Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association

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


OCTOBER 2007                              http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov                        23rd Year of Publication



October 9 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.  Our featured speaker will be Phillip A. Sabelhaus, Project Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope.  He will provide attendees with an update on the status and current challenges facing the project.  Reservations are required, so please call Alberta Moran at 301-937-7762 no later than noon on Friday, October 5th.
November 13 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.
December 11 There will be no December luncheon due to the many holiday-related activities scheduled throughout December.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT:  Dr. Jack Tueller, a physicist from the Astrophysics Sciences Division and team leader for a group of scientists analyzing observations from the Goddard-sponsored SWIFT Project (a medium-sized explorer satellite) designed to study Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB’s), provided an insightful presentation at the September GRAA Luncheon.  He explained that SWIFT also makes observations of X-rays, visible light, and infrared light.  These capabilities and those of other satellites, as well as research from collaborative investigators, make new findings and comprehensive studies possible.  Dr. Tueller presented numerous observations from SWIFT data and discussed the implications of GRB’s (e.g., the effects of Gamma Ray received on Earth).  Most Gamma Rays are screened out by the Earth’s atmosphere, especially the ozone layer.  However, major bursts could severely disrupt the dynamics and chemistry of the atmosphere as we know it, destroy the ozone layer, and cause significant climate changes.  Some of the many findings are preliminary, especially because they are new (e.g., the recently-found 44 sources of X-ray emissions from black holes).  The X-ray emissions led the investigative team to form the preliminary conclusion that there may be a new class of Active Galactic Nuclei that was previously undiscovered!  The Burst Alert Telescope instrument aboard SWIFT provided the capability to observe and further research this potential significant discovery.  Dr. Tueller’s presentation and his willingness to field questions from the luncheon crowd were greatly appreciated.          


NEW GROUND BROKEN ON THE CENTER:  On July 16th, a bevy of Congressmen and NASA officials were present on Goddard’s East Campus to break ground for the new environmentally friendly sciences building.  The three-story office and laboratory building, known as the “Exploration Sciences Building,” is expected to be completed in 2009.  Center Director Ed Weiler said at the groundbreaking ceremony, “NASA’s new eco-friendly sciences building will provide state-of-the-art laboratories and technology for our scientists, giving them access to modern tools and facilities for continued world class research in space and Earth science, and in support of NASA’s mission.”  The new building will serve as a “launching pad” for NASA-driven space science research over the next 50 years and anchors a new pedestrian-friendly “science neighborhood.”  Personnel from the Astrophysics Science Division, the Solar Systems Exploration Division, and the Science and Exploration Directorate office itself are expected to occupy the building.


CELEBRATION OF GILBERT MEAD’S LIFE:  If you did not attend the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage celebration to Gilbert Mead’s life in the Concert Hall on September 17th, you missed a fabulous event!  Accomplished singers, accompanied by an orchestra composed of musicians from the many live theaters in the Washington area who have benefited from the Mead’s generosity, performed music borrowed from Gil and Jaylee Mead’s favorite musicals.  Gil and Jaylee’s past work on Goddard’s MAD productions was recognized as an example of their early involvement in theater arts.  The new Mead Center at Arena Stage is one of their latest philanthropic endeavors.  The artists who performed this special tribute to Gil’s life demonstrate that he will continue to be sorely missed both on the local theater scene and at Goddard.  The celebration merited a hearty “Bravo” from the audience and our thoughts go out to Jaylee for the loss of her beloved spouse.   


TREASURER’S REPORT:  Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible donations were received from the following members:  Robert and Lucille Bourdeau, David Douds, William Elsen, Anthony Grandi, Dale and Sandra Harris, Henry Hoffman, Robert and Pat Mackey, Paul Martin, and Ralph Shapiro.


RECENT RETIREES:  John R. Bryan, June Flickinger, Mark R. Fontaine, Connie S. Higgs, Donna M. Sadof, John R. Thurber, and Carolyn L. Wisenauer.


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH:  Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

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.




§   October 22, 1977:  Delta launched the International Sun/Earth Explorer (ISEE) satellites 1 and 2 (also known as A and B), a joint project between Goddard and the European Space Agency.  The purposes of the mission were:  1) to investigate solar-terrestrial relationships at the outermost boundaries of the Earth’s magnetosphere; 2) to examine in detail the structure of the solar wind near the Earth and the shock wave that forms the interface between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere; 3) to investigate motions of and mechanisms operating in the plasma sheets; and 4) to continue the investigation of cosmic rays and solar flare effects in the interplanetary region.  Both ISEE 1 and ISEE 2 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere on September 26, 1987.  Seventeen of 21 on-board experiments were operational at the end.  



§         John Flowers, from Southern Virginia, passed away on June 3rd.  He was a Radio Frequency Engineer in the Antenna Systems Group (then Code 525) from about 1960 to 1972, when he retired.  Mr. Flowers worked in the SONAR group at the Naval Research Laboratory prior to transferring to Goddard when it opened.  He distinguished himself as a lieutenant with the 3rd Army, 10th Armored Division (under General Patton) and fought in many battles (including the Battle of the Bulge).

§         George D. Hinshelwood, of Chevy Chase, MD, passed away from pneumonia on August 30th.  He was an Aerospace Engineer at Goddard for about 40 years, retiring in 2000.  He worked for the Bureau of Standards and the Diamond Ordnance Fuze Laboratory (now part of the Army Research Laboratory) before joining NASA.

§         Arnett Knapp, of Pocomoke City, MD, passed away after a brief illness on May 5th.  He was the Financial Officer at the Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) and retired about the time of the WFF’s merger with Goddard in the early 1980’s.



§         Hager Blair wrote, “I want to thank all folks, past and present, for the work they put in with the GRAA.  I had much pleasure with the newsletters, keeping up with lots of old friends, etc.  GSFC was in good hands in earlier years and I know it is the same today with the just as talented new crew.”

§         Bill Elsen wrote, “The enclosed check is just a small donation to help with the increased expenses.”

§         Dale and Sandra Harris wrote, “We enjoy your publication.  Enclosed is a contribution to help offset expenditures.”

§         Bob and Pat Mackey wrote, “We’re here in sunny/hot Florida.  Pat is doing her volunteering and Bob is looking forward to the new college football season.”

§         Ralph Shapiro wrote, “Keep up the good work running the GRAA.  I hope to stop by one of the luncheon meetings to see you.  A small donation is enclosed to keep GRAA going.”


GEWA’S LATEST MAD PRODUCTION:  Goddard’s Music and Drama (MAD) Club proudly announces ticket sales for its fall musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel.”  Call for ticket information at 240-475-8800 or purchase them online at http://www.madtheater.org/orderform.htm.  The buffet dinner will feature Pork Tenderloin, Stuffed Chicken Breast and Vegetable Pasta Alfredo, along with bread, salad, dessert, and unlimited beverages (beer, wine, soda, coffee, tea).  Tickets are $30 for the show and dinner and $19 for the show only (with complimentary beverages).  Sixteen performances are scheduled from October 19th through November 17th.  Make reservations now for MAD’s 36th dinner theater production.