Saturday, June 6, 2009

NASA LRO-LCROSS launch schedule

NASA has announced the latest events calendar on tap for the up-coming, long-anticipated launch of an Atlas V carrying the first two robotic missions to the Moon since that of the mighty midget Lunar Prospector in 1998. Aside from that and Clementine in 1994 (primarily a DOD mission testing remote sensing, missile defense technologies) no direct exploration of the Moon has been sponsored by the United States since Apollo 17 in December 1972.

It's been a long, dry spell indeed.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) are set to be launched together to the Moon atop an Atlas V booster June 17.

Three launch opportunities from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Patrick Air Force Base are at 3:51 p.m., 4:01 p.m. and 4:11 p.m. EDT.

NASA TV coverage begin at 1 p.m. EDT.

If the launch is postponed 24 hours, launch times on June 18 are 5:12 p.m., 5:22 p.m. and 5:32 p.m.

"LRO's objectives during its mission orbiting the moon are to identify safe landing sites, locate potential resources, characterize the radiation environment, and demonstrate new technology. LRO will orbit the poles of the moon during a one-year exploration mission followed by a planned multi-year science mission."

"Approximately four to five months after launch, LCROSS will impact the moon, providing key information about the lunar composition and presence of water ice or hydrated minerals."

Prelaunch news conference

A prelaunch news conference on Monday, June 15, at 1 p.m. will be held at the news center at NASA Kennedy Space Center, broadcast live on NASA TV. Participants will be:

- Todd May, program manager, Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, NASA Marshall

- Chuck Dovale, NASA launch director, KSC

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

- Craig Tooley, LRO project manager, NASA Goddard

- Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project manager, NASA Ames

- Clay Flinn, Atlas V launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral AFS

LRO and LCROSS mission science briefing

A mission science briefing on Tuesday, June 16, at 1 p.m. will be held at KSC news center, broadcast live on NASA TV. Participants will be:

- Mike Wargo, chief lunar scientist, Exploration Science Mission Directorate, NASA HQ

- Rich Vondrak, project scientist, LRO, NASA Goddard

- Tony Colaprete, project scientist, LCROSS, NASA Ames

Accreditation and media access badges for Kennedy Space Center

To cover the LRO/LCROSS prelaunch news conference, mission briefing and launch media must complete the online accreditation process, HERE

Accreditation for U.S. media representatives must be received by Close of Business on Wednesday, June 10. Journalists may obtain their NASA access badge at the Kennedy Badging Office, located near Gate 3 on State Road 405, just past the KSC Visitor Complex. Two forms of government issued identification, one with a photo, will be required to receive an access badge.

For further information about accreditation, contact Laurel Lichtenberger at (321) 867-4036.

Kennedy news center hours: Monday, June 15: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, June 16: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, June 17: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Atlas V launch vehicle Roll Out

On Tuesday, June 16, reporters will have the opportunity to view Roll Out of the Atlas V stack from the Vertical Integration Facility to launch pad Complex 41. Journalists will depart by bus from the Kennedy press site at 9 a.m.

Remote camera placement at Launch Complex 41

On Wednesday, June 17, photographers who wish to set up remote, sound-activated cameras at the Atlas V launch pad will depart by bus from the parking lot at the Kennedy press site at 8:30 a.m.

Launch day press site access

On launch day, reporters will cover the LRO/LCROSS launch from the Kennedy press site. Access will be through Gate 2 on State Road 3 or Gate 3 on State Road 405. There will be no access through Gate 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

NASA Web prelaunch and launch coverage

Extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of Lift Off of LRO/LCROSS aboard their Atlas V booster will be available on NASA's home on the Internet, HERE.

"A prelaunch webcast for the two missions to the moon will be streamed on the Web at noon on Tuesday, June 16 and broadcast on NASA TV. The webcast will feature Cathy Peddie, deputy project manager for LRO at Goddard; Kimberly Ennico, payload scientist for LCROSS at Ames; and Chuck Tatro, mission manager for NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy. George Diller of NASA Public Affairs will host the program."

"Live countdown coverage through NASA's launch blog begins at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 17. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Jeanne Ryba at (321) 867-7824."

To view the webcast and the blog or to learn more about the LRO and LCROSS missions, visit the mission home pages at: &

"The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown and during spacecraft checkout. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit:"

NASA TV coverage

"NASA Television will carry the LRO & LCROSS prelaunch news conference, mission science briefing and launch. Launch day coverage will begin at 1 p.m. and conclude approximately one hour after launch. There will not be a post-launch news conference."

For NASA Television information, visit HERE:

"A postlaunch news release will be issued approximately one hour after launch or as soon as data about the LRO spacecraft state-of-health is available. An additional news release will be issued after the Centaur has been turned over to LCROSS for mission operations, which occurs approximately four and a half hours after launch. Spokespersons also will be available at the Kennedy press site to answer questions and for interviews."

"Audio-only of the prelaunch news conference and launch coverage will be available by dialing (321)867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, mission audio of the launch conductor's countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on (321) 867-7135 starting at noon."

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

"Recorded status reports about the launch of the LRO and LCROSS spacecraft and updates to the media advisory will be provided on the Kennedy media phone line at (321) 867-2525 starting Monday, June 15."

"The launch management of LRO and LCROSS is the responsibility of the Launch Services Program at Kennedy. United Launch Alliance is the launch service provider for the Atlas V. Goddard built and provides project management for the LRO spacecraft. Northrop Grumman built the LCROSS spacecraft for Ames, which also is responsible for its project management."