Press Release

NASA Sets Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LCROSS Launch Coverage Events

By SpaceRef Editor
June 6, 2009
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NASA Sets Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LCROSS Launch Coverage Events

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, spacecraft are set to launch together to the moon aboard an Atlas V rocket on June 17. Three launch opportunities from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., are at 2:51 p.m., 3:01 p.m. and 3:11 p.m. CDT. NASA Television’s coverage of the launch will begin at noon CDT.

If the launch is postponed 24 hours, the launch times on June 18 are 4:12 p.m., 4:22 p.m. and 4:32 p.m.

LRO’s objectives during its mission orbiting the moon are to identify safe landing sites, locate potential resources, characterize the radiation environment, and demonstrate new technology. LRO will orbit the poles of the moon during a one-year exploration mission followed by a planned multi-year science mission.

Approximately four to five months after launch, LCROSS will impact the moon, providing key information about the lunar composition and presence of water ice or hydrated minerals.

Prelaunch news conference

A prelaunch news conference on Monday, June 15, at noon CDT will be held at the news center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and broadcast live on NASA TV. Participants in the briefing will be:

– Todd May, program manager, Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
– Chuck Dovale, NASA launch director, Kennedy Space Center
– Vernon Thorp, program manager, NASA Missions, United Launch Alliance, Cape Canaveral
– Craig Tooley, LRO project manager, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
– Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project manager, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
– Clay Flinn, Atlas V launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

LRO and LCROSS mission science briefing
A mission science briefing on Tuesday, June 16, at noon CDT will be held at Kennedy’s news center and broadcast live on NASA TV. Participants in the briefing will be:

– Mike Wargo, chief lunar scientist, Exploration Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
– Rich Vondrak, project scientist, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Goddard
– Tony Colaprete, project scientist, LCROSS, Ames

Accreditation and media access badges for Kennedy Space Center
Reporters who want to cover the LRO and LCROSS prelaunch news conference, mission briefing and launch must complete the online accreditation process at:

Accreditation for U.S. media representatives must be received by the close of business on Wednesday, June 10. Journalists may obtain their NASA access badge at the Kennedy Badging Office, located near Gate 3 on State Road 405, just past the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Two forms of government issued identification, one with a photo, will be required to receive an access badge. For further information about accreditation, contact Laurel Lichtenberger at 321-867-4036.

Kennedy news center hours
Monday, June 15: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 16: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 17: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Atlas V launch vehicle rollout

On Tuesday, June 16, reporters will have the opportunity to observe the rollout of the Atlas V rocket from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Complex 41. Journalists will depart by bus from the Kennedy press site at 8 a.m. CDT.

Remote camera placement at Launch Complex 41

On Wednesday, June 17, photographers who wish to set up remote, sound-activated cameras at the Atlas V launch pad will depart by bus from the parking lot at the Kennedy press site at 7:30 a.m. CDT.

Launch day press site access

On launch day, reporters will cover the LRO and LCROSS launch from the Kennedy press site. Access will be through Gate 2 on State Road 3 or Gate 3 on State Road 405. There will be no access through Gate 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

NASA Web prelaunch and launch coverage

Extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the lift off of LRO and LCROSS aboard an Atlas V rocket will be available on NASA’s home on the Internet at:

A prelaunch webcast for the two missions to the moon will be streamed on the Web at 11 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, June 17 and broadcast on NASA TV. The webcast will feature Cathy Peddie, deputy project manager for LRO at Goddard; Kimberly Ennico, payload scientist for LCROSS at Ames; and Chuck Tatro, mission manager for NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy. George Diller of NASA Public Affairs will host the program.

Live countdown coverage through NASA’s launch blog begins at about 12:45 p.m. CDT Wednesday, June 17. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Jeanne Ryba at 321-867-7824.

To view the webcast and the blog or to learn more about the LRO and LCROSS missions, visit the mission home pages at:


The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown and during spacecraft checkout. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit:

NASA TV coverage
NASA Television will carry the LRO and LCROSS prelaunch news conference, mission science briefing and launch. Launch day coverage will begin at noon CDT and conclude approximately one hour after launch. There will not be a postlaunch news conference.

For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information and streaming video, visit:

A postlaunch news release will be issued approximately one hour after launch or as soon as data about the LRO spacecraft state-of-health is available. An additional news release will be issued after the Centaur has been turned over to LCROSS for mission operations, which occurs approximately four and a half hours after launch. Spokespersons also will be available at the Kennedy press site to answer questions and for interviews.

Audio only of the prelaunch news conference and launch coverage will be available by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, mission audio of the launch conductor’s countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 starting at noon. Launch audio also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz, heard within Brevard County.

Recorded status reports about the launch of the LRO and LCROSS spacecraft and updates to the media advisory will be provided on the Kennedy media phone line at 321-867-2525 starting Monday, June 15.

The launch management of LRO and LCROSS is the responsibility of the Launch Services Program at Kennedy. United Launch Alliance is the launch service provider for the Atlas V. Goddard built and provides project management for the LRO spacecraft. Northrop Grumman built the LCROSS spacecraft for Ames, which also is responsible for its project management.

SpaceRef staff editor.