NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), set to launch aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket on Aug. 31, will be the focus of a media opportunity at 1 p.m. Friday at Astrotech in Titusville, Fla. The event will include an opportunity to photograph STEREO and interview project and launch program officials.

STEREO consists of two spacecraft that together comprise the first mission to take measurements of the sun and solar wind in 3-D. This new view will improve our understanding of space weather and its impact on the Earth.

During the two-year mission, the two nearly identical spacecraft will explore the origin, evolution and interplanetary consequences of coronal mass ejections, the most violent explosions in our solar system. When directed at Earth, these billion-ton eruptions can disrupt satellites, radio communications and power systems. In addition, energetic particles associated with these solar eruptions are hazardous to scientific spacecraft and astronauts.

Truly an international effort, many portions of the STEREO instruments were provided by the United States, the United Kingdom and several European countries. The instruments were integrated with the observatories by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is responsible for the project management. The NASA Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center and Boeing are responsible for the launch.

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 (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. Nonessential equipment such as suede, leather or vinyl camera bags or other carrying cases must be left outside the cleanroom. No pencils or felt-tipped pens are permitted; only ball point pens may be used. No food, tobacco, chewing gum, lighters, matches or pocketknives will be allowed.

Wireless microphones are allowed; however, 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).

Primary spokespersons available will be:

Jim Adams, STEREO Deputy Project Manager, NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center

Rex Engelhardt, NASA Mission Integration Manager
Kennedy Space Center

Mark Jarosz, STEREO Observatory Manager, NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center

Ron Denissen, STEREO Deputy Project Manager
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

On Friday, media may proceed directly to Astrotech located in the Spaceport Florida Industrial Park, 1515 Chaffee Drive, Titusville. Access at the gate will start at 12:45 p.m.