Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association
P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163


April 2009 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 25th Year of Publication


April 14






May 12

Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.  Dr. Stephen Maran, astronomer, author and GRAA member, will be our guest speaker.  He will continue celebrating last year’s 400th Anniversary of the telescope by regaling attendees with a presentation about the contents of his latest book, “Galileo’s New Universe – The Revolution in Our Understanding of the Cosmos,” written with Dr. Laurence Marschall.  Reservations are required, so please call Alberta Moran at 301-890-0544 no later than noon on Friday, April 10th.

Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.


COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT:  The highlight of last month’s Goddard Memorial Symposium was “Five Decades of GSFC – Sustaining Goddard: Past, Present and Future.”  Three GRAA members and two current employees addressed the attendees, one for each decade.  Dr. Frank McDonald began with how Goddard started with a 540-acre wooded area, 157 Vanguard veterans from the Naval Research Laboratory, and a few key personnel from other agencies.  This quickly grew to multiple buildings and several hundred engineers, scientists, administrators and technicians.  Their contributions resulted in many scientific discoveries from successful launches of multiple Explorer and Observatory missions.  Ron Muller covered the 70’s, discussing how on-board computing was developed in-house and evolved from simple command memory on OAO-3 to the intricate attitude control of IUE (and still in use on HST).  Dennis McCarthy described the design and test problems/solutions in taking COBE from a 12,000-pound Shuttle payload to a 5,000-pound Delta payload and on to Nobel Prize-worthy science in the 80’s.  Dot Zukor, Deputy Director of the Earth Sciences Division, noted multiple Earth science programs and showed images from various Goddard instruments on Earth and planetary missions during the 90’s.  Orlando Figueroa, Director of Applied Engineering and Technology, used the development and success of small explorer spacecraft to define activities leading to ongoing in-house efforts in the current millennium.  Everyone seemed to enjoy reliving old times and looking forward to the future.


GODDARD’S 50th ANNIVERSARY :  Goddard will be hosting two major events at the Baltimore Convention Center on May 30th.  The first event, Maryland’s Place in Space, is an outreach opportunity planned for the general public.  Attendees will learn about the tremendous impact and leadership that many organizations in Maryland have in the aerospace field.  Visitors will have an opportunity to meet astronauts with Maryland ties, renowned scientists, and innovative engineers.  To end the day in honor of Goddard’s 50th Anniversary and leadership in space, an evening “Golden Anniversary Celebration” is planned from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.  Tickets (estimated currently to be approximately $50 per person) will be available for purchase by employees, retirees, and industry partners (as well as their guests).  Details concerning these events will be forthcoming.


GRAA members within easy commuting distance from Goddard are encouraged to submit a brief historical synopsis (no more than 250 words) that answers the following questions:

    What was Goddard like in the beginning days?

    How has Goddard changed over the past 50 years?

    Why did you choose to work at Goddard?

    Why did you stay at Goddard for so many years?

    What was the most important thing you learned while at Goddard?

Please add the following information to your write-up:  1) Name, 2) How long employed at Goddard, and 3) Area/focus of your career.  The submission deadline is April 17th via e-mail, so forward your packet to Phillina PeeteTookes at phillina.peetetookes-1@nasa.gov. Once your packet is received, you will be contacted to videotape your write-up that is to be showcased later on a Goddard web site.   As a head’s up, look for a few old photos of yourself taken while at Goddard, as well as a recent photo, to bring to your interview/videotape session.



         Mario H. Acuna, of Bowie, MD, passed away from cancer on March 5th.  A noted astrophysicist, his interests centered on aerospace instrumentation and experimental investigations of the magnetic fields and plasmas in the solar system.  Mario played a crucial role in a myriad of NASA missions.  Still employed at the time of his passing, he was an invaluable member of the Solar System Exploration Division.

         Ruth A. Barrowcliff, of Temple Hills, MD, passed away following an automobile accident on February 25th.  Still employed at the time of her passing, she worked in the Facilities Management Division, was active on the GEWA Council, and was a devoted member of the Music & Drama Club.

         Roy L. Colonna, of Onley, VA, passed away on March 19th.  He was a Machinist at the Wallops Flight Facility and worked for Computer Sciences Corporation for several years following his retirement.

         John T. Dalton, of Hollywood, MD, passed away on March 4th from a courageous battle with cancer.  He served in numerous assignments during his longtime Goddard career.  Prior to retirement, John served as Deputy Director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate.

         Robert D. Miller, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on February 21st.  His career at Goddard entailed involvement with the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space missions.

         William D. Palmer, of Edmond, OK, passed away on February 16th.  He was a veteran of World War II and worked at Goddard as an Engineer.  His assignments included processing engineering changes for modifications to the tracking networks (both C- and S-band) and working on the networks’ uninterruptible power supply.  

         John E. Speargas, of Gambrills, MD, passed away on February 22nd after a heroic battle with cancer.  He spent his 36-year Goddard career in the Management Operations Directorate, principally in budget- and security-related assignments.  John transferred from Goddard to the Department of Homeland Security in 2006.

         Frank G. Voss, of Pocomoke City, MD, passed away on March 4th.  During his career at the Wallops Flight Facility, Frank was responsible for the mobile radar team and systems.  He supported many rocket launch campaigns.


TREASURER’S REPORT:  Bob Wigand reports that tax-deductible contributions were received from the following members:  Dick Austin, Ed Carberry, Harry Culver, Lou Dod, Erva Early, Bill Elsen, Phil Farwell, Mary Ferris, Dick and Pat Fitzenreiter, Tom Gunshinan, Dick Hockensmith, Bill and Claire Hoggard (in memory of Beverly Lewoc), H. K. Lee, Don Lewis, Dave Manges, Andy Mazurick, Alberta Moran (in memory of  Beverly Lewoc), Alton Payne, Carmie Peavler (in memory of Bob Peavler), Francis Stetina, John Strekel, Bill Struthers, Bill Townsend, Mary Trainor, Laura Tseronis (in memory of Beverly Lewoc),Dick and Sandy Weiss, Bill Weston and Earle Young.


COPIES OF “READ YOU LOUD AND CLEAR!” STILL AVAILABLE:  We still have copies of the Story of NASA’s Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network.  If you’d like to be sent a copy, send a check for $5.00 (to cover postage) to our Lanham address.  If you want to pick up a copy at the April luncheon, send an e-mail to Strat Laios (stratlaios@verizon.net) and ask him to reserve a copy for you.


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH:  If you’re too open-minded, your brains will fall out.