The launch of NASA’s Space Infrared Telescope Facility aboard a
Boeing Delta II Heavy expendable launch vehicle is scheduled for Saturday,
Aug. 23, at the opening of an instantaneous launch window that occurs at
1:37:29 a.m. EDT. Launch will occur from Pad 17-B on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Fla.

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility marks the finale of NASA’s
Great Observatories Program, which includes the Hubble Space Telescope, the
Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. Its
unprecedented infrared sensitivity will allow astronomers to study the most
distant, coldest, and most dust-obscured objects and processes in the

The observatory’s amazing ability to sleuth around for
low-temperature objects will also aid in the search for planetary systems in
the making, some of which may breed Earth-like planets. The mission is a
cornerstone of NASA’s Origins Program, which seeks to answer the questions,
“Where did we come from? Are we alone?”

SIRTF Mission Science Briefing

A SIRTF mission science briefing will be held at the NASA News
Center at KSC on Thursday, Aug. 21, at noon EDT. Participating will be:

Dr. Ed Weiler, NASA associate administrator
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Michael Werner, SIRTF project scientist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dr. Dale Cruikshank, interdisciplinary scientist for planetary science
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Dr. Michael Jura, SIRTF interdisciplinary scientist for planetary science
University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Marcia Rieke, astronomer/professor
Stewart Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson

Prelaunch Press Conference

The prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA News
Center at KSC on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. EDT. Participating in the
briefing will be:

Dr. Lia LaPiana, Space Infrared Telescope Facility program executive
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Omar Baez, NASA launch director
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Kris Walsh, director of NASA Programs
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems, Huntington Beach, Calif.

David Gallagher, SIRTF project manager
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

USAF Delta/SIRTF launch weather officer
45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

No post-launch press conference will be held. A post-launch
release will be issued with details on the state of health of SIRTF after
spacecraft data is received. This is expected to be available approximately
three hours after launch.

Accreditation and Media Access Badges for KSC

Those who need press accreditation and access badges to the Kennedy
Space Center to cover the SIRTF mission science briefing and prelaunch press
conference should send a letter of request on news organization letterhead
to the NASA-KSC News Center by the close of business on Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Include the names and Social Security numbers, birth dates, nationality and
country of citizenship of those who require accreditation. Letters should
be faxed to 321-867-2692 or may be addressed to:

SIRTF Accreditation
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

Media should plan to obtain their access badge at Gate 3 (west
gate) located on State Road 405, south of Titusville, just east of U.S. 1.
Contact the NASA-KSC News Center at 867-2468 for additional information that
will be necessary.

Remote Camera Placement at Complex 17

On Friday, Aug. 22, photographers who wish to set up remote cameras
at the Delta launch complex will be escorted by a Boeing representative to
Pad 17-B. Departure will be at 9:30 a.m. from the Gate 1 Pass and
Identification Building located on State Road 401 outside Gate 1 on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station.

Tower Rollback Photo Opportunity

On Friday, Aug. 22, there will be an opportunity to observe rollback
of the mobile service tower from around the SIRTF/Delta II launch vehicle at
Pad 17-B. Media will depart at 4:30 p.m. by government bus from the Gate 1
Pass and Identification Building on State Road 401 outside Gate 1 on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station. Press credentials and identification from a
bona fide news organization will be required.

Launch Day Press Access

On Saturday, Aug. 23, media covering the SIRTF launch will be able
to obtain press access badges beginning at midnight at the Gate 1 Pass and
Identification Building on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located on State
Road 401. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news
organization will be required to obtain an access badge. A driver’s license
alone will not be sufficient.

Due to the location of the impact limit lines for the launch of
the Delta Heavy, the Trident bluff remote press site will be used. This is
located on south Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the east side of the
Trident turn basin. Video and audio plug-in capability for NASA Television
will be available. In addition, a limited number of laptop telephone
interfaces will be available. Departure from Gate 1 for the Trident bluff
will be at 12:20 a.m.

News Center Hours for Launch

On Friday, Aug. 22, the NASA News Center at KSC will be open from
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The News Center will be closed on Saturday. All media
activities will be conducted from the remote press site at the Trident

NASA Television Coverage

On Thursday, Aug. 21, NASA Television will carry live the
SIRTF/Delta II Mission Science Briefing at noon EDT and the Prelaunch Press
Conference at 1 p.m. EDT.
On Friday, Aug. 22, NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at
11:30 p.m. EDT and conclude after spacecraft acquisition through the Deep
Space Network approximately one hour after launch. NASA Television is
available on the AMC-2 satellite, Transponder 9C, located at 85 degrees

Audio only of the prelaunch press conference and the launch
coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits which may be accessed by
dialing 321/867-1220…1240…1260…7135.

NASA Television coverage will be simulcast on the web and accessed
via the NASA Home Page at:

Live informational updates and post-event video will also be available
through Kennedy Space Center’s Virtual Launch Control Center at:

SIRTF Status Reports

Recorded status reports on the launch of SIRTF and updates to the
note to editors will be provided on the KSC news media codaphone starting on
Monday, Aug. 18. The telephone number is 321-867-2525.

The management of the SIRTF launch is the responsibility of NASA’s John F.
Kennedy Space Center. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., a
division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the SIRTF
project for the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters. The fully
integrated SIRTF spacecraft was designed and built by Lockheed Martin Space
Systems Company in Sunnyvale, Calif. SIRTF’s cryogenic telescope was
designed and built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder,
Colo. The observatory’s three science instruments were provided by
astronomers at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Cornell University in
Ithaca, New York, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in
Cambridge, Mass. After launch, SIRTF will be operated by teams from JPL,
Caltech and Lockheed Martin.