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February 1, 2010
NASA Sets Solar Dynamics Observatory Launch Coverage Events

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is set to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Feb. 9. There is a one-hour launch window that extends from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. EST. Should the launch be postponed for 24 hours, the launch time on Feb. 10 is 10:26 to 11:26 a.m.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission that will be launched for NASA's Living With a Star program and is designed to understand the causes of solar variability and how space weather results from that variability. SDO will take a closer look at the Sun and help develop the ability to better understand the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere. SDO will perform several measurements that will help characterize the interior of the Sun, the Sun's magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the density of radiation that creates the ionosphere of the planets. By better understanding the Sun and how it works, scientists will be able to better predict and better forecast the "weather out in space" providing earlier warning to protect our aircraft, satellites, and astronauts when working in space.

Prelaunch News Conference

A prelaunch news conference will be held at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Press Site on Monday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. Participating in the briefing will be:

  • Michael Luther
    Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Omar Baez
    NASA Launch Director for SDO
  • Vernon Thorp
    Program Manager, NASA Missions, United Launch Alliance
  • Elizabeth Citrin
    SDO Project Manager
  • Maj. Christopher Lovett
    Launch Weather Officer, USAF 45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

SDO Mission Science Briefing

Following the prelaunch news conference, a mission science briefing will be held beginning at 1:45 p.m. at the NASA News Center at Kennedy Space Center. Participating in the briefing will be:

  • Madhulika Guhathakurta
    NASA Headquarters
  • Dean Pesnell
    SDO Project Scientist
  • Phil Scherrer
    Principal Investigator, Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, Stanford University
  • Alan Title
    Principal Investigator, Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory
  • Tom Woods
    Principal Investigator, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado

Accreditation and Media Access Badges for Kennedy Space Center

Media who want to cover the SDO prelaunch news conference, mission science briefing and the launch must complete the online accreditation process at:


Accreditation for U.S. media must be received by the close of business on Thursday, Feb. 4. Media may obtain their NASA access badge at the Kennedy Space Center Badging Office located near Gate 3 on State Road 405, just past the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Two forms of government issued identification, one with photo, will be required in order to receive an access badge for Kennedy to cover the prelaunch news conference and the launch. The badging office hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. STS-130 mission badges will be honored for this launch. For further information about accreditation, contact Laurel Lichtenberger at 321-867-4036.

Atlas V Launch Vehicle Rollout

Monday, Feb. 8: There will be a media opportunity to observe rollout of the Atlas V rocket from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad. Media should be at Kennedy's Press Site at 7:15 a.m. for transportation by government bus to the viewing location near Launch Complex 41.

Remote Camera Placement at Launch Complex 41

Monday, Feb. 8: Photographers who wish to set up remote sound-activated cameras at the Atlas V launch pad will depart by government bus from the parking lot at the Kennedy Press Site at 2:30 p.m.

Launch Day Press Site Access

Tuesday, Feb. 9: Media will cover the SDO launch from the Kennedy Press Site. Access will be through Gate 2 on State Road 3 or Gate 3 on State Road 405, east of the Kennedy visitor complex beginning at 7 a.m. There will be no access through Gate 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Kennedy News Center Hours

Monday, Feb. 8: 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 9: 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

NASA Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

Extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the liftoff of the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, aboard an Atlas V rocket will be available on NASA's home on the Internet at:


A prelaunch webcast for the mission will be streamed on the Web on Monday, Feb. 8, at 12 p.m. The webcast will feature Elizabeth Citrin, SDO project manager; Dean Pesnell, SDO project scientist; and Rex Engelhardt, mission manager for NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy. Tiffany Nail from the Launch Services Program will host the program.

Live countdown coverage through NASA's Launch Blog begins at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Jeanne Ryba at 321-867-7824.

To view the webcast and the blog or to learn more about the SDO mission, visit the mission home pages at:



The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit:


NASA Television Coverage

On Monday, Feb. 8, NASA Television will carry the SDO prelaunch news conference live beginning at 1 p.m.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 7:30 a.m. and conclude after spacecraft separation from the Atlas V has occurred and the spacecraft solar arrays have deployed one-hour, forty-eight minutes after launch.

SDO coverage will be on NASA TV's "Public Channel" that can be found on satellite AMC-3, transponder 15C, channel 101, located at 87 degrees W.

There will not be a post-launch news conference. A post-launch news release will be issued as soon as the state-of-health of SDO can be determined. Spokespersons will also be available at the Kennedy Press Site to answer questions and for interviews.

For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information and streaming video, visit:


Audio only of the prelaunch press conference and the launch coverage will be carried on the NASA "V" circuits which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220 or -1240 or -1260 or -7135.

On launch day, "mission audio," the launch conductor's countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 starting at 6:30 a.m. Launch will also be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz heard within Brevard County, Fla.

Recorded status reports on the launch of the SDO and updates to the media advisory will be provided on the Kennedy media phoneline starting Saturday, Feb. 6. The telephone number is 321-867-2525.

The launch management of SDO is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy. United Launch Alliance is the launch service provider for the Atlas V. The SDO spacecraft was built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., which also is responsible for project management.


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text-only version of this release

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George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Dwayne C. Brown
Headquarters, Washington

Don Savage
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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