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


Holiday Issue 2010 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 26th Year of Publication


January 11 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, so please call Alberta Moran on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 (or call her landline at 301-890-0544 as a last resort) no later than noon on Friday, January 7th. As we go to press a speaker has not been identified; however, suffice it to say we will arrange an informative and interesting presentation.
February 8 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: This newsletter is the last issue for 2010 and the first issue for 2011. May all of you and your families have a joyous Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year. I want to thank all volunteers for helping keep the wheels of GRAA running smoothly in 2010. I also want to thank members for generously supporting GRAA through their tax-deductible donations throughout the year, thus allowing us to continue to publish the newsletter and Membership Directory without having to assess dues.

Our November luncheon speaker was Dr. Arthur Hou, Senior Scientist for the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM). He described the GPM and how it builds on the legacy of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission. GPM is a two-satellite constellation of operational microwave sensors using dual-frequency radar (Ka and Ku bands) to detect global precipitation. There are 15 international partners assembled to collect and analyze results near real time re: the monitoring of hurricanes and Atlantic storms. GPM will cover 90% of the land mass from a 65-degree incline at 400 kilometers. GPM is a $1B program with participation by Japan being designed and integrated as an in-house project at Goddard. Launch dates are currently anticipated to be in 2014 and 2015.

SAMPLE ANALYSIS AT MARS INSTRUMENT (SAM) SHOWCASED: Goddard conducted an open house on November 18th to showcase its SAM instrument. SAM is being designed and built in-house at Goddard and will be delivered to the JPL this month for testing on Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory’s rover. Models of SAM and the rover were displayed at the open house and described by members of the SAM science and engineering team. SAM will be able to analyze rock, soil, and gas samples gathered by the Curiosity rover as it traverses the surface of Mars. The analytical components: Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer, Tunable Laser Spectrometer, and Gas Chromotograph, will provide data at the molecular level to the science team. The new rover is twice as long (three meters) and five times heavier than the earlier Spirit and Opportunity rovers that have been maneuvering on the surface of Mars for several years. The launch window for the Mars Science Laboratory is November 25 to December 18, 2011. To follow SAM’s progress and learn more about the mission, click on http://msl-scicorner.jpl.nasa.gov/Instruments/SAM/.

NIMBUS ALUMNI AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES: GRAA member Ralph Shapiro recently unearthed the NIMBIS MEMORABILIA document he compiled some ten years ago. It contains humorous remarks from the early Nimbus launch days, the infamous Nimbus 1 Press Conference at the retirement party for Harry Press, and other glowing Nimbus comments through 1984. He has forwarded it to GRAA’s Nimbus “family” members whose e-mail addresses are included in the GRAA Membership Directory. If interested in receiving a copy via e-mail, please contact Ralph Shapiro at rshapirox2@aol.com or call him if you have questions at 301-438-1992.

TREASURER'S REPORT : Bob Wigand reports that tax-deductible contributions were received from Charlie Boyle, Dottie Burkholder, Ellen Herring (two donations, one in memory of Arnold Cephas), Paul Karpiscak, Bob Keefe, John Lahzun, Mrs. Donald Leonard, Carl Roberts, and Tom White.

THOUGHT FOR THE HOLIDAYS : The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for (just think mall shopping). For January: I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.


•  Harry S. Birch, of Chincoteague, VA, passed away on October 22nd. He served as an Electrician at the Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) prior to his retirement.

•  Jewel Q. Greene, of Bloxham, VA, passed away on November 21st. He spent his career at the WFF and was serving as a Telemetry Supervisor at his retirement.

•  Hanson D. Powers, Jr., of Glenn Dale, MD, passed away of November 2nd after a four-year battle with cancer. He served in a myriad of organizations during his career, including the Physics Branch of the Aeronomy and Meteorology Division (1963) and the Atmospheric Experiment Branch of the Laboratory for Atmospheres (1998).

•  James H. Scott, Jr., of Onancock, VA, passed away on October 15th. He retired from the WFF.

•  Raymond J. Sumser, of Vienna, VA, passed away on October 21st after a brave battle with on-going health challenges. He served as Director of Personnel at Goddard, then at NASA Headquarters, and then in higher-level leadership positions at several other government agencies.

•  Fred M. Whitten, of Bowie, MD, passed away on October 24th. He worked on numerous projects for several contractors as well as civil servant positions involved with rockets, payloads, radar, weather balloons, satellite tracking devices, etc.

RECENT RETIREES: Youn Y. Bae, George Barth III, Gretchen A. Burton, Edward S. Chang, Bhaskar J. Choudhury, Thomas A. Cygnarowicz, James R. Greaves, Richard N. Harris, Leonard W. Kayton, Frederick C. Lim, Armando M. Lopez, Michele D. Marrie, Robert W. McIntyre, Joyce E. McMurtrey, Steve J. Metcalf, Herbert J. Mittelman, Richard L. Nafzger, Earnestine Smart, Steven A. Smith, and Cornelius Square.

December 6, 1998: A Pegasus XL rocket launched the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS)/Explorer 74. The objectives of the SWAS were to study the chemical composition, energy balance and structure of interstellar clouds, both galactic and extra galactic, as well as the processes that lead to the formation of stars and planets.
January 13, 1993: The Shuttle Endeavor/STS-54 launched Tracking and Data Relay (TDRS)-F, the fifth successful of the TDRS Series and the replacement for TDRS-B, which was destroyed in the Shuttle Challenger disaster. It was used in combination with other TDRS spacecraft and a ground communications system to form the TDRS System.

HELPING GRAA'S BOTTOM LINE: Only a couple of weeks remain this year for you to consider sending in a contribution to help the GRAA treasury remain viable and deduct a contribution from your 2010 federal income tax. We’ll gladly accept whatever you think is a fair offering for a year’s worth of essentially free information!

GRAA MAILINGS: If you no longer wish to receive the GRAA Newsletter for some inexplicable reason, simply send a brief note to our Lanham address or an e-mail to Dave Moulton (davidlmoulton@comcast.net). If you’ve moved or want to make corrections to the address on your newsletter mailing label, write us a note or send an e-mail to Strat Laios (stratlaios@verizon.net). If you currently receive the newsletter by snail mail, please consider switching to e-mail, which will help reduce printing costs, by contacting either Strat or Dave by note or e-mail.