Press Release

NASA’s WISE Sky Surveying Spacecraft Ready for Launch Dec. 11

By SpaceRef Editor
December 7, 2009
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NASA’s WISE Sky Surveying Spacecraft Ready for Launch Dec. 11

WASHINGTON – The launch of NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, aboard a Delta II rocket is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 11, between 9:09 a.m. and 9:23 a.m. EST from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. NASA will provide television and Internet coverage of prelaunch activities and liftoff of the agency’s latest space science mission.

After launch, WISE will scan the entire sky in infrared light with a sensitivity hundreds of times greater than ever before, picking up the glow of hundreds of millions of objects and producing millions of images. The mission will uncover objects never seen before, including the coolest stars, the universe’s most luminous galaxies and some of the darkest near-Earth asteroids and comets.

A prelaunch news conference will be held Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office and broadcast on NASA Television. Reporters can ask questions from participating NASA centers. A WISE mission science briefing immediately will follow the prelaunch news conference. The briefings will be webcast at:

A WISE webcast with launch and mission managers is scheduled for noon Dec. 10. To access WISE features, visit NASA’s WISE Web site at:

On Dec. 11, NASA TV coverage of the countdown and launch will begin at 7 a.m. Launch coverage of countdown activities also will be available on the NASA Web site at:

Audio of the prelaunch news conference and launch coverage will be available by dialing 321-867-1220/1240/1260. This is a listen-only audio system. Mission audio of countdown activities without NASA launch commentary will be carried on 321-867-7135 beginning at 6 a.m.

Live countdown coverage on NASA’s launch blog starts at 7 a.m. The coverage will feature real-time updates of countdown milestones, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff.

The WISE mission news center is operational at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office. Reporters should call 805-605-3051 for launch information. Recorded status reports also are available by dialing 805-734-2693.

SpaceRef staff editor.