P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163


May 2014 30th Year of Publication


May 13 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, May 9th. Our featured speaker will be William Wrobel, Director of the Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) and Suborbital and Special Orbital Projects Directorate. He will provide an overview of the many new and exciting missions and operations that have occurred at WFF in the recent past as well as those planned for the future.
June 10 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. GRAA member Dr. Igor Eberstein will enlighten attendees about his conceptual ideas of potentially using nuclear sources to more effectively and efficiently power future spacecraft to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Dr. K. Jon Ranson, Chief of Goddard’s Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, spoke to April luncheon attendees on biomass research he has been conducting in the northern latitudes of Siberia. These studies have been ongoing for several years by a joint US/Russia team of scientists which observes Siberian Larch trees using satellites (AQUA, TERRA MODIS, and Landsat) coupled with ground truth measurements which are taken at 66 degrees latitude on flat-topped mountains formed by volcanic eruptions over 1,000 years ago. By measuring tree diameter and height, the scientists have determined tree mass is one-half carbon. Over time they then can establish a carbon budget by measuring carbon in and out. They have found that the northern hemisphere is warming faster than the rest of the globe and it is accelerating. Russian data using NASA satellites has found there are more forest fires, likely caused by lightning strikes and less moisture. Dr. Ranson showed examples of how tree history can be seen through fire scars (e.g., larger and smaller growth rings). Fires in the 20th century are two times more frequent than during the 19th century. On the positive side, new growth trees are 700,000 per hectare after fires. Trees growing in valleys receive more moisture and are the primary seed source for forests. Satellite data collection should be enhanced with the expected new missions of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, Ice-Sat-II, and continuation of the Soumi National Polar-orbiting Partnership and the spectroradiometers aboard the AQUA and TERRA satellites. Unfortunately, recent Russia/Ukraine political issues have resulted in Dr. Ranson and other NASA personnel no longer being allowed to work with Russian scientists.

GRAA BOARD OF DIRECTORS (BOD) ELECTION RESULTS : cast by mail, email, and April luncheon attendees resulted in the following members being elected to the GRAA BOD for the next two years: President Ron Browning, Vice President Tony Comberiate, Secretary Barbara Hamilton, Treasurer Bob Wigand, and Members-at-Large Dick Baker, Strat Laios, and Ron Muller.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES – IT HAPPENED IN MAY: On May 23, 1995, an Atlas I rocket launched Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-9 (GOES-9), known as GOES-J before becoming operational, from Cape Canaveral, FL. It had a design fault with the motor windings in its imager and sounder and one of two sets failed in 1997. In June 1998, GOES-9 developed a problem with one of its two reaction wheels. After the other wheel also developed the problem, GOES-9 was replaced with its backup satellite, GOES-10, and stored as a backup. In 2003, GOES-9 was reactivated again and leased to the Japan Meteorological Society to replace one of its satellites, then again deactivated in 2005. It was permanently retired and raised to graveyard orbit in June 2007.

LATE NEWS ABOUT FORMER CENTER DIRECTOR’S PASSING: GRAA was just recently notified of the passing on November 8, 2012, of Dr. John F. Clark, Goddard’s second and longest-serving Center Director, in Melbourne Beach, FL, at age 92. He came from NASA Headquarters in July 1965 as Acting Director, was named Director in May 1966, and retired on July 1, 1976, eleven years later.

NASA SPACECRAFT MAKES CRASH LANDING ON THE MOON: The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, launched last September from WFF (which resulted in a photograph of an airborne frog during liftoff that went viral), executed a planned crash onto the Moon’s surface on April 18th. The satellite had been successfully gathering data about the lunar atmosphere while orbiting the Moon since early last November.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Treasurer Bob Wigand received tax-deductible contributions from the following members: William Elsen, Edward Gladding, William Keathley, Robert Langley, William Mack, Harley Mann, Cary Milliner, Thomas Underwood, Ralph Welsh, and Robert Wright.


•  Patricia K. Austin, of Beltsville, MD, passed away on March 6th. She was a Secretary during her Goddard career.

•  Peter M. Baltzell, of McMinnville, TN, passed away on April 16th. He was an Engineering Technician, Scientific-Technical Photographer, and Model Maker at Goddard.

•  Joseph D. Barksdale, of Laurel, MD, passed away on March 15th. He was an Aerospace Technologist/Mathematician in his early years at Goddard he worked on the EOLE-1 French weather satellite and was a Principal Investigator for several of the Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) missions. He later worked in Information Technology (IT), which included serving as Assistant Chief for Automated Data Processing of the Institutional Procurement Division and as IT Investments Manager.

•  Gladys K. Chasnoff, of Honolulu, HI, passed away on March 15th. At Goddard she was Secretary to the Deputy Director of Administration.

•  Patrick L. Hinkson, of Fayetteville, PA, passed away on March 24th. In his early career at Goddard he was a Plant Engineer in the Facilities Engineering Division and later became a Computer Maintenance Engineer in the Plant Operations and Maintenance Division.

•  Jule A. Johnson, of Glenn Dale, MD, passed away on March 30th. He worked at Goddard for 43 years in the Flight Programs and Projects Directorate on Delta and Explorer projects.

•  Orbie L. Jones, of Upper Marlboro, MD, passed away on April 10th. During his Goddard career he worked in the Data Processing Branch and the Information Processing Division of the Tracking and Data Systems Directorate and later in the Spacecraft Control Programs Branch of the Mission Operations & Data Systems Directorate.

•  James W. Kunst, of Severna Park, MD (formerly of Crofton, MD), passed away on March 28th. He was an Electrical Engineer at Goddard and worked in the Engineering Directorate on spacecraft design and integration for the TIROS and Helios missions. He was also on the Hubble Space Telescope panel that studied the mirror anomaly and made recommendations about what could be done on the 1993 servicing mission to resolve the issue.

•  Michael J. Ladomirak, of Lanham, MD, passed away on March 31st. He came to Goddard as a Contract Specialist and moved up during his career to more complex contracting and management positions. Before retirement he was Associate Director for Acquisition and also served as Goddard’s Procurement Officer.

•  Winifred C. Podmostko, of Lanham, MD, passed away on January 7th. She worked as a Property Manager at Goddard.

•  Dorothy H. Reid, of Bowie, MD, passed away on March 19th. She was a Secretary at Goddard who worked in the Equal Employment Opportunity Office.

•  John H. Roeder, of Palmyra, VA, passed away on April 7th. He was a Physicist at Goddard who worked in the Timing Section of the Tracking and Data Systems Directorate and later worked on software programming in the control centers and on the Hubble Space Telescope Project. He later moved to NASA Headquarters to pursue progressively responsible management positions.

•  Franklin M. Strempek, of Baltimore, MD, passed away on April 8th. He was a Mechanical Designer at Goddard in the Engineering Design Branch of the Engineering Services Division in the Engineering Directorate. He was one of a few designers who later moved into Computer-Aided Design work.

•  Bowden W. Ward, Jr., of Seabrook, MD, passed away on March 25th. He was an Aerospace Engineer at Goddard. He was initially assigned to the Mechanical Systems Branch and later moved to the Attitude Control Branch. Among varied assignments, he worked on the Orbiting Solar Observatory, Gamma Ray Observatory, and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite projects.

THOUGHT FOR MAY: A new word recently added to the English dictionary is EXHAUSTIPATE, the definition of which is too tired to give a hoot (please feel free to substitute another word for hoot that is more commonly used by many senior citizens).