News for the Alumni and Friends of the (former) Space Physics and Astronomy Department

Volume 3, Number 1

March 3, 2002

Hot News - Alumni News - Faculty News - Staff News - Observatory News - Other News

Editor: Patricia Reiff (

Hot News: Jim Newman in Space, STS 109:

STS 109 Nabs HST: Spacalum Jim Newman is in space in mission STS 109, the latest Hubble repair mission. He will perform several space walks. After waking up to the "Mission Impossible" theme early this morning, STS 109 successfully docked the HST and has retracted the solar panels, in preparation for replacing them. The problem with cooling was considered not mission-threatening. For more info, including links to NASA-TV webcasts, see
(As I decipher the schedule, Jim will be on the 2nd EVA, Tuesday, where he will replace the second solar panel, and the 4th EVA Thursday morning, where he will install the new ACES instrument).
(Note: Image is a banner Jim took into space, which he presented to the Rice Space Institute after the successful completion of the mission.)

Other News: Bill Gordon's wife Elva passed away after a short illness following a stroke. Her memorial service Saturday was very moving. Their two children (Nancy Ward and Larry Gordon) and their spouses spoke, ending with Bill. Their reminiscences were of a feisty, loving, woman who was a terrific cook, was a whiz with leftovers, and who "ruled the roost" with post-its and sly humor. The four grandchildren read the scriptures and led the unison readings. The crowd was quite large (the reception line lasted well over an hour). Bill had several photo albums, plus a printout of the emails he had gotten in condolences (his email address, by the way, is Fortunately, the entire extended family had gone to Puerto Rico in November to see Arecibo receive the "Landmark in Mechanical Engineering and Milestone in Electrical Engineering" Awards, only the 5th facility to receive both. It was the last get-together that they had shared as a family, and it was a special time for all of them. We will certainly miss her!


Former director of the Johnson Space Center George Abbey recently joined the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, where he will guide space policy efforts related to the World Space Congress being held in Houston this fall.

Faculty News: Tom's Hill's interview on Jupiter's magnetosphere was broadcast on NPR. It can be replayed from the NPR archives (you need to have RealAudio installed).
is the direct link, or you can use "search archives" for March 01, Jupiter from the npr pages The segment begins with an interview about how slow they T-Rex probably ran, then the HST part begins at 14:30 (when you replay from the archive you can slide the bar to jump to the middle of the program, if you want) and Jupiter at 20:00. Unfortunately they used his old professional title, but that's the way things go.

Alumni News: A new spacalum newsletter will be coming out soon... send me your news!
check the spacalum website:
.. we do still have some missing alumni that we want to reach - see!

Also, you as a spacalum subscriber can now see the list of all the alumni on our list (but it is HIDDEN from all others, and new subscribers must be approved, so your email is safe). If you want to see that list, or specify that your email address is hidden from others on the list, set a password or other options, go to

We do want to bring in as many former faculty and staff, and undergrads and MS students as we can, so if you notice that someone's not on the mailman list, be sure to let me know and we'll be glad to invite them!

...Pat Reiff

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last modified: Sept 12, 2002