Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association

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


NOVEMBER 2008                                  http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov                       24th Year of Publication



November 12 (Wednesday)





December 11


Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.  Robert (Rob) Lilly, Deputy Project Manager for the Solar Dynamics Observatory (the first mission to be launched in NASA’s Living With a Star Program), will provide an overview of the project.  Reservations are required, so please call Alberta Moran at 301-890-0544 no later than noon on Friday, November 7th. Please note that the luncheon will be held on Wednesday due to Veterans Day being celebrated on Tuesday.

There will be no GRAA Luncheon due to December’s many holiday-related events.

Mark your calendar for the annual “Magic of a Musical Christmas” trip to Lancaster, PA.  Included in the trip will be opportunities for holiday shopping at the more than 100 outlets at Rockvale Square, the 2008 Christmas Show (first and second row seating) at the American Music Theatre, and the delicious Prime Rib Buffet at Arthur’s Restaurant.  Tickets are only $99 per person (payable at the time of reservation).  Sign up soon or obtain additional details about the trip by contacting Alberta at 301-890-0544 (or on her cell phone at 301-910-0177).

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT:  Dr. Steven Ritz, Project Scientist for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, provided October luncheon attendees a fascinating overview of the spacecraft and its operations.  Initially named the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), the spacecraft was launched June 11th on a Delta II rocket.  After being deployed and checked out over several days, the spacecraft made significant observations and was renamed for Professor Enrico Fermi’s work in particle physics.  Fermi has two instruments:  1) the Large Area Telescope, which performs full-sky surveys; and 2) the GLAST Burst Monitor, which captures gamma-ray bursts.  Dr. Ritz illustrated, through images and line drawings, how the instruments provide observations from the detectors impacted by a gamma-ray.  Although gamma-rays are so powerful that they penetrate glass and mirrors, they cannot penetrate our atmosphere.  Instruments must be placed above the concentration of air molecules surrounding the Earth.  The instruments on Fermi enable scientists to determine the direction, energy, and exact time of energetic particles and matter recorded from impact of the gamma-ray with particles of known material and mass.  Dr. Ritz used examples and illustrations to make the process clear and it was definitely evident that he is passionate about Fermi and the role he has played and will continue to play in the operation of this new astronomical observatory.


NEXT YEAR MARKS GODDARD’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY:  Among many events throughout 2008, NASA’s 50th Anniversary was recently celebrated in regal fashion at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  Former astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn were principal speakers and described their experiences in the early days of manned flight.  Both of them encouraged the US to support NASA in the pursuit of continued space exploration with flights to the Moon and on to Mars.  On October 1, 1958, President Eisenhower signed into law the formation of NASA from NACA’s three aeronautics research centers, most of the Vanguard Project from the Naval Research Laboratory, portions of Redstone Arsenal, and elements from other government facilities.  Established on May 1, 1959, Goddard was NASA’s first space flight center and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary throughout 2009.  Goddard is seeking ideas from GRAA members on what should be highlighted as part of the celebration.  Ron Browning will be GRAA’s point-of-contact on the anniversary committee, so please send him any ideas you have from the past 50 years that should be given scientific, technological, or administrative historical emphasis at anniversary venues.  The committee is preparing to start meeting, so send Ron your ideas as soon as possible to GRAA’s Lanham address or via e-mail to arkabee@verizon.net.          


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH:  Remember that each day celebrates the dawn of a new error!


RECENT RETIREE:  Carl W. Kellenbenz


TREASURER’S REPORT:  Bob Wigand reports that tax-deductible contributions were received from the following members:  Jerome Barsky, Renate Bever, Charles Boyle, David Douds, McLean Grant, George Kraft, John Lyons, Ralph Mollerick, Joseph Pohl, John Quill, Karl Schauer, Richard Stock, Robert E. Wilson, and Robert R. Wilson.  Please note that, coincidentally, two Bob Wilsons appear on this month’s contributor list.


FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES – IT HAPPENED IN NOVEMBER:  On November 1, 1994, a Delta rocket launched the WIND SWE (Solar Wind Experiment).  The spacecraft was the work of a collaboration of scientists (GSFC, MIT, and UNH) that carried instruments for measuring charged particles and electric and magnetic fields in solar winds.



§         Robert (Bob) M. Abell, of Bowie, MD, passed away from cancer on October 3rd.  He worked on numerous projects during his 36+ years at Goddard as an Aerospace Engineering Technician.

§         Beth Anne Brown, of Greenbelt, MD, passed away suddenly, perhaps from a pulmonary embolism, on October 5th.  At the time of her passing, she had recently been selected as the Assistant Director for Science Communication and Higher Education in Goddard’s Science and Exploration Directorate.

§         Sally Ann Burneskis, of Bowie, MD, passed away from ovarian cancer on September 17th.  She worked on several satellite programs as a Financial Analyst and Business Specialist during her 25-year career at Goddard.

§         W. Keith Walters, of Bozman, MD, passed away from heart failure on October 8th.  He was a Photographer and later Head of the Photography Section at Goddard. Upon retiring in 1979, he wrote books and magazine articles on fishing and hunting and was an outdoor columnist for the Star Democrat newspaper in Easton, MD.


CHILDREN’S BOOK OFFERED FOR HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING:  Member and author Charles (Charlie) Boyle has a great book for a grandchild to receive under the tree.  “Tailey Whaley” is a 32-page, full color children’s picture book about bullying (“if you’re different, you get picked on”) which he is offering at a 20% discount (and GRAA receives $3.00 to boot).  This treasure is only $12.00, so send your order to Charlie at 1837 Cove Point Road, Annapolis, MD  21401.  For more information, e-mail Charlie at tripub@verizon.net.


COPIES OF “READ YOU LOUD AND CLEAR!” STILL AVAILABLE:  We have received more copies of the Story of NASA’s Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network.  If you want 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 October luncheon, send us a note or e-mail Strat Laios (stratlaios@verizon.net) and ask him to reserve a copy for you.     


GRAA 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 us or send an e-mail to Strat Laios at

stratlaios@verizon.net.  If you are interested in receiving the newsletter by e-mail, simply notify Strat.