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Keith Henry
(Phone: 757-864-6120/344-7211 mobile)
h.k.henry@larc.nasa.gov

Rel-04-051
 


Aug. 24, 2004

NOTE TO EDITORS:
MEDIA AVAILABILITY BEFORE DRAMATIC MID-AIR SPACECRAFT CAPTURE

News media interested in participating in the NASA Langley Genesis media availability on Thursday, Aug. 26, should call Keith Henry at 864-6120/344-7211 or Margarette Lynch at 864-6124 to arrange for access and escort to the Newsroom.


Desai and Mersk
NASA Langley researchers Prasun Desai and Ron Merski with a wind tunnel model of the Genesis solar sample return capsule. The full-sized capsule is due to make a high-speed Earth reentry Sept. 8 after a two-year mission to collect solar particles and return them safely to Earth.
High-resolution (668K)
Image: NASA/Jeff Caplan
 

NASA Langley researchers will be closely watching the dramatic mid-air capture of the NASA Genesis spacecraft, set to return to Earth after a three year journey through the solar system collecting microscopic particles from the sun's solar wind.

As with the successful entry, descent and landing of the Mars Exploration Rovers early this year, Langley specialists have worked to help ensure that the Genesis return capsule will be in the target zone for its much-anticipated atmospheric entry. Unlike the Mars mission, the Genesis spacecraft is returning to Earth and will feature a mid-air capture by helicopter.

On Aug. 26 from 10-11 a.m., NASA Langley Genesis spokespersons will be available to address Langley's role in the Genesis solar sample return mission led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The capsule is on target for Earth reentry Sept. 8 shortly before noon EDT. The capture is expected to take place at approximately 12:15 p.m. EDT over a U.S. Air Force Test and Training Range in Utah.

NASA Langley helped design the entry capsule for Genesis related to flight dynamics, aerodynamics and aerotherodynamics during the spacecraft's development phase. NASA Langley is part of the Navigation Operations Team, helping predict the landing location and the size of the landing footprint that will be used to properly position recovery helicopters. Langley researchers are responsible for the entry, descent and landing analysis for the re-entry for the Project. This information is used to support the reentry go/no-go decision process.

For information and images regarding the Genesis sample return mission on the Internet, visit:

www.jpl.nasa.gov/webcast/genesis/

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