Status Report

NASA DIRECT! to provide live coverage of MESSENGER launch

By SpaceRef Editor
July 28, 2004
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The NASA Direct! Web site is featuring two webcast events and live countdown coverage for MESSENGER, NASA’s upcoming mission to unlock the secrets of Mercury the least explored planet in our Solar System. Programming begins July 29 at2 p.m. EDT and concludes after launch, currently scheduled for August 2 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station inFlorida.

The first NASA Direct! webcast, “MESSENGER Science and Technology,” begins at2 p.m. EDTJuly 29. The program will open with a welcome and introduction by Dr. Orlando Figueroa from NASA’s Office of Earth Science. After an introduction by Cheryle Mako, Mission Integration Manager for NASA’s Launch Services Program, MESSENGER Project Scientist Dr. Ralph McNutt will lend his expertise describing the science and technology of the exciting mission, and answering the public’s questions.

On July 30 at2 p.m. EDT, NASA Direct! will broadcast “MESSENGER Mission Overview.” This informative webcast will begin with a welcome by Kennedy Space Center Director James Kennedy. Host Tiffany Nail will then introduce James Leary, MESSENGER’s Mission System Specialist. Leary will answer questions about the spacecraft and explain how it was designed to survive the extreme temperatures of Mercury.  Next up will be NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale, who will offer an overview of the launch process and readiness of the spacecraft and launch vehicle. Programming will conclude with Delta Launch Weather officer Joel Tumbiolo, who will provide a forecast of projected local weather conditions at the time of launch.

In addition to the NASA Direct! webcasts, the KSC Web Site provides live countdown coverage from its Virtual Launch Control Center, located at Coverage will feature real-time updates as milestones occur during the countdown, as well as streaming video clips of countdown events. All videos are provided in Real Video format.

MESSENGER WEB COVERAGE SCHEDULE(all times are EDT and subject to change)

L-3 Days – Thursday, July 29  at2 p.m. EDT

NASA Direct! Program: “MESSENGER Science and Technology”

L-2 Days – Friday, July 30 at2 p.m. EDT

NASA Direct! Program: “MESSENGER Mission Overview”

L-0 Days – Launch Day, Monday, August 2 at12 a.m. EDT

Live countdown coverage

Although coverage events for this mission do not begin until three days prior to launch, the Launch Services Program’s MESSENGER Web site at was activated approximately two months before the anticipated launch date. KSC’s Expendable Launch Vehicles site at serves as a starting point for coverage of other NASA ELV missions. For more information about this mission, go to NASA’s MESSENGER Web site at

For further information about the MESSENGER web events, contact Dennis Armstrong at 321/867-2468.

SpaceRef staff editor.