NASA and UA Set Media Events for Phoenix Launch on August 3
Launch of NASA's Phoenix Mars lander is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 3, from Pad 17-A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. There are two instantaneous launch times, 5:35:18 and 6:11:24 a.m. EDT. NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center is responsible for the launch of Phoenix aboard a Delta II rocket. United Launch Alliance is conducting the launch service for NASA. Should the launch be postponed 24 hours for any reason, the launch times are 5:26:31 and 6:02:55 a.m. EDT. For a 48-hour postponement, the launch times are 5:17:23 and 5:53:59 a.m. EDT.
The Phoenix spacecraft will land in the arctic region of Mars and attempt to answer questions such as: Can the Martian arctic support life? What is the history of water at the polar landing site? How is the Martian climate affected by polar seasonal change?
To answer these questions, Phoenix uses some of the most sophisticated and advanced technology ever sent to Mars. A robotic arm on the lander will dig through the soil to the water ice layer underneath, and deliver soil and ice samples to the mission's experiments. On the instrument deck are miniature ovens, a mass spectrometer, an atomic force microscope and a "chemistry lab in a box" to analyze the samples. Imaging systems will provide an unprecedented view of Mars. Also included is a weather station.
Prelaunch Press Conference
A prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA News Center at Kennedy Space Center at 2 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Aug. 1. Participating in the briefing will be:
Doug McCuistion, Director, Mars Exploration Program NASA Headquarters, Washington
Chuck Dovale, NASA Launch Director Kennedy Space Center
Kris Walsh, Director of Delta NASA and Commercial Programs United Launch Alliance, Littleton, Colo.
Barry Goldstein, Phoenix Project Manager Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Ed Sedivy, Phoenix Spacecraft Program Manager Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver
Joel Tumbiolo, U.S. Air Force Delta II Launch Weather Officer 45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Mission Science Briefing
A mission science briefing will immediately follow the prelaunch press conference. Participating will be:
Michael Meyer, Lead Scientist for Mars, NASA Headquarters
Peter Smith, Phoenix Principal Investigator, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
Ray Arvidson, Co-chairman, Phoenix Landing Site Working Group, Washington University, St. Louis
Leslie Tamppari, Phoenix Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
William Boynton, Lead Scientist for Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, UA
Michael Hecht, Lead Scientist for Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
A post-launch release will be issued approximately two hours after launch to confirm that contact has been made with the spacecraft through the Deep Space Network. A post-launch press conference will be held at the NASA-KSC News Center at 11 a.m. EDT to discuss the state of health of Phoenix.
Prelaunch Teleconference with UA Scientists
Reporters are invited to participate in a prelaunch teleconference with UA scientists. The teleconference is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 4:30 p.m. EDT/1:30 p.m. PDT.
To participate in the call, dial 866-759-9876
Pass code: 2830003#
Accreditation and Media Access Badges for KSC
Those who need press accreditation and access badges to the Kennedy Space Center to cover the Phoenix prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing should complete the accreditation process via the Web by going to https://media.ksc.nasa.gov.
All accreditation requests for the Phoenix prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing must be received by the close of business Monday, July 30. Media may obtain NASA access badges at the Pass and Identification Building, the badging station located on State Road 405 just east of U.S. 1. Contact the NASA News Center at 321-867-2468 for further information.
Remote Camera Placement at Complex 17
Thursday, Aug. 2: Photographers who wish to set up remote cameras at the Delta launch complex will be escorted by a NASA representative to Pad 17-A. Departure by vehicle convoy will be at 8:45 a.m. from the Space Florida parking lot located on Poseidon Avenue adjacent to Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Tower Rollback Photo Opportunity at Complex 17
Thursday, Aug. 2: There will be an opportunity to observe rollback of the mobile service tower from around the Phoenix/Delta II launch vehicle at Pad 17-A. Media should report at 7:45 p.m. to the Space Florida parking lot located on Poseidon Avenue adjacent to Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required. Transportation by government bus will be provided to Launch Complex 17. Media are requested to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.
Launch Day Press Site Access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Friday, Aug. 3: Media covering the Phoenix launch will be able to obtain press access badges beginning at 4 a.m. at the Space Florida parking lot outside Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required to obtain an access badge. A driver's license alone will not be sufficient. However, additional identification will not be required for those who present a pre-issued NASA accreditation badge for Phoenix or a valid permanent NASA-KSC picture badge.
To reach the Space Florida parking lot, after passing the Pass and Identification Building outside Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, turn right at the traffic light at the intersection of S.R. 401 and Poseidon Avenue. Make an immediate left turn at the Navaho display. Departure in a vehicle caravan from Space Florida to Press Site 1 will be at 4:15 a.m. Access badges cannot be issued after that time.
NASA News Center Hours for Launch
The NASA News Center at KSC will open for Phoenix news operations starting Monday, July 30, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On launch day, Friday, Aug. 3, the news center will open by one hour after launch in preparation for the restart of the Delta II second stage, the third stage burn and spacecraft separation.
Starting Monday, July 30, status reports on the launch of Phoenix and updates to the Media Advisory will be recorded on the KSC news media codaphone at 321-867-2525.
NASA Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage
NASA's home on the Internet, http://www.nasa.gov, will provide extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the Phoenix mission.
A prelaunch webcast is set for Aug. 2 at 11:30 a.m. EDT on NASA Direct, Kennedy's Internet broadcasting network. The program will feature a behind-the-scenes look at how the Phoenix spacecraft and Delta II launch vehicle were prepared for liftoff, as well as answer science questions about the mission's goals.
Live countdown coverage from NASA's Launch Blog begins at 3:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 3. Coverage will feature real-time updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff.
To access other interactive features, go to NASA's Phoenix main page at http://www.nasa.gov/phoenix and follow the links provided in the right column. For more information about Phoenix mission online events, contact Jeanne Ryba at 321-867-7824.
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, television coverage of the Phoenix prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing at KSC will begin at 2 p.m. EDT. Two-way question and answer capability will be available from other NASA field centers. On Friday, Aug. 3, television coverage of the launch will begin at 3:30 a.m. EDT and conclude after spacecraft separation from the Delta II rocket, which occurs 84 minutes after launch. The broadcast network HDNet will also carry the launch in high-definition television format from 5:20 to 6 a.m. EDT. For more information, visit http://www.hd.net or check local listings.
Audio of the prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing will be carried on the NASA "V" circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1260 or 321-867-7135 beginning at 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 1. On launch day, Aug. 3, "Mission Audio," countdown activities without NASA launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 beginning at 2:30 a.m. EDT. Audio of the NASA launch commentary will begin at 3:30 a.m. EDT and will be available on 321-867-1220, 1240, 1260. It will also be available locally on amateur radio frequency 146.940 MHz (VHF) or 442.6 MHz (UHF).
For information on receiving NASA Television, go to: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/digital.html.
“Phoenix Mars Madness” Event at Pima Air and Space Museum
”Phoenix Mars Madness,” an educational family event open to the Tucson community, is planned at the Pima Air and Space Museum on Saturday, Aug. 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “Phoenix Mars Madness” will feature several interactive booths highlighting space, including solar viewing, a portable night sky unit, activities by the Pima Air and Space Museum and the Tucson Children’s Museum Zoom Zone. Scale models of the Phoenix Mars Lander and Mars Odyssey Mission will be on display, and there will be a live question and answer session with a UA scientist from the launch site in Florida. Visitors can make a donation for entry into the Pima Air and Space Museum with a copy of the Martian Cat logo, available online at http://www.uatechpark.org.
Sara Hammond | University of Arizona