Kennedy News

Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center

Susan Hendrix
Goddard Space Flight Center

March 4, 2002
RELEASE : 17-02
Note to Editors/News Directors:
Launch Of NASA's TDRS-I Satellite Scheduled For March 8
The launch of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-I (TDRS-I) aboard an Atlas IIA rocket (AC-143) is scheduled for Friday, March 8, 2002. Liftoff is targeted to occur at the opening of a launch window that extends from 5:39 - 6:19 p.m. EDT, a duration of 40 minutes. Liftoff will occur from Pad A at Complex 36 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch is furnished under a NASA contract with International Launch Services.

TDRS-I, built by Boeing Satellite Systems, is the second in an advanced series of three Tracking and Data Relay Satellites designed to replenish the existing on-orbit fleet of six spacecraft, the first of which was launched in 1983. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System is the primary source of air-to-ground voice, data and telemetry for the Space Shuttle. It also provides the communications and data capability for the International Space Station and scientific spacecraft in low earth orbit such as the Hubble Space Telescope. TDRS-J, the third in the current series, is scheduled for launch in November 2002 and will extend the availability of TDRS communications services until approximately 2013.

TDRS-I Prelaunch Press Conference

The prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA-KSC News Center on Thursday, March 7 at 1 p.m. EST. Participating in the briefing will be:

Omar Baez, NASA Launch Manager, Kennedy Space Center
Adrian Laffitte, Director, Atlas Launch Programs, Lockheed Martin
Robert Jenkins, NASA TDRS Project Manager, Goddard Space Flight Center
Jack Wormington, Boeing Satellite Systems Senior Vice President for Programs
James Sardonia, Launch Weather Officer, 45th Weather Squadron, USAF

No post-launch news conference is planned.

Press Coverage

The prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA-KSC News Center on Thursday, March 7 at 1 p.m. Media who need an access badge for this event should fax a letter of request on news organization letterhead that should include full name, Social Security Number and birth date. Letters should be faxed to 321/867-2692.

On launch day, Friday, March 8 press will be accredited at the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on SR 401 beginning at 3:30 p.m. Media credentials from a bona fide news organization must be presented to NASA and U.S. Air Force representatives. Sign-in will be required before an access badge can be issued. Departure for Press Site 1 will be at 4 p.m.

Freelance writers or photographers planning to cover launch day activities must fax a letter of assignment to NASA Public Affairs at 321/867-2692 by the close of business on Thursday, March 7.

Remote Camera Placement

On Friday, March 8 at 9 a.m., a van will depart from the NASA-KSC News Center for media photographers to establish remote cameras at Pad 36-A. There will be no access or transportation from Gate 1 for remote camera set-ups. Media needing accreditation for this activity should contact the NASA-KSC News Center at 321/867-2468 before the close of business Thursday, March 7.

Tower Rollback Photo Opportunity

There will be an opportunity for media to photograph the Lockheed Martin AC-143 launch vehicle with carrying TDRS-I. Media should meet at the Gate 1 Pass & Identification Building at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 8. Transportation to Space Launch Complex 36 will be by government van only. Media will be returned to the Gate 1 Pass & Identification Building in time to convoy to Press Site 1 for launch.

NASA-KSC News Center Hours for Launch

The NASA-KSC News Center will open on launch day at 8 a.m. and close once the state of health of TDRS-I in orbit is known. It is anticipated that a news release confirming a successful launch and a properly functioning spacecraft will be available from the NASA News Center at approximately L+65 minutes.

NASA Television Coverage and Webcast

NASA Television will carry live the TDRS-I/AC-143 pre-launch press conference on Thursday, March 7 at 1 p.m. A two-way question and answer capability will be available from other NASA field centers.

A complete TDRS-I video package will be broadcast during the NASA TV Video File scheduled on March 7- 8 at noon.

On launch day, March 8, launch coverage will be carried live on NASA Television and also webcast the NASA-KSC Home Page. Launch commentary will begin at 4 p.m. EST and continue through spacecraft separation at L+30 minutes.

The pre-launch press conference and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA "V" audio circuits which may be accessed by dialing 321/867-1220, 1240, 1260, 7135.

NASA Television is available on the GE-2 satellite, transponder 9C, located at 85 degrees West. The webcast may be found on the NASA-KSC home page at

Status Reports

Recorded status reports on the launch of TDRS-I/AC-143 will be available on the KSC news media codaphone starting on Tuesday, March 5. The telephone number is 321/867-2525.


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