NASA is offering media two days of photo and news opportunities at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., on Jan. 6 and 7. The events highlight an important milestone for a safe Return to Flight: the arrival of the redesigned External Tank (ET) for the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-114) mission to the International Space Station.

The ET is expected to depart NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans on Dec. 31. It is being transported via Pegasus, a specially designed barge. Barring any weather delays, the Solid Rocket Booster retrieval ship Freedom Star will bring the barge to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Jan. 5. The barge will be hooked up to tugs and brought to the Turn Basin at KSC on Jan. 6.

The ET was redesigned to address the Columbia Accident Investigation Board’s recommendation to reduce the risk to the Shuttle from falling debris during ascent.

Media who want to attend this event must contact the KSC Press Site (321/867-2468) by 4 p.m. EST, Jan. 4.

Events at KSC:

  • Jan. 6: Media must arrive at the KSC News Center by 10:30 a.m. EST.
  • 11 a.m.: Live News Conference with Deputy Associate Administrator for International Space Station and Space Shuttle Programs Michael Kostelnik, External Tank Project Manager Sandy Coleman, and Director of Shuttle Processing Mike Wetmore
  • 12:30 p.m.: Photo Opportunity – Barge arriving at Turn Basin with External Tank
  • 1:30 p.m.: Workshop – External Tank Processing at KSC
  • 3 p.m.: Photo Opportunity – Tank rolls off Barge to Vehicle Assembly Building
  • 3:30 p.m.: Tour of External Tank barge – Technical representatives available to discuss trip from New Orleans and loading and unloading processes
  • 4:15 p.m.: Photo Opportunity – External Tank in transfer aisle of Vehicle Assembly Building
  • Jan. 7: Media must arrive by 8:30 a.m. EST to travel to the Orbiter Processing Facility
  • 9 a.m.: Tour of OPF to see new Orbiter Boom Sensor System
  • 11 a.m.: STS-114 crew available for photos and questions in VAB

Space is limited. Access is granted on a first-requested basis and is limited to two people per organization. NASA centers’ points of contact: June Malone, Marshall Space Flight Center, Ala., (Phone: 256/544-7061); Jessica Rye, KSC, (Phone: 321/867-2468); James Hartsfield, Johnson Space Center, Houston, (Phone: 281/483-5111).

Media who do not possess KSC credentials should submit their request via the new online accreditation Web site:

Media may also fax (321/867-2692) or e-mail and include the following information on their organization’s letterhead: Full legal name, Title, Organization, Address, Telephone number, Date of birth, Place of birth, Social security number, Country of citizenship.

Since the tour includes operational facilities that deal in hazardous materials, all who enter must be properly dressed in long pants and closed shoes with low heels. Sleeveless shirts are not allowed.

For the latest information on NASA’s Return to Flight efforts on the Internet, visit: