Kennedy News

Don Savage
NASA Headquarters
202-358-1753

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center
321-867-2468

Whitney Clavin
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(818) 354-0850

Aug. 15, 2003
RELEASE : 70-03
Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) To Be Launched Aboard Delta II Aug. 23

The launch of NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility aboard a Boeing Delta II Heavy expendable launch vehicle is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 23, at the opening of an instantaneous launch window that occurs at 1:37:29 a.m. EDT. Launch will occur from Pad 17-B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility marks the finale of NASA’s Great Observatories Program, which includes the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. Its unprecedented infrared sensitivity will allow astronomers to study the most distant, coldest, and most dust-obscured objects and processes in the universe.

The observatory’s amazing ability to sleuth around for low-temperature objects will also aid in the search for planetary systems in the making, some of which may breed Earth-like planets. The mission is a cornerstone of NASA’s Origins Program, which seeks to answer the questions, “Where did we come from? Are we alone?“

SIRTF Mission Science Briefing

A SIRTF mission science briefing will be held at the NASA News Center at KSC on Thursday, Aug. 21, at noon EDT. Participating will be:

Dr. Ed Weiler, NASA associate administrator
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Michael Werner, SIRTF project scientist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dr. Dale Cruikshank, interdisciplinary scientist for planetary science
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Dr. Michael Jura, SIRTF interdisciplinary scientist for planetary science
University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Marcia Rieke, astronomer/professor
Stewart Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson

Prelaunch Press Conference

The prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA News Center at KSC on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. EDT. Participating in the briefing will be:

Dr. Lia LaPiana, Space Infrared Telescope Facility program executive
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Omar Baez, NASA launch director
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Kris Walsh, director of NASA Programs
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems, Huntington Beach, Calif.

David Gallagher, SIRTF project manager
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

USAF Delta/SIRTF launch weather officer
45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

No post-launch press conference will be held. A post-launch release will be issued with details on the state of health of SIRTF after spacecraft data is received. This is expected to be available approximately three hours after launch.

Accreditation and Media Access Badges for KSC

Those who need press accreditation and access badges to the Kennedy Space Center to cover the SIRTF mission science briefing and prelaunch press conference should send a letter of request on news organization letterhead to the NASA-KSC News Center by the close of business on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Include the names and Social Security numbers, birth dates, nationality and country of citizenship of those who require accreditation. Letters should be faxed to 321-867-2692 or may be addressed to:

SIRTF Accreditation
NASA XA-E1
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

Media should plan to obtain their access badge at Gate 3 (west gate) located on State Road 405, south of Titusville, just east of U.S. 1. Contact the NASA-KSC News Center at 867-2468 for additional information that will be necessary.

Remote Camera Placement at Complex 17

On Friday, Aug. 22, photographers who wish to set up remote cameras at the Delta launch complex will be escorted by a Boeing representative to Pad 17-B. Departure will be at 9:30 a.m. from the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building located on State Road 401 outside Gate 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Tower Rollback Photo Opportunity

On Friday, Aug. 22, there will be an opportunity to observe rollback of the mobile service tower from around the SIRTF/Delta II launch vehicle at Pad 17-B. Media will depart at 4:30 p.m. by government bus from the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building on State Road 401 outside Gate 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required.

Launch Day Press Access

On Saturday, Aug. 23, media covering the SIRTF launch will be able to obtain press access badges beginning at midnight at the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located on State Road 401. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required to obtain an access badge. A driver’s license alone will not be sufficient.

Due to the location of the impact limit lines for the launch of the Delta Heavy, the Trident bluff remote press site will be used. This is located on south Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the east side of the Trident turn basin. Video and audio plug-in capability for NASA Television will be available. In addition, a limited number of laptop telephone interfaces will be available. Departure from Gate 1 for the Trident bluff will be at 12:20 a.m.

News Center Hours for Launch

On Friday, Aug. 22, the NASA News Center at KSC will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The News Center will be closed on Saturday. All media activities will be conducted from the remote press site at the Trident bluff.

NASA Television Coverage

On Thursday, Aug. 21, NASA Television will carry live the SIRTF/Delta II Mission Science Briefing at noon EDT and the Prelaunch Press Conference at 1 p.m. EDT.

On Friday, Aug. 22, NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 11:30 p.m. EDT and conclude after spacecraft acquisition through the Deep Space Network approximately one hour after launch. NASA Television is available on the AMC-2 satellite, Transponder 9C, located at 85 degrees West.

Audio only of the prelaunch press conference and the launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits which may be accessed by dialing 321/867-1220…1240…1260...7135.

NASA Television coverage will be simulcast on the web and accessed via the NASA Home Page at:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/MM_NTV_Web.html

Live informational updates and post-event video will also be available through Kennedy Space Center’s Virtual Launch Control Center at:

http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/elvnew/sirtf/index.htm

SIRTF Status Reports

Recorded status reports on the launch of SIRTF and updates to the note to editors will be provided on the KSC news media codaphone starting on Monday, Aug. 18. The telephone number is 321-867-2525.

The management of the SIRTF launch is the responsibility of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the SIRTF project for the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters. The fully integrated SIRTF spacecraft was designed and built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Sunnyvale, Calif. SIRTF’s cryogenic telescope was designed and built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo. The observatory’s three science instruments were provided by astronomers at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. After launch, SIRTF will be operated by teams from JPL, Caltech and Lockheed Martin.

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Digital images of SIRTF processing activities are available in KSC's online Multimedia Gallery at:

http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=94.

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