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Michael Braukus
NASA Headquarters
(Phone: 202/358-1979)

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center
(Phone: 256/544-0034)

Barry Beneski
Orbital Sciences Corporation
(Phone: 703/406-5528)

04.11.05
 
NOTE TO EDITORS : 32-05
 
 
DART Spacecraft to Launch on Pegasus XL Rocket April 15
 
 
NASA's Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft is scheduled to launch from an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL vehicle on Friday, April 15, during a 7-minute launch window which extends from 10:21:49 - 10:28:49 a.m. PDT.

The drop of the Pegasus from the L-1011 carrier aircraft is targeted to occur within the launch window at 10:25 a.m. PDT at a location over the Pacific Ocean approximately 100 miles offshore from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The DART spacecraft is about 6 feet long and 3 feet in diameter, weighing approximately 800 pounds with fuel. It will be placed into a 472-mile-high circular polar orbit at an inclination of 97.7 degrees.

DART will demonstrate key technologies required for spacecraft to rendezvous with other craft, such as satellites, without human intervention. DART will combine key autonomous technologies to actually rendezvous with a target satellite during the mission. It is the first demonstration program selected by NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate to develop technologies for the Vision for Space Exploration.

NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for countdown and launch management; NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is responsible for the overall DART mission management and associated technology development; and Orbital Sciences Corporation is responsible for providing the Pegasus launch service and for building the DART satellite.

Prelaunch Press Conference and Mission Briefing

A prelaunch press conference, to be carried live on NASA Television, is scheduled to occur on Thursday, April 14, at 1 p.m. PDT (4 p.m. EDT) in the conference room of the NASA-KSC Resident Office at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Two-way question and answer capability will be available from NASA Headquarters, Kennedy Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center.

Participating in the prelaunch news conference will be:

-- Omar Baez, NASA Launch Director
Kennedy Space Center

-- Bryan Baldwin, Pegasus Launch Vehicle Program Director
Orbital Sciences Corporation

-- Jim Snoddy, DART Project Manager
Marshall Space Flight Center

-- U.S. Air Force Maj. Richard Benz, Launch Weather Officer
30th Weather Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base

Media desiring to cover the prelaunch press conference and tour of the DART Mission Operations Center should meet at the south gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base on California State Road 246 at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, for escort to the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office in Building 840.

Accreditation

News media desiring accreditation to cover the launch of Pegasus/DART should fax their request on news organization letterhead to:

30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Attention: Staff Sgt. Rebecca Danet

FAX: 805/606-8303
(Telephone: 805/606-3595)

Launch Day Press Coverage

On launch day, media representatives should meet at the Vandenberg main gate at 8:45 a.m. to be escorted to the flight line to view the takeoff of the L-1011. After departure, media will be taken to the viewing room of the NASA Mission Director's Center located at Building 840 on South Vandenberg Air Force Base. From there, media may follow the release and launch of Pegasus/DART.

Assuming a successful flight of the Pegasus, a post-launch news conference will not be held. However, launch vehicle and spacecraft representatives will be available afterward to informally answer questions from the media. Media who desire will then be escorted to the DART Mission Operations Center for a tour of the facility to be used to monitor the DART rendezvous activities.

NASA Television Launch Coverage of Pegasus/DART

Live coverage on NASA Television of the Pegasus/DART launch will begin at 9 a.m. PDT on April 15 and continue through spacecraft separation from the Pegasus vehicle. Live launch commentary and audio of the Pegasus/DART briefings will be available on the "V" audio circuits that may be dialed at 321/867-1220, 1240, 1260 or 7135.

NASA TV is available on the Web and via satellite in the continental U.S. on AMC-6, Transponder 9C, C-Band, at 72 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. In Alaska and Hawaii, NASA TV is available on AMC-7, Transponder 18C, C-Band, at 137 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 4060.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz.

For NASA TV information and schedules on the Internet, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Web Coverage of Pegasus/DART

NASA Television launch coverage will be webcast at:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Live information updates will be available through Kennedy Space Center's Virtual Launch Control
Center at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dart/launch/vlcc.html

Pegasus/DART News Center

The Pegasus/DART News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office will be staffed starting on Thursday, April 14, and may be reached between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. PDT at 805/605-3051. A recorded status report will also be available starting at that time and may be reached by dialing 805/734-2693. The U.S. Air Force Public Affairs office may be reached at 805/606-3595.

 

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