CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Launch of NASA’s THEMIS spacecraft is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15 from Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The launch window is 6:08 to 6:26 p.m. EST, a duration of 18 minutes. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center is responsible for the launch of THEMIS aboard a Delta II rocket with the launch service being conducted by the United Launch Alliance. Should the launch be postponed for 24 hours for any reason, the launch window will extend from 6:05 to 6:23 p.m. EST. For a 48-hour postponement, the launch window will be from 6:01 to 6:19 p.m.

THEMIS is an acronym for Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms. THEMIS consists of five identical probes that will track violent, colorful eruptions near the North Pole. This will be the largest number of scientific satellites NASA ever launched into orbit aboard a single rocket. The THEMIS mission aims to unravel the tantalizing mystery behind auroral substorms, an avalanche of magnetic energy powered by the solar wind that intensifies the northern and southern lights. The mission will investigate what causes auroras in the Earth’s atmosphere to dramatically change from slowly shimmering waves of light to wildly shifting streaks of bright color. THEMIS will help to provide another piece of the puzzle that will help scientists further understand how and why these space storms create havoc with satellites, power grids and communications systems.

Prelaunch Press Conference

A prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA News Center at Kennedy Space Center at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Participating in the briefing will be:

  • Dick Fisher, Director, Heliosphysics Division
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Chuck Dovale, NASA Launch Director/Launch Manager Kennedy Space
    Center, Fla.
  • Kris Walsh, Director of Delta NASA and Commercial Programs
    United Launch Alliance, Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • Frank Snow, THEMIS Mission Manager
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
  • Peter Harvey, THEMIS Project Manager
    University of California at Berkeley
  • Joel Tumbiolo, U.S. Air Force Delta II Launch Weather Officer
    45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

THEMIS Mission Science Briefing

  • A mission science briefing will immediately follow the prelaunch press conference. Participating will be:
  • Vassilis Angelopoulos, THEMIS Principal Investigator
    University of California at Berkeley
  • David Sibeck, THEMIS Project Scientist
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Craig Pollock, THEMIS Program Scientist
    NASA Headquarters

No post-launch press conference will be held. A post-launch release will be issued once details on the state of health of all five THEMIS spacecraft can be confirmed. The release is expected to be issued approximately two 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 THEMIS prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing should complete the accreditation process via the Web by going to

All accreditation requests for the THEMIS prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing must be received by the close of business Monday, Feb. 12. Media may obtain their NASA access badge at the Pass and Identification Building, the badging station located on State Road 405 just east of U.S. 1. Contact the NASA News Center at 321-867-2468 for further information.

Remote Camera Placement at Complex 17

Wednesday, Feb. 14: Photographers who wish to set up remote cameras at the Delta launch complex will be escorted by a United Launch Alliance representative to Pad 17-B. Departure by vehicle convoy will be at 10 a.m. from the Space Florida parking lot located on Poseidon Avenue adjacent to Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Tower Rollback Photo Opportunity at Complex 17

Thursday, Feb. 15: There will be an opportunity to observe rollback of the mobile service tower from around the THEMIS/Delta II launch vehicle at Pad 17-B. Media should report at 8:30 a.m. to the Space Florida parking lot located on Poseidon Avenue adjacent to Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required. Transportation by government bus will be provided to Launch Complex 17. Media are requested to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.

Launch Day Press Site Access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Thursday, Feb. 15: Media covering the THEMIS launch will be able to obtain press access badges beginning at 4:15 p.m. 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. However, additional identification will not be required for those who present a pre-issued NASA accreditation badge for THEMIS or a valid permanent NASA-KSC picture badge.

Departure in a vehicle caravan to Press Site 1 will be at 4:45 p.m. Access badges cannot be issued after that time.

To reach the Space Florida parking lot, after passing the Pass and Identification Building outside Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, turn right at the traffic light at the intersection of SR 401 and Poseidon Avenue. Make an immediate left turn at the Navaho display.

News Center Hours for Launch

The NASA News Center at KSC will open for THEMIS news operations starting Monday, Feb. 12, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On launch day, Thursday, Feb. 15, the news center will reopen one hour after launch to confirm the THEMIS state of health and to issue the post- launch press release.

Starting Monday, Feb. 12, status reports on the launch of THEMIS and updates to the Media Advisory will be recorded on the KSC news media codaphone at 321-867-2525.

NASA Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

NASA’s home on the Internet,, will provide extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the THEMIS mission.

Live countdown coverage from NASA’s Launch Blog begins at 4 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 15. Coverage features real-time updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff.

A panel of experts has answered questions about NASA’s preparation for the THEMIS mission. Those responses are available online and through NASA podcasts.

To access these interactive features and more, go to NASA’s THEMIS main page at and follow the “Countdown Coverage” and “Ask the Mission Team” links provided under the “Events” column. For more information about THEMIS mission online events, contact Jeanne Ryba at 321-867-7824.

Television Coverage

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, television coverage of the THEMIS prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing at KSC will begin at 1 p.m. EST. Two-way question-and-answer capability will be available from other NASA field centers. On Thursday, Feb. 15, television coverage of the launch will begin at 4 p.m. EST and conclude after spacecraft separation from the Delta II rocket approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes after launch. The broadcast network HDNet will also carry the launch in high-definition television format starting at 6 p.m. EST. For more information, visit

Audio of the prelaunch press conference and mission science briefing will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1260 or 321-867-7135 beginning at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 14. On launch day, Feb. 15, “Mission Audio,” countdown activities without NASA launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 beginning at 3 p.m. EST. Audio of the NASA launch commentary will begin at 4 p.m. EST and will be available on 321-867-1220, 1240, 1260. It will also be available on amateur radio frequency 146.940 Mhz (VHF) or 442.6 Mhz (UHF), heard within Brevard County.

For information on receiving NASA Television, go to: