APRIL 2008 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 24th Year of Publication
Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30
a.m. Craig Tooley, Project Manager for
the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, or another project
representative will present an overview and status update of the mission that
is currently scheduled to be launched late this year. LRO is the first mission in NASA’s Vision
for Space Exploration, a plan to return to the moon and then travel to Mars
and beyond. Reservations are
required, so please call
Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.
COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Attendees at the March luncheon were treated to an early celebration of the 50th anniversary of the launch of Vanguard 1 on March 17, 1958. Several attendees brought Vanguard memorabilia that filled up five tables. Among mementoes on hand were a large full-color photograph of Vanguard 1 provided by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), a nine-foot mahogany model of the launch vehicle brought by Persus Suddeth and her son, and an aluminum model of the launch vehicle and a 5.6-inch model of the satellite provided by Chris Hagen (Dr. Hagen’s son). Among other items on display was an original “Sequence of Events” chart listing the timing for all events that had to occur in order for the vehicle to lift off and for the three-stage launch vehicle to operate properly and two oil paintings of the launch provided by Roger Ratliff.
As a lead-in to Ron Muller’s Vanguard 1 talk, Ed
Pearson exhibited photos of two recent 50th anniversary celebrations
of satellite launches that preceded Vanguard 1.
He had photos of the Russian site from which Sputnik was launched that
he took last October on the 50th anniversary of that historic
event. He also had photos of the
Ron Muller showed a movie of the launch that he had combined with a recently-discovered sound recording of the actual countdown which is available to watch/listen to on Google Video. Go to http://video.google.com and search on Vanguard 1 or go directly to http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1348113373302579345. Ron then provided a slide presentation originally created by Roger Easton, Sr. A link to the slides can be found on the Vanguard 50th anniversary web site. Go to http://www.vanguard-one-50th-anniversary.org/links.html and click on the link to Roger’s slide presentation. There are many other links on the anniversary site that you may have an interest in checking out.
Wonderful nostalgic (and somewhat truly amazing) stories were told by the luncheon attendees who made the Vanguard 1 mission happen so successfully 50 years ago. The luncheon provided an excellent precursor to the “official” anniversary celebration held at NRL on March 17th.
The election of GRAA board members will be held in June and we are currently seeking nominations to the seven-member board. Members may nominate themselves or anyone in the Goddard Retiree and Alumni community. Nominations may be mailed to the GRAA address at the top of this page or sent via e-mail to me at email@example.com. Ballots will be included in the May newsletter and voting will take place at the June 10th luncheon.
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THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: Retirement is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist trade places.
FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES - IT HAPPENED IN APRIL:
§ April 4, 1983: The original Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-1), launched from the Space Shuttle Challenger, went from almost “lost in space” to a remarkable example of NASA’s ‘can do, never quit’ attitude. This year TDRS-1 celebrates 25 years of outstanding service. After deployment, the spacecraft’s upper stage failed. Engineers at Goddard came to TDRS-1’s rescue using the spacecraft’s tiny, one-pound thrusters. They used the thrusters, over several months, to nudge the satellite into a geosynchronous Earth orbit. TDRS-1 tracked low Earth-orbiting satellites, enabling NASA to issue commands and receive telemetry through most of their orbit. Working solo until spacecraft were added to the TDRS System, TDRS-1 provided more communication coverage, in support of Shuttle missions, than the entire network of NASA tracking stations had provided to all previous Shuttle missions.
REMEMBERING OUR FORMER COLLEAGUES:
Elva Bailey, of
§ Ralph D. (Dave) Miner, Jr., of New Carrollton, MD, passed away from a heart attack on February 14th. Still employed at Goddard at the time of his passing, he was a Program Analyst in the Planning Office of the Facilities Management Division. He was an accomplished dobro (resonator guitar) player, performing with several different musical groups over the years.
(Bill) Shaffer, of
RECENT RETIREES: James F. Andary, Donald M. Sawyer, Donna Simonds, and James R. Wang.
NRL CELEBRATES VANGUARD 1 ANNIVERSARY: March 17th marked NRL’s celebration of 50 years of Vanguard 1. Many of the 150 Vanguardians who transferred from NRL to form the nucleus of Goddard were in attendance. A panel of four Vanguard pioneers (Roger Easton, John Townsend, Alton Jones, and Martin Votaw) described the design, development, tests and launch of Vanguard 1 from their experience and perspective. Several Goddard retirees added comments to the panel discussion from their firsthand knowledge. Vanguard 1 was the first satellite to use solar cells for onboard power and is in an orbit that will last for millennia.