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George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Cynthia O'Caroll
Goddard Space Flight Center, Md.

NASA Offers Media Access to THEMIS Spacecraft Jan. 12
NASA's "THEMIS" spacecraft, set to launch aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 15, will be the focus of a media opportunity at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Astrotech in Titusville, Fla. The event is an opportunity to photograph THEMIS and interview project and launch program officials about the mission.

THEMIS is an acronym for Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms. THEMIS consists of five identical probes that will track violent, colorful eruptions near the North Pole. This will be the largest number of scientific satellites ever launched into orbit aboard a single rocket.

The THEMIS mission plans to unravel the tantalizing mystery behind auroral substorms, an avalanche of magnetic energy powered by the solar wind that intensifies the northern and southern lights. THEMIS will help to provide another piece of the puzzle, helping us further understand how and why these space storms create havoc with satellites, power grids and communications systems.

For the media event, procedures for optically sensitive spacecraft must be followed by individuals entering the cleanroom where the spacecraft is being prepared for launch. Full cleanroom attire (bunny suits) must be worn and will be furnished. Please do not wear perfume, cologne or makeup. Long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn -- no shorts or skirts.

Camera equipment must be cleaned under supervision of contamination-control specialists before entering the cleanroom. All equipment must be self-contained; no portable lights can be allowed. Non-essential equipment such as suede, leather or vinyl camera bags or other carrying cases must be left outside the cleanroom. No pencils or felt-tipped pens are permitted; only ball-point pens may be used. No food, tobacco, chewing gum, lighters, matches or pocketknives will be allowed.

Wireless microphones are allowed, but flash photography cannot be permitted. There is adequate metal halide lighting in the facility for photography (white with slight green cast; suggested exposure for ISO-ASA 400 is 1/30 sec. at f/5.6 ).

Primary spokespersons available to the media will be:
  • Willis Jenkins, THEMIS Program Executive
    NASA Headquarters

  • Peter Harvey, THEMIS Project Manager
    University of California at Berkeley

  • Vassilis Angelopoulos, Principal Investigator
    University of California at Berkeley

  • Garrett Skrobot, NASA Mission Integration Manager
    Kennedy Space Center
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the University of California at Berkeley are responsible for the project management of THEMIS. The NASA Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center and the United Launch Alliance are responsible for the launch of the Delta II.

On Friday, media may proceed directly to Astrotech located in the Spaceport Florida Industrial Park, 1515 Chaffee Drive, Titusville. Access at the gate will start at 9:15 a.m. The event will begin at 9:30. The necessary duration is approximately two hours.

For further information, contact the NASA News Center at KSC at 321-867-2468.

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