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Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1547)

Jane Platt
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
(Phone: 818/354-0880)

December 15, 2003
NASA Announces New Name, New Pictures For Space Telescope
The first colorful and revealing cosmic images from NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) will be unveiled at a news conference Thursday, Dec. 18. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe will also announce a new name for the observatory.

The event begins at 1 p.m. EST in NASA's James Webb Auditorium, 300 E St. S.W., Washington. At 1:30 p.m. EST, new images from the orbiting observatory will be released at a press briefing featuring a panel whose members will discuss the telescope's early observations. Both events will be carried live on NASA Television, with two-way question-and-answer capability from participating NASA centers.

SIRTF, launched August 25, 2003, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., uses state-of-the-art infrared detectors to pierce the dusty darkness enshrouding such celestial objects as galaxies, stars and planet-forming discs around stars. It is the fourth of NASA's Great Observatories, which include the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

The new name for the mission was selected after a naming contest that drew 7,000 entries from around the world.

Participants in the 1 p.m. naming event:

- Sean O'Keefe, NASA Administrator
- Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science

Participants in the 1:30 p.m. press briefing:

- Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science
- Dr. Michael Werner, project scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
- Dr. John Norris Bahcall, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.
- Dr. Giovanni Fazio, principal investigator for the infrared-array camera science instrument, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.
- Dr. James Houck, principal investigator for the infrared-spectrograph science instrument, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
- Dr. George Rieke, principal investigator for the multiband-imaging photometer science instrument, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

NASA Television is available on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. Reporters who would like to listen to events' audio should call: 818/354-6666. Additional listen-only service is available by calling: 321/867-1220/1240/1260.

The briefing will be webcast live and archived for later viewing at:

For more information about SIRTF on the Internet, visit:

SIRTF is part of NASA's Origins program, which seeks to answer the questions: Where did we come from? Are we alone? NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the SIRTF Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more information about NASA on the Internet, visit:


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