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October 17, 2006
STEREO Solar Observatories Launching Aboard Delta II on Oct. 25

Launch of NASA's STEREO spacecraft is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25, aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The launch window is 8:38 to 8:53 p.m. EDT. Should the launch be postponed for 24 hours for any reason, the launch window is 8:26 to 8:41 p.m. EDT, or for a 48-hour postponement, 8:32 to 8:47 p.m. EDT.

STEREO consists of two spacecraft that together comprise the first mission to take measurements of the sun and solar wind in 3-D. This new view will improve our understanding of space weather and its impact on the Earth.

During the two-year mission, the nearly identical spacecraft will explore the origin, evolution and interplanetary consequences of coronal mass ejections, the most violent explosions in our solar system. When directed at Earth, these billion-ton eruptions can disrupt satellites, radio communications and power systems. In addition, energetic particles associated with these solar eruptions are hazardous to scientific spacecraft and astronauts.

Truly an international effort, many portions of the STEREO instruments were provided by the United States, the United Kingdom and several European countries. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, Md., designed and built the spacecraft and will operate the twin observatories for NASA during the mission. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is responsible for the project management. The NASA Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center and Boeing Expendable Launch Systems are responsible for the launch.

Prelaunch Press Conference

The prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA News Center at KSC at 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Participating in the briefing will be:

Omar Baez, NASA Launch Director/NASA Launch Manager
Kennedy Space Center

Kris Walsh, Director of NASA Programs
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Nicholas Chrissotimos, STEREO Project Manager
Goddard Space Flight Center

Ed Reynolds, STEREO Project Manager
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Joel Tumbiolo, U.S. Air Force Delta II Launch Weather Officer
45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

STEREO Mission Science Briefing

A mission science briefing will immediately follow the prelaunch press conference. Participating will be:

Michael Kaiser, STEREO Project Scientist
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Dr. Russ Howard, SECCHI Principal Investigator
Naval Research Laboratory

Dr. Janet Luhmann, IMPACT Principal Investigator
University of California at Berkeley

Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta, STEREO Program Scientist
NASA Headquarters

No post-launch press conference will be held. A post-launch release will be issued with details on the state of health of the STEREO spacecraft after data is received through the Canberra tracking station of the Deep Space Network. The release is expected to be issued approximately two hours after launch.

Accreditation and Media Access Badges for KSC

Those who need press accreditation and access badges to the Kennedy Space Center to cover the STEREO prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing should do the accreditation process via the Web by going to: https://media.ksc.nasa.gov.

All accreditation requests for the STEREO prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing to be held at the KSC press site must be received by Friday, Oct. 20. Media may obtain their NASA access badges at the Pass and Identification Building, the badging station located on State Road 405 just east of U.S. 1. Contact the NASA News Center at 321/867-2468 for further information.

Remote Camera Placement at Complex 17

Wednesday, Oct. 25: Photographers who wish to set up remote cameras at the Delta launch complex will be escorted by a Boeing representative to Pad 17-B. Departure by vehicle convoy will be at 8:45 a.m. from the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building located on State Road 401 outside Gate 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Tower Rollback Photo Opportunity at Complex 17

Wednesday, Oct. 25: There will be an opportunity to observe rollback of the mobile service tower from around the STEREO/Delta II launch vehicle at Pad 17-B. Media should report at 10:30 a.m. to the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building on State Road 401 outside Gate 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required. Transportation by government bus will be provided to Launch Complex 17. Media are requested to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.

Launch Day Press Site Access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Wednesday, Oct. 25: Media covering the STEREO launch will be able to obtain press access badges beginning at 7 p.m. at the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located on State Road 401. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required to obtain an access badge. A driver's license alone will not be sufficient. However, additional identification will not be required for those who present a pre-issued NASA accreditation badge for STEREO or a valid permanent NASA-KSC picture badge.

Departure in a vehicle caravan from Gate 1 to Press Site 1 will be at 7:15 p.m. Access badges cannot be issued after that time.

News Center Hours for Launch

The NASA News Center at KSC will open for STEREO news operations starting Monday, Oct. 23, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On launch day, Wednesday, Oct. 25 the news center will re-open one hour after launch to confirm the spacecraft state of health and to issue the post launch press release.

Starting Monday, Oct. 23, status reports on the launch of STEREO and updates to the Media Advisory will be recorded on the KSC news media codaphone at 321-867-2525.

NASA Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

NASA's home on the Internet, http://www.nasa.gov, will provide extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the STEREO mission.

Live countdown coverage from NASA's Launch Blog begins at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 25. Coverage features real-time updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff.

A panel of experts has answered questions about NASA's preparation for the STEREO mission. Those responses are available online and through NASA podcasts.

To access these interactive features and more, go to NASA's STEREO main page at http://www.nasa.gov/stereo and follow the "Countdown Coverage" and "Ask the Mission Team" links provided under the "Events" column. For more information about STEREO mission online events, contact Dennis Armstrong at 321-867-4493.

Television Coverage

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, television coverage of the STEREO prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing will begin at 1 p.m. EDT. Two-way question and answer capability will be available from other NASA field centers. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, television coverage of the launch will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT and conclude after spacecraft separation from the Delta II rocket approximately 30 minutes after launch. The broadcast network HDNet will also carry the launch in high definition television format starting at 8:30 p.m. For more information visit http://www.hd.net.

Audio only of the prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing will be carried on the NASA "V" circuits which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1260 or 321-867-7135 beginning at 1 p.m. EDT on Oct. 24. On launch day, Oct. 25, "Mission Audio," countdown activities without NASA launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Audio of the NASA launch commentary will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be available on 321-867-1220, 1240, 1260. It will also be available on local amateur radio frequency 146.940 Mhz (VHF) or 442.6 Mhz (UHF), heard within Brevard County.

For information on receiving NASA Television go to:


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text-only version of this release

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Erica Hupp/Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Rani Gran
Goddard Space Flight Center, Md.

Kristi Marren
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Md.

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