Kennedy News

Dennis Armstrong
Kennedy Space Center
(321) 867-2468

June 5, 2003
RELEASE : 41-03
KSC's Expendable Vehicle Web Coverage Debuts With MER-A Launch
With the launch of the first rover beginning the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, the Kennedy Space Center Web site is celebrating its first-time online coverage of an expendable vehicle mission.

On Saturday, June 7, NASA Direct!'s MER-A programming will kick off with "Preparing for Launch," hosted by Jon Cowart and featuring Launch Weather Officer Joel Tumbiolo, NASA Launch Manager Omar Baez, and MER Manager Matt Wallace. The launch day program, "MER Mission Overview," will be hosted by Tiffany Nail and will include MER Flight Systems Manager Richard Cook and Deputy Project Manager Richard Brace.

Viewers will see informative programming highlighting the objectives of the MER-A launch and the twin rovers' upcoming mission. During both programs, featured guests will answer questions submitted to the NASA Direct! Question Boards from space enthusiasts around the world. The NASA Direct! home page and Question Boards can be viewed online at

In addition to NASA Direct!, the KSC Web will provide live countdown coverage from the Virtual Launch Control Center, located at Coverage will feature real-time updating as milestones occur during the countdown, as well as downloadable and streaming video clips of countdown events. All videos will be provided in RealMedia format, with downloadable clips available in two sizes for users with 56K modems or cable/broadband connections.

MER-A WEB COVERAGE SCHEDULE (all times are EDT and subject to change)

L-1 Day - Saturday, June 7
Approx. 2:15 p.m. NASA Direct! program: Preparing for Launch

L-0 Days - Launch Day, Sunday, June 8
Approx. 12:15 p.m. Live countdown coverage begins

Approx. 5:15 p.m. NASA Direct! program: MER Mission Overview

For the exact time of the start of NASA Direct! programming, please check the NASA Direct! site each program day.

Although coverage events for this mission do not begin until one day prior to launch, the MER-A coverage site at was activated approximately one month before the anticipated launch date. KSC’s Expendable Launch Vehicles site at will always serve as a starting point for coverage of other NASA ELV missions.

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