NASA’s Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART)
spacecraft is scheduled to launch from an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL
vehicle on Friday, April 15, during a 7-minute launch window which
extends from 10:21:49 – 10:28:49 a.m. PDT.

The drop of the Pegasus from the L-1011 carrier aircraft is targeted
to occur within the launch window at 10:25 a.m. PDT at a location
over the Pacific Ocean approximately 100 miles offshore from
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The DART spacecraft is about 6 feet
long and 3 feet in diameter, weighing approximately 800 pounds with
fuel. It will be placed into a 472-mile-high circular polar orbit at
an inclination of 97.7 degrees.

DART will demonstrate key technologies required for spacecraft to
rendezvous with other craft, such as satellites, without human
intervention. DART will combine key autonomous technologies to
actually rendezvous with a target satellite during the mission. It is
the first demonstration program selected by NASA’s Exploration
Systems Mission Directorate to develop technologies for the Vision
for Space Exploration.

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for
countdown and launch management; NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
in Huntsville, Ala., is responsible for the overall DART mission
management and associated technology development; and Orbital
Sciences Corporation is responsible for providing the Pegasus launch
service and for building the DART satellite.

Prelaunch Press Conference and Mission Briefing

A prelaunch press conference, to be carried live on NASA Television,
is scheduled to occur on Thursday, April 14, at 1 p.m. PDT (4 p.m.
EDT) in the conference room of the NASA-KSC Resident Office at
Vandenberg Air Force Base. Two-way question and answer capability
will be available from NASA Headquarters, Kennedy Space Center and
Marshall Space Flight Center.

Participating in the prelaunch news conference will be:

  • Omar Baez, NASA Launch Director Kennedy Space Center
  • Bryan Baldwin, Pegasus Launch Vehicle Program Director Orbital Sciences Corporation
  • Jim Snoddy, DART Project Manager Marshall Space Flight Center
  • U.S. Air Force Maj. Richard Benz, Launch Weather Officer 30th Weather Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base

Media desiring to cover the prelaunch press conference and tour of the
DART Mission Operations Center should meet at the south gate of
Vandenberg Air Force Base on California State Road 246 at 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 14, for escort to the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office
in Building 840.


News media desiring accreditation to cover the launch of Pegasus/DART
should fax their request on news organization letterhead to:

30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Attention: Staff Sgt. Rebecca Danet

FAX: 805/606-8303
(Telephone: 805/606-3595)

Launch Day Press Coverage

On launch day, media representatives should meet at the Vandenberg
main gate at 8:45 a.m. to be escorted to the flight line to view the
takeoff of the L-1011. After departure, media will be taken to the
viewing room of the NASA Mission Director’s Center located at
Building 840 on South Vandenberg Air Force Base. From there, media
may follow the release and launch of Pegasus/DART.

Assuming a successful flight of the Pegasus, a post-launch news
conference will not be held. However, launch vehicle and spacecraft
representatives will be available afterward to informally answer
questions from the media. Media who desire will then be escorted to
the DART Mission Operations Center for a tour of the facility to be
used to monitor the DART rendezvous activities.

NASA Television Launch Coverage of Pegasus/DART

Live coverage on NASA Television of the Pegasus/DART launch will begin
at 9 a.m. PDT on April 15 and continue through spacecraft separation
from the Pegasus vehicle. Live launch commentary and audio of the
Pegasus/DART briefings will be available on the “V” audio circuits
that may be dialed at 321/867-1220, 1240, 1260 or 7135.

NASA TV is available on the Web and via satellite in the continental
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, NASA TV is available 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: Web Coverage of Pegasus/DART

NASA Television launch coverage will be webcast at:

Live information updates will be available through Kennedy Space
Center’s Virtual Launch Control
Center at: Pegasus/DART

News Center

The Pegasus/DART News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office
will be staffed starting on Thursday, April 14, and may be reached
between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. PDT at 805/605-3051. A recorded status
report will also be available starting at that time and may be
reached by dialing 805/734-2693. The U.S. Air Force Public Affairs
office may be reached at 805/606-3595.