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June 24, 1997

Douglas Isbell
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1753)

Franklin O’Donnell
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
(Phone: 818/354-5011)

Rob Navias
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-3671)

Release: N97-44

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Robotic Mars Landing and Space Shuttle Reflight Highlight a Busy and Challenging Week for U.S. Space Program

The week of June 30 promises to be a busy and memorable one in the history of space exploration, with the landing of NASA’s Mars Pathfinder spacecraft on Independence Day, a Space Shuttle launch of the STS-94 microgravity science mission, and ongoing activities on Russia’s Mir space station.

NASA will offer near-continuous access to these events for the media and the general public. In addition to standard Space Shuttle-related mission activities, NASA TV will provide coverage of daily status briefings on Mars Pathfinder and extensive live programming on July 4-6 from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. Telephone audio links will be available during overlapping events and numerous Internet sites are accessible for status reports and imagery. JPL also will operate a full-service newsroom for the Pathfinder landing from June 30 to at least July 11.

The latest comprehensive schedule for NASA TV, and updates to it as events progress, is available from NASA Headquarters; JPL; Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; and, Kennedy Space Center, FL. It also is available on-line at the following URL:

ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/statrpt/jsc/tvsked/tvsked.txt

Mars Pathfinder Coverage Information

News media should contact JPL’s Public Information Office at 818/354-5011 for information on credentials for its newsroom. Please also notify JPL if you have a need for a Mission Audio feed of the STS-94 mission distributed to your work location in the von Karman Auditorium.

Beginning on June 30, the Mars Pathfinder landing newsroom at JPL will be open at 818/354-8999, during at least the following hours (all times CDT): June 30-July 2 10 a.m.-7 p.m. July 3 10 a.m.-10 p.m. July 4 8:30 a.m.-2 a.m. (July 5) July 5-6 10 a.m.-2 a.m. July 7-11 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Status reports on mission activities for Mars Pathfinder will be issued by the JPL Public Information Office. Daily audio status reports will be available by calling 800/391-6654 or 818/354-4210.

A pre-landing briefing on Mars Pathfinder and its science objectives at Mars will be held at JPL on Tuesday, July 1, at 12 a.m. CDT. If the STS-94 launch remains scheduled for this date, this briefing will not be shown live on NASA TV. A taped rebroadcast of this briefing currently is planned for later that evening and the next morning. Media can access a live audio feed of this briefing by calling 818/354-6170. During the briefing, the STS-94 countdown can be heard on a Mission Audio feed to JPL.

Extensive information on Mars Pathfinder, including an electronic copy of the landing press kit, related press releases, fact sheets, status reports and images, is available from the JPL World Wide Web home page at URL:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/marsnews

The Mars Pathfinder project also maintains a home page at URL:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/mpfmir

These sites may receive heavy traffic on the days close to landing, but Internet users around the world can follow the mission by way of multiple local mirror sites that are now on-line, with links listed at the Web site above. The Internet sites feature updates on mission activities and will provide Pathfinder photographs of the Martian surface, once they become available. The sites also will feature a bird's eye view of the Mars Pathfinder mission operations area at JPL, via a live video camera feed that is updated every 15 minutes.

Images returned by the Mars Pathfinder lander and rover will be released to the news media in electronic format only during the mission via addresses furnished to media upon request. These sites will include files offering the highest spatial and color resolution of images returned by the Pathfinder lander and rover. Images also will be carried on NASA Television during daily Video File broadcasts.

STS-94 Coverage Information

As with all Space Shuttle missions, the Johnson Space Center newsroom will be staffed 24-hours a day throughout the 16-day STS-94 mission, Microgravity Science Laboratory-1, beginning at 8 a.m. CDT on July 1. Information regarding the mission can be obtained by calling the JSC Newsroom at 281/483-5111.

Information on STS-94 is available through several sources on the Internet. The primary source for mission information is the NASA Shuttle Web. This site contains information on the crew and their mission and will be regularly updated with status reports, photos and video clips throughout the flight. The NASA Shuttle Web's address is URL:

http://shuttle.nasa.gov

If that address is busy or unavailable, the STS-94 Countdown Page can be found at URL:

http:///centers/ksc/shuttle/missions/sts-94/countdown.html

and the MSL-1 Home Page can be found at URL:

http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov

Television coverage of STS-94 on NASA TV during the heaviest period of Mars Pathfinder activities will include update reports, Flight Day Highlights, the "Mission Update" program and Mission Status Briefings, when warranted. Uninterrupted air-to-ground feeds of conversations between the astronauts in orbit and ground controllers along with mission commentary can continue to be heard on Mission Audio, which will be distributed to the NASA centers, as is usually the case during Shuttle flights.

During the time when Mars Pathfinder activity is seen on NASA TV, a clean TV feed of Shuttle coverage also will be available at JSC. Reporters covering Mars Pathfinder at either JPL or the Kennedy Space Center will not be able to obtain a clean TV feed of Shuttle coverage after launch, only the programmed feed of both Mars Pathfinder and Shuttle activities through NASA TV.

If the launch of STS-94 is delayed until July 4, NASA will issue an updated TV events programming schedule at the Web site listed at the beginning of this Note To Editors.

NASA Television is broadcast on the satellite GE-2, transponder 9C, C Band, 85 degrees West longitude, frequency 3880.0 MHz, vertical polarization, audio monaural at 6.8 MHz.

 

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