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NASA Sets GRAIL/DELTA II Launch Coverage Events
GRAIL artist's rendition Using a precision formation-flying technique, the twin GRAIL spacecraft will map the moon's gravity field, as depicted in this artist's rendering. detail. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA's GRAIL spacecraft is set to launch to the moon aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket on Sept. 8, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. There are two instantaneous (one-second) launch windows at 8:37:06 a.m. and 9:16:12 a.m. EDT (5:37:06 a.m. and 6:16:12 a.m. PDT). The launch period extends through Oct. 19. The launch times occur approximately 4 minutes earlier each day.

GRAIL's primary science objectives are to determine the structure of the lunar interior, from crust to core, and to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon.

GRAIL Prelaunch News Conference

A prelaunch news conference will be held at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Press Site on Sept. 6, at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT). Participating in the briefing will be:

Ed Weiler, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate
NASA Headquarters, Washington

Tim Dunn, NASA launch director
NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Vernon Thorp, program manager, NASA Missions
United Launch Alliance, Denver

David Lehman, GRAIL project manager
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif

John Henk, GRAIL program manager
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver

Joel Tumbiolo, launch weather officer
45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

GRAIL Mission Science Briefing

A GRAIL mission science briefing will be held at Kennedy's Press Site on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. EDT (7 a.m. PDT). Participating in the briefing will be:

Robert Fogel, GRAIL program scientist
NASA Headquarters, Washington

Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

Sami Asmar, GRAIL deputy project scientist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Leesa Hubbard, teacher in residence
Sally Ride Science, San Diego

A post-launch news conference will be held at Kennedy's Press Site at a time to be determined after launch.

NASA Television Coverage

NASA Television will carry the GRAIL prelaunch news conference beginning at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT) on Sept. 6 and the GRAIL mission science briefing on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. EDT (7 a.m. PDT).

On Sept. 8, NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 6 a.m. EDT (3 a.m. PDT) and conclude after spacecraft separation from the Delta II has occurred about one hour after launch. Live launch coverage will be carried on all NASA Television channels and on the agency's website.

A post-launch news conference will be held at Kennedy's Press Site at a time to be determined after launch.

For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information and streaming video, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv .

Launch will also be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz heard within Brevard County.

NASA Web prelaunch and launch coverage

Extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the liftoff of the GRAIL spacecraft aboard the Delta II rocket will be available on NASA's home page on the Internet at: http://www.nasa.gov .

A prelaunch webcast for the GRAIL mission will be streamed on the Web on Sept. 7, at noon. Live countdown coverage through NASA's Launch Blog begins at 6:30 a.m. EDT (3:30 a.m. PDT) on Sept. 8. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff.

To view the webcast and the blog or to learn more about the GRAIL mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/grail or http://grail.nasa.gov .

The news conferences and launch coverage will be streamed live, with a chat available, at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 .


The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit: http://www.twitter.com/nasa .

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL mission for the principal investigator, Maria Zuber, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. The GRAIL mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Launch management for the mission is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington

George H. Diller 321-867-2468
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.