P.O. Box 1184, Greenbelt, MD 20768-1184


August 2016 32nd Year of Publication


August 9 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 for our venue, so please contact Alberta Moran on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 or via email at not later than noon on Friday, August 5th. Our featured speaker will be Dr. Donald Jennings, an Astrophysicist in Goddard’s Detector Systems Branch. The topic of his presentation is entitled “Goddard’s Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) Instrument on the New Horizons Mission.’
September 13 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Dr. James Garvin, Goddard’s Chief Scientist, will be our featured speaker and his presentation topic will be an update on Goddard Science efforts.

COMMENTS FROM TONY COMBERIATE, GRAA PRESIDENT: Our July luncheon was special in that we had an outstanding speaker, David Mitchell, Goddard’s Director of Flight Projects, as well as 18 Goddard interns and some of their mentors in attendance. Mablelene Burrell, Goddard’s Education Program Manager who coordinates over 500 interns, also attended the meeting. The interns are undergraduate and graduate students from universities around the country and Puerto Rico majoring in several branches of engineering, computer science, physics, and business and human resources. They introduced themselves and their mentors and described the exciting work they are involved in while at Goddard this summer.

Dave described the function and activities of the Flight Projects Directorate, which include the development of Earth Science, Environmental, Astrophysics, Heliophysics, and Communication satellites. He described recent missions, including the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), an Earth observation and space weather satellite launched in February 2015, as well as the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, a four-spacecraft Heliospheric mission to study Magnetic Reconnection, which is the Earth’s magnetic fields connecting and disconnecting, while explosively releasing energy, launched in March 2015. Both missions are returning outstanding science. Upcoming missions include: the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS REx) in September 2016; the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) in November 2016; the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) in January 2017; and the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) in October 2017. The James Webb Space Satellite (JWST) will launch in 2018 and overlap the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in coverage, providing data on most distant stars. The next major observatory, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), will similarly overlap JWST and answer vital questions in both exoplanet detection and dark energy.

Dave shared videos of the development and launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft on an Atlas V 401 rocket in November 2013. He led the successful proposal effort for MAVEN, and was the project manager throughout its development. MAVEN was completed on schedule and under budget, a significant accomplishment, especially for a Mars mission with a critical launch window.

Dave invited GRAA members and interns to visit Building 29 to view the 6.5 meter JWST mirror before it’s shipped to Johnson Space Center (JSC) for environmental testing sometime over the next several months (and we will let members know when it is scheduled to be shipped to JSC). The mirror consists of 18 precisely manufactured beryllium segments, each the size of a coffee table, folded to fit in the rocket body. The hexagonal mirror is deployable in space where the segments are adjusted with tiny mechanical motors to focus on galaxies formed early after the Big Bang.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Treasurer Jackie Gasch received tax-deductible contributions from the following members: Enid Chandler (in memory of Arthur Chandler), Donald Crosby, Ronald Felice, John Hrastar, Shirley Keehn, Nancy and James Kupperian, Ed Smylie, Wayne Sours, John Stewart, and William Townsend.

MEA CULPA ISSUED FOR MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY ERROR: Apologies are extended to the many members whose names were mistakenly placed under the wrong states throughout the last 14 pages of the 2016 Membership Directory. For the next iteration of the directory, scheduled for publication in 2018, members can expect this section will be deleted in an effort to save time, money in printing and mailing costs, and embarrassment.


FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES – IT HAPPENED IN AUGUST: On August 25, 1997, the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite was launched on a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral, FL. The objective of ACE was to collect observations of particles of solar, interplanetary, interstellar, and galactic origins. The ACE payload included six spectrometers, three additional instruments to monitor energetic electrons, and a magnetometer. ACE had a design life of five years, but is still in generally good condition and projected to have enough fuel to maintain its orbit until 2024.

THOUGHT FOR AUGUST: A recent study revealed that women who put on extra weight as they age tend to live longer than men who mention it.