NASA’s Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 1:21 p.m. EDT, April 15 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

NASA scheduled a prelaunch mission update press conference, 11 a.m. to noon EST, Friday, April 1 in the Marshall Space Flight Center, Multimedia Services Building 4207, Huntsville, Ala. For Marshall media access instructions, contact Kim Newton, Marshall Public Affairs Office at: 256/544-0034.

Participants: Jim Snoddy, DART project manager; NASA Launch Director Omar Baez; Jeff Campbell Pegasus Program Manager, Orbital Sciences Corporation.

The briefing will be broadcast live on NASA TV with questions and answers for media at participating NASA centers. NASA TV is available on the Web and via satellite in the U.S. on AMC-6, Transponder 9C, C-Band, at 72 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. In Alaska and Hawaii, it’s on AMC-7, Transponder 18C, C-Band, at 137 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 4060.0 MHz; polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. For NASA TV information and schedules on the Internet, visit:

DART is a flight demonstrator that provides a key step in establishing autonomous rendezvous capabilities for the U.S. space program. DART will rendezvous with the Multiple Paths, Beyond-Line-of-Site Communications (MUBLCOM) satellite. It will perform several close proximity operations, such as moving toward and away from the satellite using navigation data provided by onboard sensors.

DART is the first demonstration program selected by NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate to develop technologies for the Vision for Space Exploration. The Vision calls for the safe return to flight of the Space Shuttle, completion of the International Space Station and human and robotic exploration of the Solar System.

For information about DART on the Web, visit:

For the latest DART launch information on the Web, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: