Comcast and Discovery Channel are
giving 100 middle-school students from Wilde Lake Middle School in Howard
County, Benjamin Banneker Middle School in Montgomery County and Drew Freeman
Middle School in Prince George’s County the opportunity to study an actual
space mission and hold a press conference with the scientists who designed it
as part of the Comcast/Discovery Space Academy.
The press conference and
space program orientation will take place on Wednesday, November 29, 2000, at
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Mission TIMED will give local students the opportunity to interact with
world-renowned space scientists, and also be given a special,
behind-the-scenes tour of APL’s space facilities.
This Applied Physics
Laboratory is not open to the general public, and only authorized personnel
are normally allowed to view the technology that will be on display for these
Students may continue their study of TIMED by following the
mission’s progress after a February/March 2001 launch via the mission web site

Students will receive Mission TIMED packets in their classes one month
prior to the program at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physic
These will serve to familiarize the students with the Mission and
the scientists who they will meet and participate in a press conference with
concerning Mission TIMED.

This Space Academy event will feature interaction between the middle
school students and scientists, as well as engineers from NASA, The Applied
Physics Lab and other organizations participating in the TIMED Mission.
program will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a special briefing given by the TIMED
team members who designed and built the TIMED spacecraft, and will monitor its
progress and data transmissions after launch.
Following the briefing,
students will be given the chance to ask questions in a press conference
format to help them better understand the dynamics of the TIMED Mission.

The press conference is where students will be given the opportunity to
show what they have learned about the Mission in their science classes, and
they will ask questions of the space professionals who designed, built and
will manage the TIMED Mission for NASA.
It is a very impressive sight to see
middle-school students ask insightful questions of these world-renowned
Their questions sound like those of trained, professional
journalists, but they are actually students who have done a tremendous amount
of research about the Mission and have legitimate questions to ask the
professionals at the APL.

Following the student press conference, participants will dress in special
Comcast/Discovery Channel Space Academy white suits for a special,
behind-the-scenes tour of APL’s space facilities during an “Exploration
Station” journey.
Lab staff members will walk the students through
educational stations that include the TIMED Mission Operations Center,
spacecraft test and design rooms, as well as a satellite communications
Students will also be among the first in the nation to get a
glimpse of the TIMED spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch in 2001.

“The Comcast/Discovery Space Academy is an outstanding program that
demonstrates the importance of science and space exploration to young people,”
said Jaye Gamble, Regional Vice President for Comcast’s Washington
Metro/Virginia Region.
“It is designed to give students the opportunity to
see first-hand how the topics they study impact the real world.
This program
shows them that science materials covered in their classes build the
foundation necessary to achieve greater successes like engineering the TIMED
spacecraft,” added Gamble.

“Discovery Channel is proud to partner with Comcast and The Johns Hopkins
Applied Physics Lab to bring the Space Academy program to another group of
intelligent, motivated youngsters,” said Lori McFarling, Senior Vice President
of Affiliate Marketing, Discovery Networks, U.S.
“We stress education through
interactive programs at Discovery Networks, and programs like Mission TIMED
are a great way to educate students about the importance of space exploration
by allowing them to meet the scientists who build spacecraft, and take a tour
of a private, NASA facility,” added McFarling.

Comcast/Discovery Space Academy: Mission TIMED is an educational program
based on the TIMED (Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere, Energetics and
Dynamics) spacecraft.
The TIMED spacecraft will study the influences of the
sun and humans on one of the least explored and understood regions of Earth’s
atmosphere — the mesosphere and lower thermosphere/ionosphere.
This region
serves as a gateway between Earth’s environment and space.
TIMED will study
how energy is transferred into and out of this atmospheric region, as well as
its basic structure.

The TIMED Mission is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, The
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory designed and built the
spacecraft, and will control it after its launch from Vandeberg Air Force
Base, California, in spring 2001.

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit laboratory and division
of The Johns Hopkins University, conducts research and development primarily
for national security and for nondefense projects of national and global
APL is located on Johns Hopkins Road, one-half mile west of
U.S. Route 29 in Laurel, Md.
Directions to the campus are available on APL’s
Web site ( and from TIMED’s
online newsroom (

Discovery Networks, U.S., a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc., owns
and operates Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery
Health Channel, Discovery People, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Science
Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, and Discovery en Espanol.
The unit also
markets and distributes BBC America.

Comcast Cable serves more than 1.5 million customers in Maryland, Delaware
and Virginia.
Comcast, whose Mid-Atlantic Division offices are located in
White Marsh, Maryland, employs nearly 2,500 people in the Mid-Atlantic
Division in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable is a division of Comcast
Corporation (, a developer, manager and operator of broadband
cable networks and provider of programming content.
Comcast Cable is the
third largest cable company in the United States.
Providing basic cable,
digital cable and high-speed Internet services, Comcast Cable is the company
to look to first for the communications products and services that connect
people to what’s important in their lives.
Incorporating pending cable
transactions, the company’s more than 10,000 cable division employees will
serve more than 8.2 million customers in six geographic regions.