NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is set to lift off at 10:44 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 12 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. There is a 30-minute window for the launch.
NASA Television launch coverage begins at 8 p.m. NASA TV will also air a prelaunch news conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 and a mission science briefing at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, and a NASA Social at 3 p.m. on March 12, all originating from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
MMS will study magnetic reconnection, a fundamental process that occurs throughout the universe when magnetic fields connect and disconnect explosively, releasing energy and accelerating particles up to nearly the speed of light. Unlike previous missions that have observed only evidence of magnetic reconnection events, MMS has sufficient resolution to observe and measure reconnection events as they occur. While MMS will fly through reconnection regions in less than a second, key sensors on each spacecraft are able to capture measurements 100 times faster than any previous mission. In addition, MMS consists of four identical observatories, which together will provide the first ever three-dimensional view of magnetic reconnection.
The mission observes reconnection directly in Earth’s protective magnetic space environment known as the magnetosphere. By studying reconnection in this local, natural laboratory, MMS helps scientists understand reconnection elsewhere, such as in the atmosphere of the sun and other stars, in the vicinity of black holes and neutron stars and at the boundary between our solar system’s heliosphere and interstellar space.
Media who want to attend the MMS prelaunch events, including the launch pad photo opportunity, prelaunch news conferences and the launch must apply for credentials at:
U.S. media accreditation requests must be received by noon on Thursday, March 5.
The deadline for accreditation requests by foreign media has passed.
All registered media must present two forms of unexpired government-issued identification to access Kennedy. One form must be a photo identification, such as a passport or driver’s license. For more information about media accreditation, contact Jennifer Horner at 321-867-6598 or 321-867-2468 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prelaunch News Conference
A prelaunch news conference on NASA TV will be held at Kennedy’s Press Site at 1 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, March 10.
Briefing participants are:
Geoffrey Yoder, deputy associate administrator
NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington
Omar Baez, NASA launch manager
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Vernon Thorp, program manager, NASA Missions
United Launch Alliance, Centennial, Colorado
Craig Tooley, NASA MMS project manager
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Jim Burch, principal investigator
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas
Clay Flinn, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Mission Science Briefing
An MMS mission science briefing on NASA TV will be held at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Press Site at 1 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 11.
Briefing participants are:
Jeff Newmark, interim director, Heliophysics Division
NASA Headquarters, Washington
Jim Burch, principal investigator, MMS instrument suite science team
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio
Roy Torbert, MMS FIELDS investigation lead
University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
Craig Pollock, lead co-investigator, MMS Fast Plasma Investigation
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Paul Cassak, associate professor
West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
For the prelaunch news conference and the mission science briefing, media may ask questions via a phone bridge by calling the Kennedy newsroom no more than 15 minutes before the briefings begin at 321-867-2468. Media also may post questions during the briefings via Twitter by using the hashtag #askNASA.
On launch day, March 12, a NASA Social will be held in the Kennedy Press Site Auditorium from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. News media are invited to attend. The event also will be carried live on NASA Television.
Press Accreditation Office Hours of Operation
The Press Accreditation Office located on State Road 3, Merritt Island, will be open to pick up media credentials at the following times:
Tuesday, March 10: noon – 3 p.m.
Wednesday, March 11: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 12: 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. – 9:45 p.m.
Atlas V Launch Vehicle Rollout
Wednesday, March 11: 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 9 a.m. for transportation to the viewing location near Space Launch Complex 41. Media will be returned to the Press Site by noon.
Remote Camera Placement at Space Launch Complex 41
On Wednesday, March 11, photographers who wish to set up remote sound-activated cameras at the Atlas V launch pad will be transported to Space Launch Complex 41. Media should meet in the Kennedy Press Site parking lot at 2:15 p.m. Only photographers establishing remote cameras may go to the pad for this opportunity. Media will be returned to the Press Site by 5:30 p.m.Launch Day Press Site Access
On Thursday, March 12, media will cover the MMS launch from Kennedy’s Press Site. Media also may cover the launch from the ITL Causeway, a location on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. However, there is no power or other facilities there. News media access to Kennedy Space Center for launch will be through Gate 3 on State Road 405, east of Kennedy’s visitor complex, and through Gate 2 on State Road 3 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.Kennedy News Center Hours
Tuesday, March 10: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 11: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 12: 8 a.m. – 1 a.m. Friday
NASA Television Coverage
On Tuesday, March 10, NASA Television will carry the MMS prelaunch news conference at 1 p.m. EDT. On Wednesday, March 11, NASA Television will carry the MMS mission science briefing at 1 p.m. EDT.
On Thursday, March 12, NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 8 p.m. and conclude after the MMS spacecraft deployments from the Atlas V are complete, which occurs one hour, forty-seven minutes after launch.
A post-launch news conference will not be held. A post-launch news release will be issued about two hours after launch once the state-of-health of each of the four MMS spacecraft are known. Spokespersons also will be available at the Press Site to answer questions.
For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information and video, visit:
All of the briefings will be carried live on NASA Television. Call-in questions also will be taken by dialing 321-867-2468 no later than 15 minutes before the start of each briefing to establish a position in the queue.
Audio only of the press conferences 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 7 p.m. Launch also will 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 MMS spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket will be available on NASA's home page at:
The MMS prelaunch news conference and the mission science briefing will be carried live on the web. A prelaunch webcast for the MMS mission will be available on NASA’s YouTube channel and NASA’s website on Wednesday, March 11. Live countdown coverage through NASA's Launch Blog begins at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 12. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Nancy Bray at 321-867-9112. For NASA’s Launch Blog, visit:
To view the webcast or to learn more about the MMS mission, visit:
Join the conversation and follow the MMS mission online by using #MMS on Twitter and Facebook at:
Throughout the launch countdown, the NASA Kennedy Twitter and Facebook accounts will be continuously updated throughout the launch countdown at:
Recorded status reports and updates to the media advisory on the MMS launch will be provided through the Kennedy media phone line starting Monday, March 9. The telephone number is 321-867-2525.
Wireless capability for news media is available at Kennedy’s Press Site.
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington is responsible for the MMS mission. The MMS spacecraft project is managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy is responsible for launch management. United Launch Alliance is the provider of the Atlas V launch service.