CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-O, or GOES-O, that will be launched into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket in late April, will be the focus of a media opportunity on Friday, March 20. The event will start promptly at 9:30 a.m. EDT at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Fla.

The event will include an opportunity to photograph GOES-O and interview project officials from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, and Boeing Satellite Systems. Media may proceed directly to Astrotech located in the Spaceport Florida Industrial Park, 1515 Chaffee Drive, Titusville at 9:15 a.m. Due to the amount of time needed for accreditation for foreign nationals, international media will not be able to attend this event.

GOES-O, which becomes GOES-14 when it reaches orbit, is the second of three new geostationary weather and environmental satellites built for NASA by Boeing Satellite Systems. GOES-N was launched in 2006, GOES-O is to be launched this year, and GOES-P is currently planned for launch in 2010.

Procedures for optically sensitive spacecraft must be followed for individuals entering the cleanroom at Astrotech where the spacecraft is being processed.

Guidelines for controlled access to the cleanroom have been developed by quality control personnel and will be monitored prior to entering the facility. Cleanroom attire will be furnished. Photographers may be requested to clean cameras or accessories using alcohol wipes which will be provided.

Electronic flash and wireless microphones will be permitted. However, cell phones may not be taken into the cleanroom.

Long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn — no shorts or skirts. Non-essential equipment, such as camera bags or other carrying cases, should be left outside the cleanroom. No pencils or felt-tipped pens can be permitted inside the cleanroom; only ball-point pens may be used.

GOES-O will feature a highly stable pointing platform, which will improve the performance of the Imager and Sounder that are important instruments for creating daily weather-prediction models and for hurricane forecasting. For NOAA’s National Ocean Service, data from GOES-O will be valuable for oceanographic circulation models and forecasts for U.S. coastal communities. It also will provide expanded capability for the space and solar environment-monitoring instruments. Forecasts and warnings for solar disturbances will be enhanced. This will protect investments of billions of dollars by the private sector and the government for assets on the ground and in space.

As with all of NOAA’s geostationary and polar-orbiting weather satellites, GOES-O will also be able to relay distress signals detected from emergency locator beacons on the ground and at sea.

The Delta IV rocket will be launched by United Launch Alliance and is now being prepared for liftoff at Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch is currently scheduled to occur on April 28 at the opening of a 60-minute launch window that occurs between 6:24 – 7:24 p.m. EDT.

Boeing’s GOES-O contract with NASA calls for a “delivery on orbit” and will be a commercial launch under an FAA commercial license. The satellite will be turned over to NASA after a successful checkout has been completed by Boeing Satellite Systems. Approximately six months after completion of post-launch testing, the spacecraft will be turned over to NOAA. The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is responsible for designing and developing the spacecraft and its instruments.

For more information about GOES-O, visit: