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In this issue:
GLAST Gets Shades, Blankets for the Beach
People Today: Tom Rizzi: Team Lead for DOE/SSO by Day, Chiropractor by Night
SLACers Encouraged to Bike to Work Tomorrow
Conservation Tip of the Week: Gas Prices

SLAC Today

Wednesday - May 14, 2008

GLAST Gets Shades, Blankets for the Beach

(Photo - GLAST)
At the Astrotech payload processing facility in Florida, a worker looks over the star tracker sun shades just installed on the GLAST spacecraft. (Image courtesy of NASA/Kim Shiflett.)

The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) is currently receiving finishing touches at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, near the beaches of eastern central Florida. The spacecraft is set for launch aboard a Delta II rocket no earlier than June 3. The launch window runs from 8:45 a.m. to 10:40 p.m. PDT.

SLAC managed the development of the GLAST's main instrument, the Large Area Telescope, and runs the Instrument Science Operations Center (ISOC), which will process data for the duration of the mission.

Sun shades were recently installed on GLAST at the Astrotech Facility, located near the Kennedy Space Center. "These are light shades on the star tracker optics [optics that measure where the observatory is pointing] that keep light outside of the field of view from obscuring the star field," said Al Vernacchio, GLAST Deputy Project Manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Sun shades are like a visor you flip down in your car on a sunny day to block the Sun's glare so you can see the road," said Steve Ritz, GLAST Project Scientist at Goddard. They "shade" the star tracker field-of-view from stray light coming from the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, so GLAST's star trackers can see the needed reference stars. GLAST uses reference stars to check its orientation. Basically, GLAST is navigated using both GPS and the stars.  Read more...

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Tom Rizzi: Team Lead for DOE/SSO by Day, Chiropractor by Night

Tom Rizzi holds a figurine of a chiropractor that decorates his office; it's the only indicator of his after-work passion.

While most people enjoy heading home after work to sit down and relax, Tom Rizzi likes heading back to the office—at his second job as a chiropractor. A couple of nights a week the Department of Energy (DOE) Team Lead for Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) and Facility Operations goes to his chiropractic practice in Mountain View. Many wonder where he finds the time and energy to do it all. "I'm one of those people who never sleeps," he says jokingly (we think). "People ask me if I'm tired when I get there and I always answer no. I really enjoy going to the office. It’s a total shift in gears," he says. Rizzi says he genuinely has fun at his practice partly because, "I'm the boss."

Being a chiropractor is more than just fun—it's rewarding. "I get people out of pain," says Rizzi. "People come to me hurting and they leave feeling better."

Rizzi can relate to such a difference in his clients' lives: when he was 14 years old a football accident resulted in a small fracture of one of his vertebrate, which left him with a great deal of back pain. His father eventually took him to a chiropractor, and the therapy relieved the pain allowing Rizzi to get back into an active lifestyle. From that point on, he knew he wanted to be a chiropractor.

After receiving his BS in biology, Rizzi worked at several local biotechnology companies doing medical research. Rizzi later went back to school to earn a doctor of chiropractic degree, obtained his chiropractors license, and bought a large private practice. When the business aspects of his practice made it more than he could handle alone, Rizzi found that his training in back injuries and ergonomics prepared him to be an on-the-job safety advisor. After working in the private sector as a safety engineer for several companies including SLAC, he was recruited by the DOE almost a year and a half ago.

Rizzi says he loves working in the DOE office, where people occasionally ask him for back advice—which he's happy to give.

Today, Rizzi's active lifestyle shows little sign of the back injury from years ago. He's an avid athlete, taking time to snow ski, water ski, hike and bike. He and his wife, both San Jose natives, recently returned from a hiking trip to Yosemite National Park.

SLACers Encouraged to Bike to Work Tomorrow

Tomorrow marks the return of Bike to Work Day. Last year, the lab had nearly 80 participants stop by the SLAC energizer station—a place for cyclists to grab freebies, beverages and snacks. This year, the station will again be set up at the lab's Sand Hill Road main entrance from 6:30 to 9:00 a.m., and event organizers are hoping for an even bigger turn out. On Your Mark, Get Set, Pedal!

Conservation Tip
of the Week:
Gas Prices

Here we go again. Gas prices continue to rise and most of us are reminded of the early 1970's gas crisis. Since that time, we've all become a little complacent in our habits (given the low cost of gasoline and diesel up until now). To help conserve gasoline and diesel fuel, here are a few tips to integrate into your driving habits:

Avoid rapid acceleration; most horsepower is built into cars for acceleration, but relatively little power (and thus fuel) is required to maintain speed.

Avoid hard braking and sudden stops. Stay alert and anticipate traffic lights, stop signs and merges. Use turn signals. Traffic will move more smoothly, which saves fuel for everyone.

When starting out, shift up to the next gear (in your manual transmission vehicle) as soon as possible without straining the engine.

Drive slower. One study reported that for all vehicles tested there was at least a 20% loss in fuel economy as the cruising speed was increased from 55 to 75 mph. So, 20 mpg at 55 mph becomes 16 mpg or less at 75 mph.

If your car has an instantaneous mpg indicator, use it to improve your driving efficiency.

Remove extra weight from the car; 100 extra pounds may cost 1 mpg. Pack light for trips.

Try to avoid using roof racks and remove when they are not in use.

Use cruise control on highway trips.

For any stop you expect to last more than a minute, shut of your engine rather than letting it idle.

Do not warm up your engine before driving; it is not necessary, even in cold weather.

Do not rev your engine before shutting it off; this wastes fuel and can dilute motor oil, leading to excessive wear on engine parts.

Reduce the use of your air conditioner at low driving speeds. But when driving over 40 mph, using the air conditioner uses less fuel than having windows open (for aerodynamic reasons).

These tips are from the State Office of Energy and Planning.


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