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NASA Announces Television Coverage, Media Activities for Pluto Flyby

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2015

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NASA is inviting media to cover New Horizons’ historic Pluto flyby in mid-July, including the spacecraft’s closest approach to Pluto on July 14, from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, site of the mission operations center.

Media who wish to cover the events at APL must receive accreditation from the APL Public Affairs Office by June 30. Earlier registration is strongly encouraged, as space is very limited. To apply, and for more information, visit: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Media-Registration.php

NASA also will provide comprehensive coverage on NASA Television, and theagency’s website and social media accounts as the spacecraft closes in on Pluto in the coming weeks.

The schedule for event coverage is subject to change, with daily updates posted online and in the New Horizons Media Center at APL. Highlights of the current schedule, all times EDT, include:

June 16, 23 and 30
11:30 a.m. -- Mission Updates

Weekly pre-flyby updates on NASA TV will provide an overview of the New Horizons mission, the spacecraft and its suite of instruments, the July 14 flyby, and a summary of Pluto science to date.

July 7- 12 
11:30 a.m. -- Final approach to Pluto; live daily mission updates on NASA TV 

July 12
1 - 5 p.m. -- New Horizons Media Center opens at APL 

July 13
11 a.m. – noon -- Media briefing: Mission Status and What to Expect. (live on NASA TV)

2:30 – 5:30 p.m. -- Panels: APL’s Endeavors in Space and the latest on New Horizons (no NASA TV coverage)

July 14
7:30 a.m. – Media Briefing: Arrival at Pluto, Inside the Pluto System and New Horizons’ Perilous Path (live on NASA TV)

At 7:49 a.m., the New Horizons spacecraft will make history as flies past Pluto, after a journey of more than nine years and 3 billion miles. For much of the day the New Horizons spacecraft will be out of communication with mission control as it gathers data on Pluto and its moons.

The moment of closest approach will be marked with a live NASA TV broadcast that includes a countdown, a discussion of images and data received thus far, and what’s expected next as New Horizons makes its way past Pluto and potentially dangerous debris. Follow the path of the spacecraft in real time with a visualization of the actual trajectory data, using NASA’s Eyes on Pluto.  

9 a.m. – noon -- Interview Opportunities (no NASA TV coverage)

Informal group briefings and availability for one-on-one interviews. An updated schedule will be posted in the New Horizons Media Center.

Noon – 3 p.m. – Panel Discussions (no NASA TV coverage)

New Horizons mission overview and history

Pluto system discoveries on approach

Mariner 4 and Pluto: 50 years to the day

8 – 9:15 p.m. -- NASA TV program, Phone Home, broadcast from APL Mission Control

NASA TV will share the suspenseful moments of this historic event with the public and museums around the world. The New Horizons spacecraft will send a preprogrammed signal after the close approach. The mission team on Earth should receive the signal at about 9:02 p.m. When New Horizons “phones home,” there will be a celebration of its success and the anticipation of data to come over the days and months ahead.  

9:15 – 10 p.m. -- Media Briefing: New Horizons Health and Mission Status (live on NASA TV)

July 15 
Noon – 3 p.m. -- Interview Opportunities (no NASA TV coverage)

Informal group briefings and availability for one-on-one interviews. An updated schedule will be posted in the New Horizons Media Center. 

TBD -- Media Briefing: Seeing Pluto in a New Light (live on NASA TV)

Release of close-up images of Pluto’s surface and moons, along with initial science team reactions 

New Horizons is the first mission to the Kuiper Belt, a gigantic zone of icy bodies and mysterious small objects orbiting beyond Neptune. This region also is known as the “third” zone of our solar system, beyond the inner rocky planets and outer gas giants.

APL designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

For more information on the New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, schedules, video and images, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons or http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/plutotoolkit.cfm

Follow the New Horizons mission on Twitter and use the hashtag #PlutoFlyby to join the conversation. Live updates will be available on the mission Facebook page.

 

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