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


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


October 12 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 use her landline number (301-890-0544) only as a backup) no later than noon on Friday, October 8th. Our featured speaker will be Dr. Steven Curtis, Senior Scientist for Robotics and Exploration Technology in the Solar System Exploration Division. The topic of his presentation will be “Autonomous Shape Shifting Space Architectures and Artificial Life” and he is sure to captivate you with what he and his colleagues are working on to dramatically improve the architecture of space structures in the future.
November 9 Mark your calendar for the GRAA luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Although scheduled to retire on October 1st , our speaker at the September luncheon was Orlando Figueroa, Deputy Center Director for Science and Technology. He spoke extemporaneously on the healthy status and optimistic outlook for Goddard. This view comes from the 50 percent reduction in Goddard’s attrition rate compared to about a year ago, as well as hiring some 250 new employees (half of whom have career status or some work experience and the other half are new hires or those with relatively little work experience). In addition, the increased health of the Center has resulted from restructuring the products of Goddard into “Lines of Business,” which has attracted new types of work and new sources of funding. In particular, Orlando cited the following Lines of Business: Space Science; Earth Science; Planetary Science; Space and Near-Earth Networks for Communications and Navigation; Sub-Orbital and Range Services for a wide range of services needed by NASA and DoD (including Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles); and other supporting lines of work, including Core Services for Human and Robotic Space Servicing for NASA, DoD, and potentially other partners. This change in the Center structure, products and workforce status is causing a multiplicity of changes in the Goddard culture and capabilities, including new satellite and rocket missions, new deep space missions, and new facilities using technology and supporting research. Also, an emerging main focus is the balancing of new work, technical requirements and the application of administrative necessities, including the reporting of Center accomplishments and the transfer of technology to others. To help cope with the changes, employees are making successful changes to their career paths.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES - IT HAPPENED IN OCTOBER: A Delta rocket launched the dual-payload International Sun/Earth Explorers 1 and 2 (aka: A and B) on October 22, 1977. 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 investigating cosmic rays and solar flare effects in the interplanetary region near 1 AU. We’ll tell you more next month about ISEE 1/2 and ISEE-3/ICE and its encounter with the Comet Giacobini-Zinner.

RECENT RETIREES: Linda L. Baumann, Edward H. Dowdye, Barbara L. Gownley, Gregory S. Greer, Bernadette Fowler, Janet P. Morgan, and Gail E. Williams.

DESPERATELY SEEKING BOWLERS : The Champion Senior Bowling League at the AMF Lanes on Route 1 in College Park, MD, is desperately seeking seniors to join for fun and exercise. They have a few 3-person teams with vacancies and they can also add more teams. This is senior duckpin bowling, so the balls are small and most of the current bowlers have some sort of physical ailment, but they persevere and so can you! The league meets at 9:30 each Wednesday morning, so please call Marj Gallagher at 301-474-4893 and tell her you’ll sign up or leave her a message at the bowling alley at 301-474-8282.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH : You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.


•  Christine B. (Chris) Alexandre, of Beltsville, MD, passed away from ovarian cancer on July 24th. She was a Secretary during most of her Goddard career and retired as Administrative Officer for the then Mission Operations and Data Systems Directorate (now the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate or AETD).

•  Harold L. Brasure, of Chincoteague, VA, passed away on September 11th. During his career at Goddard he served as a Firefighter at the Wallops Flight Facility.

•  Donald J. Capretti, of Lanham, MD, passed away on July 31st. He worked as a Painter and had other duties in the Plant Operations and Maintenance Division of the Management Operations Directorate.

•  Maurice Dubin, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on August 6th . Dr. Dubin was a Physicist and, among other positions held, he was Chief of Interplanetary Dust and Cometary Physics. He spent more than 45 years at both NASA Headquarters and Goddard and was recognized for his significant contributions to the successful achievement of Apollo 11’s first landing a man on the moon.

•  Marilyn P. Kauffman., of New Carrollton, MD, passed away from a brain tumor on August 11th. She was a Secretary for the Mechanical Systems Branch of what is now AETD. Her late husband, James, who passed away in 1983, worked as a Technician in the same branch.

•  Frances H. Reising, of Silver Spring, MD, and wife of the late Paul E. Reising, passed away on September 1st.

•  Pierce L. Smith, Jr, of Cocoa Beach, FL, and Ellicott City, MD, passed away on June 13, 2008. He joined Goddard in 1966 as a Flight Subsystems Engineer for the Orbiting Geophysical Observatory satellite program. In 1969, he became associated with the Landsat Project and worked on the original Landsat system design and served as Flight Operations Manager from the launch of Landsat-1 in July 1972 until August 1975, when he became Landsat Missions Operations Manager responsible for all flight and data operations. Among several other assignments prior to retiring, he served as the Landsat-D Ground Segment Manager responsible for the design and integration of the ground-based systems for flight control and data processing functions.

•  Hugh A. Turnbull, Jr., of Crofton, MD, passed away on September 14th at age 93. Hugh’s career as a Mechanical Engineer included employment with the Federal Communications Commission, the Voice of America, and Goddard, where he served, among other assignments, as a NASA Station Director (STADIR). He was a charter member of the Goddard Amateur Radio club and served in numerous leadership capacities with the Amateur Radio Relay League (AARL), including as the Atlantic Division Vice Director (1980-1982) and Director (1981-1996). In addition, the AARL Board of Directors named Hugh Vice President in 1996 and Honorary Vice President in 2000. He will be buried at Arlington National cemetery with full military honors at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4, 2011.

•  Ruth S. Valenti, of Owings, MD, passed away on August 24th. During her career she worked for the Department of the Navy, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Office of the Surgeon General and Goddard, where she served in numerous administrative positions, including a stint as a telephone operator.

•  John W. Vanderhoof, , of Jacksonville, FL, passed away on June 5th . Among several positions he served in while at Goddard, he was Production Controller for the Low Cost Modular Spacecraft.

TREASURER'S REPORT : Bob Wigand reports that tax-deductible contributions were received from Harley Mann, Ivan Mason, Alberta Moran (in memory of Marie Stubbs), and Bill Weston.