NASA’s Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) and CloudSat satellites are set to launch aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket at 3:02 a.m. PDT on Friday, April 21, from NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The launch window is instantaneous. The CALIPSO satellite will separate from the Delta II at 62 minutes after liftoff, followed by CloudSat at 96 minutes after launch.

Together, CALIPSO and CloudSat will provide new perspectives on Earth’s clouds and aerosols, answering questions about how they form, evolve and affect water supply, climate, weather and air quality. They will be launched into an orbit where they will fly just 15 seconds apart as members of NASA’s “A-Train,” a constellation of several Earth-observing satellites.


News media desiring accreditation for the launch of CALIPSO/CloudSat should fax their requests on news organization letterhead to:

Staff Sgt. Allen Puckett
30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Telephone: 805/606-3595

FAX: 805/606-8303


CALIPSO/CloudSat will be NASA’s first countdown and launch at Vandenberg to be managed from the recently completed Mission Director’s Center and the associated Launch Vehicle Data Center. This new facility replaces the previous Mission Director’s Center, in use since 1964. After the ribbon-cutting, media will be toured through the new launch countdown and flight data facilities. Opportunities for interviews will be available. Media wishing to attend the ribbon-cutting and tour should meet at the Vandenberg south gate on California S.R. 246 at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 19, to be escorted to the event.


A prelaunch news conference will be held at 1 p.m. PDT on April 19 in the main conference room of the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office, Building 840, at Vandenberg. Participants will be:

Chuck Dovale, NASA Launch Manager
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Kris Walsh, Boeing Director of NASA Programs
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Kevin Brown, CALIPSO Project Manager
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

Tom Livermore, CloudSat Project Manager
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

1st Lt. Lee Barnhill, Launch Weather Officer, 30th Weather Squadron
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.


Immediately following the prelaunch news conference, a CALIPSO/CloudSat Mission Science Briefing will be held. Participants will be:

Hal Maring, CALIPSO/CloudSat Program Scientist
NASA Headquarters, Washington

David Winker, CALIPSO Principal Investigator
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

Graeme Stephens, CloudSat Principal Investigator
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.

David Hudak, Research Scientist
Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada

Jacques Pelon, CALIPSO Co-Principal Investigator
Institute Pierre Simon Laplace, France

Question-and-answer capability will be available from participating NASA centers. To ask questions from other than a NASA center location, media may call the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at 818/354-5011 to receive the call-in number and pass code to ask questions by telephone.

Media desiring to cover the prelaunch news conference should meet at the south gate of Vandenberg on California S.R. 246 at 12:30 p.m. on April 19. They will be escorted by 30th Space Wing Public Affairs representatives to the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office.


April 20: Media desiring to establish sound-activated remote cameras at the launch pad should meet at the pass and identification building located at the main gate of Vandenberg on California S.R. 1. Departure for SLC-2 is planned to occur at 9 a.m.


April 20: There will be an opportunity to observe rollback of the mobile service tower from around the CALIPSO/CloudSat/Delta II launch vehicle at SLC-2. Media will depart by Air Force van from the Vandenberg main gate on California S.R. 1 at 5 p.m. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required for access. A driver’s license alone will not be sufficient.


April 21: Media covering the CALIPSO/CloudSat/Delta II launch should meet at 2 a.m. at the Vandenberg main gate located on California S.R. 1 to be escorted to the press site located on north Vandenberg. After launch, media will be escorted back to the gate. A post-launch news conference will not be held. However, media interested in speaking with launch officials will be escorted to the NASA Mission Director’s Center for an interview opportunity after CALIPSO/CloudSat spacecraft separation from the Delta II has occurred.


NASA Television will carry the prelaunch news conference starting at 1 p.m. PDT on April 19. On launch day, April 21, NASA TV coverage of the countdown will begin at 1 a.m. PDT and conclude after both spacecraft have separated from the Delta II.

In the continental United States, NASA Television is on AMC-6, Transponder 17C located at 72 degrees West longitude (4040.0 MHz video, 6.8 MHz audio, MPEG-2 digital signal). In Alaska and Hawaii, all CALIPSO/CloudSat events will be on AMC-7 Transponder 18, located at 137 degrees West longitude (4060.0 MHz video, 6.8 MHz audio).

To monitor audio of the prelaunch news conference and the launch coverage, dial the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed directly at 321/867-1220…1240…1260…7135. This system is not two-way interactive.

NASA Television launch coverage will be webcast at:


NASA Direct, Kennedy Space Center’s Internet broadcasting network, is featuring a prelaunch webcast of the CALIPSO and CloudSat missions. All online launch and mission coverage can be viewed through the NASA portal Web site at:


Web coverage begins with a prelaunch webcast offering an overview of the CALIPSO and CloudSat missions at 4:30 p.m. PDT (7:30 p.m. EDT) on April 19. The program includes informative interviews with representatives from NASA’s Langley Research Center and Colorado State University. Experts will also take part in a question-and-answer session discussing the goals of the mission, as well as science and technology involved in CALIPSO and CloudSat. Participants will be:

Jim Kennedy
Kennedy Space Center Director

Darren Bedell
NASA Chief Engineer

Chuck Dovale
NASA Launch Manager

David Winker
CALIPSO Principal Investigator

Graeme Stephens
CloudSat Principal Investigator

Tiffany Nail, KSC’s launch services specialist, hosts the program.

Live launch day coverage from the Virtual Launch Control Center starts at 4:30 a.m. EDT on April 21, offering continuous updates throughout the launch countdown.

For more information about the CALIPSO and CloudSat online events, contact Dennis Armstrong at 321/867-4493.


The CALIPSO/CloudSat News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office will be staffed beginning Monday, April 17, and may be reached at 805/605-3051. A recorded status report will also be available starting at that time by dialing 805/734-2693.