Kennedy News

David Steitz/Nancy Neal
NASA Headquarters

George H. Diller
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Lynn Chandler
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Keith Koehler
NASA Wallops Flight Facility

Dec. 11, 2002
RELEASE : 121-02
Note to Editors/News Directors:
ICESat/CHIPSat Ready For Launch Aboard Delta II Rocket On Dec. 19
The launch of the ICESat (Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite) and CHIPSat (Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer) polar-orbiting satellites for NASA aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is scheduled to occur on Thursday, Dec. 19. Liftoff will be from Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The 45-minute launch window extends from 4:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. PST. ICESat will be launched into an orbit of 375 statute miles while CHIPSat will be launched into a polar orbit of 350 miles.

ICESat, a 661-pound satellite, is a benchmark satellite for the Earth Observing System that will help scientists determine if the global sea level is rising or falling. It will look at the ice sheets that blanket the Earth's poles to see if they are growing or shrinking. It will assist in developing an understanding of how changes in the Earth's atmosphere and climate affect polar ice masses and global sea level. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is the sole instrument on the satellite.

CHIPSat, a suitcase-size 131-pound satellite, will provide invaluable information into the origin, physical processes and properties of the hot gas contained in the interstellar medium. This can provide important clues about the formation and evolution of galaxies since the interstellar medium literally contains the seeds of future stars. When the gas cools and collapses, the gas forms clumps that can evolve into stars and planets. One of the biggest puzzles in astrophysics is the process that turns this very diffuse, hot and cold gas and dust into stars.


News media desiring advance accreditation for the launch of ICESat/CHIPSat should fax their request on news organization letterhead to:

George H. Diller
NASA Resident Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
FAX: 805/605-3380

For further information on launch accreditation, contact NASA Public Affairs at Vandenberg Air Force Base beginning Monday, Dec. 16 at 805/605-3051. Accreditation requests to cover the launch should be received by Wednesday, Dec. 18. Also available for further information is Lt. Kelly Gabel at the 30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office who may be reached at 805/606-3595.


The prelaunch news conference will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. PST in the main conference room of the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office, Building 840, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Participants will be:

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

Kris Walsh, Director of NASA Programs
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems

Dr. Waleed Abdalati, Program Executive for Cryospheric Sciences
NASA Headquarters

Dr. Mark Hurwitz, CHIPSat Principal Investigator
University of California at Berkley

Captain Scott Lisko, Launch Weather Officer, 30th Weather Squadron
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Media desiring to cover the prelaunch news conference should meet at the south gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base on California State Road 246 at 12:30 p.m. PST. They will be escorted to the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office in Building 840. A post-launch news conference will not be held. However, media will have the opportunity to interview launch officials afterward at the NASA Mission Director's Center in Building 840, if desired.


Media desiring to establish sound-activated remote cameras at the launch pad will depart from the south gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base at 2 p.m. PST on Wednesday, Dec. 18, for SLC-2. Media should contact Lt. Kelly Gabel in the 30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office at 805/606-3595 no later than Tuesday, Dec. 17, to make the necessary arrangements.


There will be an opportunity to photograph the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle at SLC-2 on Thursday morning after the mobile service tower has been retracted. Media wishing to participate should meet at the Vandenberg Air Force Base main gate located on California State Road 1 at 7 a.m. PST to be escorted to the launch pad. The event will conclude at 8:30 a.m.


On launch day, Thursday, Dec. 19, media covering the launch should meet at the Vandenberg Air Force Base main gate located on California State Road 1 at 3:30 p.m. PST to be escorted to the press site located on north Vandenberg Air Force Base. After launch, media will be escorted back to the main gate, or to the NASA Mission Director's Center in Building 840 for interviews if desired.


NASA Television will carry the prelaunch news conference starting at 1 p.m. PST on Wednesday, Dec. 18. A complete ICESat/CHIPSat video package will be broadcast following the press conference.

On launch day, Dec. 19, NASA TV coverage of the countdown will begin at 3 p.m. PST and conclude at L+90 minutes after both spacecraft have separated from the Delta II launch vehicle.

NASA Television is carried on GE-2, transponder 9C located at 85 degrees West longitude. Audio only will be available on the "V" circuit numbers that may be accessed directly by dialing 321/867- 1220, 1240, 1260, or 7135.

NASA Television coverage of the ICESat/CHIPSat launch will be webcast on the NASA-KSC Home Page at . Choose "KSC Live Video Feeds" followed by "NASA Television Coverage."


The ICESat/CHIPSat News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office will be staffed beginning Monday, Dec. 16. For launch information, contact George Diller at 805/605-3051. A recorded status report will also be available at that time by dialing 805/734-2693.


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