CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, set to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Feb. 9, will be the focus of a media opportunity at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Fla. The event is an opportunity to photograph the SDO spacecraft and interview project and launch program officials. The spacecraft will be seen just prior to its encapsulation into the Atlas V payload fairing which will be located adjacent to the spacecraft.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first mission that will be launched for NASA’s Living With a Star program and is designed to understand the causes of solar variability and how space weather results from that variability. SDO will take a closer look at the Sun and help develop the ability to better understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere. SDO will perform several measurements that will help characterize the interior of the Sun, the Sun’s magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona, and the density of radiation that creates the ionosphere of the planets. By better understanding the Sun and how it works, scientists will be able to better predict and better forecast the “weather out in space,” providing earlier warning to protect our aircraft, satellites and astronauts when working in space.

For the media event, procedures for optically sensitive spacecraft must be followed by individuals entering the cleanroom where the spacecraft is being prepared for launch. Full cleanroom attire, or bunny suits, must be worn and will be furnished. Please do not wear perfume, cologne or makeup. Long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn — no shorts or skirts.

Camera equipment will be cleaned by contamination-control specialists. All camera equipment must be self-contained; no portable lights can be allowed. Non-essential equipment such as suede, leather or vinyl camera bags or other carrying cases must be left outside the cleanroom. No notebook paper, pencils or conventional pens are permitted; special pens and cleanroom paper will be provided. No food, tobacco, chewing gum, lighters, matches or pocketknives will be allowed.

Flash photography cannot be permitted. There is adequate metal halide lighting in the facility for photography (white with slight green cast; suggested exposure for ISO-ASA 400 is 1/30 sec. at f/5.6 ). Wireless microphones will be allowed but use of cellular telephones cannot be accommodated.

Project management for SDO is the responsibility of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Spokespersons from Goddard, the Kennedy Space Center and NASA Headquarters will be available for questions and interviews.

On Thursday, U.S. news media representatives may proceed directly to Astrotech located in the Spaceport Florida Industrial Park, 1515 Chaffee Drive, Titusville. Access at the gate will start at 8:45 a.m. A photo identification will be required. News media who are foreign nationals may attend only if they possess a permanently issued NASA news media accreditation badge from the Kennedy Space Center.

There is a possibility that this event may be rescheduled to Friday, Jan. 22. News media representatives should call the NASA News Center codaphone at Kennedy on Wednesday evening at 321-867-2525 to assure the date has not changed.