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Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1727)

Michael Buckley
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
(Phone: 240/228-7536)

July 13, 2004
Pre-Launch Briefing For NASA's MESSENGER Mission To Mercury
NASA's first mission to the planet Mercury in 30 years, scheduled for launch Aug. 2, will be the subject of a press briefing Thursday, July 15, at 1 p.m. EDT. The briefing will originate from the James Webb auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington, and will be broadcast live on NASA TV.

MESSENGER is scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 2:16 a.m. EDT, Aug. 2, aboard a Delta II launch vehicle. MESSENGER will arrive to begin its yearlong orbit of Mercury in March 2011.

Panelists will discuss the mission's science goals and the seven-year cruise needed to place the spacecraft in orbit around Mercury:

--Orlando Figueroa, Director, Solar System Exploration Division, NASA Headquarters
--Dr. Sean C. Solomon, Principal Investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington
--Dr. Robert W. Farquhar, mission manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md.
--James C. Leary, mission systems engineer, APL

NASA TV is available on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. Two-way question-and-answer capability is available from participating NASA centers. For listen-only service call: 321/867-1220/1240/1260.

Additional information about MESSENGER is available on the Web at:


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