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Gretchen Cook-Anderson                                                                                                    June 29, 2004
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
(Phone: 202/358-0836)

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

KSC Release No. 48-04

AURA Ready for July 10 Launch on Delta II Rocket

NASA's Aura spacecraft, a next generation Earth-observing satellite that will supply the most complete information yet on the health of the Earth's atmosphere, is scheduled for launch on Saturday, July 10. Liftoff will occur aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket at 6:01:57 a.m. EDT (3:01:57 a.m. PDT) at the opening of a three-minute launch window. Spacecraft separation from the launch vehicle occurs one hour and four minutes later. Launch will occur from NASA's Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Should the launch be postponed for 24 hours for any reason, the launch time is unchanged.

Aura will help scientists understand how atmospheric composition affects and responds to Earth's changing climate. The satellite also will help reveal the processes that connect local and global air quality and track the extent that our protective ozone layer is recovering. Aura will carry four instruments designed to survey different aspects of Earth's atmosphere.

Aura, weighing 6,860 pounds, will be launched into a 429 by 419 statute-mile-high polar orbit at an inclination of 98.2 degrees.

ACCREDITATION

News media desiring accreditation for the launch of Aura should fax their request on news organization letterhead to:

30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Attention: Lt. Michelle Mayo
FAX: 805/606-8303 Telephone: 805/606-3595

PRELAUNCH PRESS CONFERENCE

The Aura prelaunch press conference will be held at 3 p.m. EDT (noon PDT) on Thursday, July 8 in the main conference room of the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office, Building 840, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Participants will be:

Dr. Phil DeCola, Aura Program Scientist
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Chuck Dovale, NASA Launch Director
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Kris Walsh, Boeing Director for NASA Programs
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems
Huntington Beach, Calif.

Michael Tanner, Aura Program Executive
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md.

Captain Paul Lucyk, USAF Launch Weather Officer
30th Weather Squadron
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Immediately following the prelaunch press conference will be an abbreviated mission science briefing. Discussing the Aura goals and objectives will be:

Dr. Mark Schoeberl, Aura Project Scientist
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md.

Also on the panel responding to questions will be:

Dr. Pieternel Levelt, Principal Investigator, Ozone Monitoring Instrument
Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, Holland

Dr. Joe Waters, Principal Investigator, Microwave Limb Sounder; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dr. Reinhard Beer, Principal Investigator, Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dr. John Gille, U.S. Principal Investigator, High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo.

Two-way question and answer capability will be available from NASA field centers including Kennedy Space Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA Headquarters.

Media desiring to cover the prelaunch press conference should meet at the south gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base on California State Road 246 at 11:30 a.m. They will be escorted to the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office.

WEB PRELAUNCH AND LAUNCH COVERAGE

NASA Direct! will host an interactive webcast about the Aura mission on July 8 at 5:30 p.m. EDT (2:30 p.m. PDT). The webcast will include several special guests who will provide Delta II launch vehicle status and launch weather information, as well as focus on the mission's science, technology, and the Aura spacecraft itself. Questions for our guests can be submitted through July 8 by visiting:

 

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