Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association

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


HOLIDAY ISSUE – DEC 07/JAN 08       http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov                        23rd Year of Publication



January 8

Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.  Orlando Figueroa, Director of Applied Engineering and Technology, will be our guest speaker.  We anticipate his presentation will include information on engineering challenges on the Goddard horizon in the near future.  Reservations are required, so please call Alberta Moran at 301-937-7762 no later than noon on Friday, January 4th.

February 3

Barney Hoyt will again host his “annual” Super Bowl Party at the Barney and Bea Recreation Center.  The doors will open at 4:30 p.m.  This event will include an open bar, chips and pretzels, a delicious steak dinner, wide-screen and smaller TV’s, and an opportunity to win some great door prizes and games of chance.  You will have all the food and entertainment you can handle on Super Bowl Sunday for only $50.00 per ticket.  Call Alberta Moran at 301-937-7762 for reservations, but keep in mind that only 100 tickets will be sold and receipt of a check for your reservations is required.

February 12

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


COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT:  This being our last newsletter for 2007 and our first for 2008, allow me to thank you all for the generous support and patience during the transition from NASA-provided direct mailing to e-mail and GRAA-paid bulk mail.  I want to recognize several members for their tremendous efforts in implementing the changes.  Bob Wigand took on the IRS and got us tax-exempt status.  Dave Moulton reformatted the newsletter for bulk mail distribution and conquered the complex postal service rules to obtain the lowest possible mailing rates.  Marge Gustafson and her dedicated team turned from “stuffers” into “labelers.”  Strat Laios worked on the GRAA databases with Goddard folks to make our e-mail distribution process feasible.  The net result of all this attention to detail is that GRAA remains viable and can sustain our monthly expenditures with your continued tax-deductible donations.  THANKS TO ALL OF YOU.  HAVE A SAFE AND JOYOUS HOLIDAY SEASON AND A HEALTHY, PEACEFUL, AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.


Dr. Peter Hildebrand, recently selected to be Deputy Director for the Sciences and Exploration Directorate, provided November luncheon attendees with an interesting and thought-provoking presentation titled “Water Resources and Climate Change.”  He showed historical and recent data to demonstrate upward trends in worldwide temperatures and atmospheric greenhouse gases over the past half-century when compared to prior centuries.  Most warming is in the northern hemisphere, given its greater land mass.  Precipitation has increased 50 percent over this same area while being reduced by 50 percent over Africa from 1900 to 2000.  He closed his presentation by noting concerns for tipping points, where small changes cause big effects, such as Arctic melting slowing ocean circulation.  Dr. Hildebrand’s presentation can be viewed at the Goddard web site:  http://neptune.gsfc.nasa.gov by clicking on the Smithsonian PowerPoint presentation “Climate Change and Ecosystems” at the bottom of the home page.  


TREASURER’S REPORT:  Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible donations were received from the following members:  John Adolphsen, John and Lorraine Armiger, Ed Dalkiewicz, Flo Hickle, Bill Mack, Al Opp, and Joseph (Bill) Pohl of Eagle Publishing Company of Boca.


GRAA NEWSLETTER MAILINGS:  If you no longer wish to receive GRAA mailings, please send a note to our Lanham address or an e-mail to Dave Moulton at davidlmoulton@comcast.net.  If you have moved or want to make corrections to the address on your mailing label, write to our Lanham address or send an e-mail to Strat Laios at stratlaios@comcast.net.  If you already receive your newsletter via e-mail, please let Strat know when your address changes.  If you do not yet receive the newsletter via e-mail, but are interested in doing so, let Strat know.


YOU CAN HELP GRAA’S BOTTOM LINE:  About 650 members have signed up to receive our newsletter via e-mail and we have encountered few problems with the process.  We know many other members use e-mail on a daily or weekly basis and encourage all of you to sign up (see the above item to sign up).  We’re hoping to see many more of our nearly 2,500 members sign up for this service, as it will certainly help, from a financial perspective, in keeping the newsletter coming your way in the New Year.  Since December 31st is rapidly approaching, you might even consider sending GRAA a check and using the donation as a deduction on your 2007 income taxes.


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH:  Opportunities always look bigger going than coming. 


§   December 12, 1970:  The Uhuru (Swahili for freedom) spacecraft, also known as SAS-1, SAS-A and Explorer 42, was launched from the San Marco platform off the coast of Kenya on the 7th anniversary of Kenyan independence and was the first in a series of small astronomy satellites.  Objectives of the series were to survey the celestial sphere and search for sources radiating in the X-ray, gamma ray, ultraviolet, and other spectral regions.  Uhuru, however, was the first satellite devoted exclusively to the study of cosmic X-ray sources and is credited with finding the first evidence of a black hole in the universe.  Our President, Ron Browning, spent six weeks in Kenya preparing for the launch as the spacecraft manager, working closely with Jack Millman and Marjorie Townsend.  Dr. John Clark, then Center Director, and Dan Mazur, Director of Engineering, attended the launch.

§   January 26, 1978:  Thor-Delta launched the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE).  It was a joint enterprise between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the British Science Research Council.  It was the first satellite totally dedicated to ultraviolet astronomy.  The objectives of the IUE’s studies were many:  faint stars, quasars, comets, gas streams, extragalactic objects, and the interstellar medium. 



§         George G. Gerondakis, of Pawley’s Island, SC, passed away on November 25th.  He was a Mechanical Engineer at Goddard for over 30 years and worked, among other projects, on Spartan payloads.

§         Donald E. Jamison, of Crofton, MD, passed away from pneumonia on October 9th after an eight-month illness.  He was an Electrical Engineer at Goddard, where is worked in Nascom and later the EOSDIS Project.

§         Dr. John H. McElroy, of Las Vegas, NV, passed away from a heart attack on September 14th.  He started his NASA career in 1966 at Goddard, where he directed research on laser communication systems, tracking and radiometry, and advanced satellite communications technology.  From 1980 to 1982, he was Goddard’s Deputy Director and later served as Director of Communications and Information Systems Programs at NASA’s Office of Applications.  Upon leaving NASA, Dr. McElroy continued his government service as the Assistant Administrator for Satellites at NOAA.



§         Flo Hickle wrote, “Thanks so much for sending your newsletter.  I moved to Billings, MT, to be near my son and am enjoying it very much.  Maybe not as much as my 22 years at Goddard!  I would love to hear from someone at 2351 Solomon Avenue, #229, Billings, MT  59102.”

§         Betty Parker Sanders wrote, “I love receiving the GRAA Newsletter – it is so inspiring and I’m glad to learn of all the “doings” in Greenbelt.  My life has been enriched by all of my experiences at Goddard and I appreciate all of the wonderful people who made GSFC what it is today.”



Ron Muller is hoping to reach as many people who have worked on Project Vanguard as possible.  He hopes they’ll all get together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vanguard 1 next March 17th and he doesn’t want to leave anyone out.  If anyone can help Ron with names, addresses, phone numbers, and/or e-mail addresses, please contact him at 301-868-0383, by e-mail at r-bmuller@comcast.net, or by mail at 9904 Frank Tippett Road, Upper Marlboro, MD  20772.


TRANSFER YOUR KNOWLEDGE TO STUDENTS:  A non-profit organization called Retired Scientists, Engineers and Technicians (ReSET) is seeking volunteers to work with elementary school students doing hands-on science experiments. Their goal is to stimulate enthusiasm for sciences and related fields and to inform students about careers in those fields.  Interested volunteers should contact John Meagher at johnmeagher@cox.net or call 703-250-0236.