Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

July 26, 2011
News Media Invited To MILA Tracking Station Closure Ceremony
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Media are invited to a closing ceremony on Thursday, July 28, at 10:30 a.m. EDT to recognize 45 years of service by the Merritt Island Launch Annex (MILA) Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network Station at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Senior officials from Kennedy, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Headquarters will be participating, including many current and past employees of the MILA tracking station. The facilities at MILA will be open as part of the event.

With the final launch and landing of the Space Shuttle Program this month, the MILA Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network Station at Kennedy is closing. This historic tracking station was commissioned for the Apollo Program and also provided orbital support for low earth-orbiting scientific satellites. The first launch it supported was the Apollo/Saturn 203 test flight on July 5, 1966, from Launch Complex 37.

Media participating in the Thursday event will depart from the Kennedy Press Site in government vehicles for the MILA tracking station at 9:45 a.m.

U.S. media without Kennedy credentials need to apply via the online accreditation website at:

Applications for media accreditation must be received by noon on Wednesday. Accreditation for international journalists is closed. Media may obtain their NASA badges 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 to cover the event. The badging office hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. For further information about accreditation, contact Laurel Lichtenberger at 321-867-4036.

The station was originally established by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center as one of 17 Space Flight Tracking and Data Network stations around the world. In recent history, the station has been used almost exclusively for space shuttle launch and landing support. Many other global network ground stations were able to be phased out with the beginning of a new era using space-based tracking and the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) system.

Its two signature 30-foot steerable S-band antennas together with a pair of UHF antennas have been the primary source of voice, data and telemetry for the space shuttle during the first 7 1/2 minutes of flight, and later provided the communications for landing beginning 13 minutes before touchdown.

For more information about the MILA tracking station, visit:

For more information about NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit:


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