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George Diller                                                                                                                  July 27, 2004
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

KSC Release: 57-04

NASA Direct! to Provide Live Coverage of MESSENGER Launch

The NASA Direct! Web site is featuring two webcast events and live countdown coverage for MESSENGER, NASA's upcoming mission to unlock the secrets of Mercury the least explored planet in our Solar System. Programming begins July 29 at 2 p.m. EDT and concludes after launch, currently scheduled for August 2 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The first NASA Direct! webcast, "MESSENGER Science and Technology," begins at 2 p.m. EDT July 29. The program will open with a welcome and introduction by Dr. Orlando Figueroa from NASA's Office of Earth Science. After an introduction by Cheryle Mako, Mission Integration Manager for NASA's Launch Services Program, MESSENGER Project Scientist Dr. Ralph McNutt will lend his expertise describing the science and technology of the exciting mission, and answering the public's questions.

On July 30 at 2 p.m. EDT, NASA Direct! will broadcast "MESSENGER Mission Overview." This informative webcast will begin with a welcome by Kennedy Space Center Director James Kennedy. Host Tiffany Nail will then introduce James Leary, MESSENGER's Mission System Specialist. Leary will answer questions about the spacecraft and explain how it was designed to survive the extreme temperatures of Mercury. Next up will be NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale, who will offer an overview of the launch process and readiness of the spacecraft and launch vehicle. Programming will conclude with Delta Launch Weather officer Joel Tumbiolo, who will provide a forecast of projected local weather conditions at the time of launch.


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