation form and forward it with your credit card information.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Treasurer Bob Wigand reports he received tax-deductible contributions from the following members: Mary Adkins, Raimonde Aubrey, Carl Bayne, Sandra Brown (in memory of Paul Villone), Ronald Browning, Michael Calabrese, William Case, Denise Duignan, Arthur Fuchs, Robert Fulcher, Walter Gates, Glenn Harris, John Hodge, Arthur Jackson, Thomas LaVigna, Donald & Judith Lokerson, Gerald Longanecker, Robert & Patricia Mackey, Robert McIntyre, Patrick Melia, Ronald & Margaret Mentzer, John Millman, Graham Moore, Thomas Page, David Schaefer, Elaine Shell, Robert “Ed” Smylie, Frank Snow, Richard Strafella, Adam & Anne Thompson, Thomas Underwood, Patricia Unger, Roberta Valonis, Carl Wagner, Eugene Willingham, and Robert E. Wilson.

NEW EDITION OF THE GRAA MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY: The 2014 edition of the GRAA Membership Directory is being reviewed for printing and publication this coming spring and we would prefer that it be as accurate as possible. If you have contact information updates (e.g., address, email address, telephone number) that need to be made, please send the information in a note to GRAA’s mailing address in Lanham, MD, or forward it in an email to Strat Laios at


•  George E. Abid, Sr., of Mitchellville, MD, passed away on December 10th from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in January 2013. When asked what George did at Goddard, one colleague said he was Administrative/Executive Officer of the Sciences Directorate and did whatever Dr. Pieper wanted him to do to support the Directorate and Center. After retiring, George spent numerous years working for Goddard contractor firms.

•  Helen T. Bonk, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on January 17th. During her career at Goddard, over time she worked in the Image Processing Facility Operations Section and the Operations Management Branch of the Information Processing Division, Missions & Data Operations Directorate.

•  Vincent G. Canali, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on January 2nd. Among other offices, he was a Designer in the Instrument Technology Section (Code 721.2) and the Technology Section (Code 716.2) of the Management Systems Branch, Space Technology Division. After retiring, he spent over a decade working as a contractor for Swales Aerospace.

•  Donald F. Fitzpatrick, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on December 15th. At Goddard he was a Mechanical Engineer in the Mechanical Systems Branch, Space Technology Division, and worked on many spacecraft during his career.

•  Fredrick W. “Fred” Herold, Sr., of Tilghman, MD, passed away on January 11th. He was an Engineer at Goddard whose varied assignments involved working with the Ground Tracking Network, Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network, and the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS). Fred was Ground System Test Manager for the TDRSS Project and developed test procedures for final acceptance of the spacecraft and ground station interface testing and also was responsible for acceptance of the White Sands Ground Terminal in Las Cruces, NM.

•  Gerald R. “Gerry” Quigley, Of Harpers Ferry, WV, passed away on January 8th. As a Computer Engineer, his many varied assignments included Head of the Management Information Reports Section, Head of the Computer Resources Management Section, Head of the Data Management Section, and Head of the Information Systems Services Office, all of which were part of the Mission & Data Systems Directorate.

•  John V, Rende, of Baltimore, MD (formerly of College Park, MD), passed away on December 19th. He was an Electrical Engineer at Goddard for over 44 years (out of 50+ years of total government service) and provided spaceflight data systems support for numerous missions (e.g., Gemini and Apollo during the early days) and command and data handling support for many more recent missions (e.g., the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Earth Observing System Terra, and Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, to name only a few). John developed and managed a command and data handling center at Goddard that is considered a world class laboratory.

•  Louis Siegrist, III, of Pasadena, MD, passed away on August 17th. He was a Quality Engineer for 20+ years at Goddard in the precursor organization to the Office of Systems Safety and Mission Assurance.

•  Anna J. Yoder, of Bradenton, FL, passed away on December 21st. She was a Financial Analyst at Goddard and, over time, worked in the Payroll Section and Employee Services Branch of the Financial Management Division, Office of the Comptroller and later in the Financial Services Department of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

ANTARES ROCKET LAUNCHES CYGNUS COMMERCIAL SPACECRAFT TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) : On the afternoon of January 9th, Orbital Sciences Corporation launched its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard an Antares rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility. On its first official resupply mission, Cygnus delivered some 2,780 pounds of food, crew supplies, spare parts/equipment, and scientific experiments. It will remain berthed to the ISS until mid-February before departing.

THOUGHT FOR FEBRUARY: Studies demonstrate that a clear conscience is apparently the sign of a fuzzy memory.