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


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


March 9 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, so please call Alberta Moran at 301-890-0544 no later than noon on Friday, March 5th. Ms. Casey Johnson and Ms. Kathleen Fulton of the National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (NCTAF) will present an overview of their program. In partnership with Goddard and two Maryland school districts, NCTAF is developing NASA 21st Century Learning Teams and engaging Goddard scientists and GRAA members to participate in helping improve high school teachers and students to learn about Earth Science.
April 13 Mark your calendar for the GRAA luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Normally I would begin my remarks by describing the speakers topic for the previous month. However, those of you living in the metropolitan DC area know we have been experiencing abnormal weather phenomena of late. Record-setting blizzard conditions have left the area paralyzed, with more than 50 inches of snow accumulated during the first two weeks of February. All Federal Government facilities were closed from noon on February 5th and didn't reopen until February 12th for part of the day.

I had planned to attend the NASA Alumni Leagues review of NASA programs at NASA Headquarters on February 12th to learn what their plans are with regard to the FY2011 budget, elimination of the Constellation Program, and the reconfiguration of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). Unfortunately, the review was cancelled, but I will report on the results when/if the review is rescheduled.

We have been approached by a publishing firm that compiles and publishes books written from input submitted by retirees of organizations like Goddard. The books generally include a compilation of photos, historical accounts, and personal recollections based on experiences gained while on the job. Retirees from Marshall Space Flight Center published such a book last year. If we decide to participate in this venture, I will be soliciting and welcoming input from each and every one of you.

48TH ROBERT H. GODDARD MEMORIAL SYMPOSIUM: The 48th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium, hosted by the American Astronautical Society, will be held from March 9-11 at the Greenbelt Marriott. This years theme is Earth and Beyond: The Next Decades. Attendance is open to retirees (over 65 and no longer working full-time) for $75.00, which includes three receptions (lunches cost extra). Registration can be made at http://www.astronautical.org..

DELTA 50TH ANNIVERSARY A two-day celebration of the Delta Launch Vehicle 50th Anniversary is scheduled for May 15-16 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. A tour of the Capes Delta facilities and a banquet are planned as part of the festivities. Reservations are required by March 15th. For information and reservations, send an e-mail to Lyle Holloway at LJH@bellsouth.net.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES - IT HAPPENDED IN MARCH: On March 25, 2000, a Delta-II rocket launched the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) spacecraft (part of the Explorer Program), to study the global response of the Earth's magnetospheric changes in the solar wind. The Radio Plasma Imager (RPI), one of IMAGE's instruments, provided a three-dimensional view of the plasmasphere by sounding it with radio waves, like taking an ultrasound of the human body. To accomplish this, the RPI used the longest antennas ever deployed in space, longer than the height of the Empire State Building. After being designed as a two-year mission and exceeding all of its scientific goals, IMAGE failed in December 2005 during a routine pass, apparently from the loss of the instrument supplying power to the transponder.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: People marry for better or worse. Typically, he can't do better and she can't do any worse.

TREASURER'S REPORT Bob Wigand reports that tax-deductible contributions were received from Rai Aubrey, Al and Shirley Bielawski, Orman Bloxom, JoAnn Clark, Marty Davis, Glenn Harris, Bob Keefe, Durrell Moore, Jim Nagy Bartucz, Joe Pohl, Roger Ratliff, Herb Richard, Chet Shaddeau, Elmer Streeter, Betty Thomas, and Bill Watson.


•  Vitaly Danchenko, of Potomac, MD, passed away on January 23rd. He was a scientist in the Space Sciences Directorate.

•  Bernard A. (Bud) Dyrland, of Bowie, MD, passed away on December 9, 2009, after suffering a massive stroke two days earlier. Among other assignments, he worked on numerous missions as a Payload Project Support Specialist.

•  Jacques D. (Jack) Knox, of Ellicott City, MD, passed away on February 2nd from complications of a massive stroke. Jack was Chief of the Plant Operations and Maintenance Division, Management Operations Directorate.

•  Richard F. Schmidt, of Farmville, VA, lost his battle with cancer on January 18th. An Electrical Engineer, he developed antenna technology for the Naval Research Laboratory before transferring to Goddard, where he worked to advance microwave antenna technology.

•  David J. Sullivan, of Bowie, MD, passed away on February 3rd. Still employed, he was an Electrical Engineer who worked in the battery lab of the Electrical Engineering Division.

•  Michael E. Van Steenberg, of Ellicott City, MD, passed away from a heart attack on February 1st. Still employed, he was a Scientist/Engineer in the Science Engineering Office of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate.

NASA ANNOUNCES EXCITING NEW MISSION: With all the ballyhoo of late about the NASA budget, the assumed cancellation of the Constellation Program, and retirement of the Space Shuttle missions, an exciting new NASA project is on the drawing board for completion by 2018. For an overview of the engineering plans, check out http://www.theonion.com/content/video/nasa_scientists_plan_to_approach?utm_source=videoembed.

2010 MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY: Please send updated contact information for the new edition of the GRAA Membership Directory as soon as possible to our Lanham address or via e-mail to Strat Laios (stratlaios@verizon.net).