The launch of the GOES-M weather satellite for NASA and the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas
IIA rocket (AC-142) is scheduled for Sunday, July 15. Liftoff is targeted
for the opening of a launch window that extends from 2:59 – 4:24 a.m. EDT, a
duration of one hour and 25 minutes. Launch will occur from Pad A at
Complex 36 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

GOES-M is the fifth and last spacecraft to be launched in the
current advanced series of geostationary weather satellites for NOAA,
however, it is the first to have a Solar X-ray Imager. The spacecraft is a
three-axis internally stabilized weather satellite that has the dual
capability of providing pictures while performing atmospheric sounding at
the same time. Once in orbit the spacecraft will be designated GOES-12.

The new Solar X-ray Imager is a solar storm detection instrument. It will
take a full-disk image of the sun’s atmosphere once every minute. The
images will be used to monitor and forecast the sources of space weather
disturbances from the sun. This will enable forecasters to predict
disturbances to Earth’s space environment that can fry satellite
electronics, disrupt satellite, navigation and radio signals, and create
surges in power grids. This will also benefit astronauts, high-altitude
pilots and scientists.

NASA/NOAA Pre-launch Press Conference

The pre-launch press conference will be held at the NASA-KSC News
Center on Friday, July 13 at 1 p.m. EDT. Participating in the briefing will

  • Gerry Dittberner, GOES program manager, NOAA
  • Chuck Dovale, NASA launch director, Kennedy Space Center
  • Adrian Laffitte, director, Atlas Launch Operations, Lockheed Martin
  • Marty Davis, GOES project manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Jerry Zwirn, GOES program executive director, Space Systems/LORAL
  • Steve Hill, lead, Solar X-ray Imager, NOAA Space Environment Center
  • James Sardonia, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron, USAF

No post-launch news conference is planned.

Press Coverage

There will be a tower-rollback photo opportunity for the news media. Press
representatives should be at the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building on
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located on State Road 401 at 11:30 p.m.,
July 14. Departure for Launch Complex 36 will be promptly at 11:45 p.m.

Media only covering launch should assemble at the Gate 1 Pass and
Identification Building at 1:30 a.m., Sunday, July 15. The convoy to Press
Site 1 will depart at 1:45 a.m.

Media who wish to cover the pre-launch press conference and the
launch of GOES-M should send a letter of request on news organization
letterhead. Include the full names, Social Security numbers and birth dates
of those desiring accreditation. Letters should be faxed to 321/867-2692 or
may be addressed to:

GOES-M Launch Accreditation


Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

GOES-M/AC-142 mission badges may be picked up at the NASA-KSC News Center
beginning on Wednesday, July 11. Badges may also be obtained on launch day,
Sunday, July 15 at the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building starting at
1:30 a.m. All media are required to have a GOES-M mission badge to cover the
launch. STS-104 mission badges will not be valid.

Remote Camera Placement

On Saturday, July 14 at 9:30 a.m., a van will depart from the
NASA-KSC News Center for Complex 36 for media photographers to establish
remote cameras at the pad. There will be no access or transportation from
Gate 1 for remote camera set-ups.

Television Coverage

NASA Television will carry live the GOES-M/AC-142 pre-launch press
conference on Friday, July 13 at 1:00 p.m. The press conference will allow
two-way question and answer from other NASA field centers.

A complete GOES-M video package will be broadcast during the NASA TV
Video File on July 12-13 at 12 noon EDT.

On launch day, Sunday, July 15, live coverage will not be on NASA
Television, but instead will be on Skynet’s Telstar 5, Transponder C-20
located at 97 degrees West. Launch commentary begins at 1:30 a.m. EDT and
will continue through spacecraft separation at L+27 minutes.

The unabridged countdown and launch will be re-shown on NASA Television at 8
a.m. EDT and will begin with launch replays.

The pre-launch press conference and launch coverage will be carried
live on the NASA “V” audio circuits which may be accessed by dialing
321/867-7135, 4003, and 4920. NASA Television is available on the GE-2
satellite, transponder 9C, located at 85 degrees West.

Status Reports

Recorded status reports on the launch of GOES-M/AC-142 will be
available on the KSC news media codaphone starting on Thursday, July 12. The
telephone number is 321/867-2525.