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How To Cover NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

July 7, 1999

Media Advisory: 99-113

NASA's newest space telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, is scheduled for launch not earlier than July 20, 1999, aboard Space Shuttle mission STS-93. The world's most powerful X-ray observatory, Chandra will join the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's other great observatories in an unprecedented study of our universe.

With its capability to "see" an otherwise invisible but violent, vibrant and ever-changing universe, Chandra will provide insights into the universe's structure and evolution.

The following information is designed to assist news media representatives cover launch and activation of the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Covering from the Chandra Control Center

NASA will establish a news center at the Chandra X-ray Observatory Operations Control Center in Cambridge, Mass., during the critical period of launch and early activation. The news center will be open from approximately two days prior to launch until the observatory is established in its operating orbit approximately 11 days after launch.

The telephone numbers for the news center are:

(617) 496-4454

(617) 496-4462

(617) 496-4484

The news center will be staffed around the clock during the Shuttle mission by media relations officers knowledgeable about the Chandra mission and its status.

Media covering from the news center will be provided work space and have opportunities for face-to-face interviews with Chandra management, control team members and Chandra scientists. They will be able to participate in daily Chandra status briefings and have access to a special control room viewing area. Additionally, media covering from Cambridge will receive periodic status reports on Chandra and the STS-93 mission, and will be able to participate in interactive televised briefings on the STS-93 mission originating from other NASA centers.

While advance accreditation is not required, media interested in covering Chandra from the Operations Control Center should contact Dave Drachlis by telephone at (256) 544-0031 in advance of the mission to make

arrangements for special support, such as telephone service, and uplink or remote truck parking.

Covering from the Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center, Fla., news center is primarily responsible for disseminating information about the Shuttle countdown and launch. However, media relations officers knowledgeable about Chandra will be present at the Kennedy news center through launch. Additionally, some members of the Chandra management and science team will be at the Kennedy Space Center and available for interviews through launch. Media interested in covering the Chandra launch from the Kennedy Space Center should contact its Public Affairs Office at (407) 867-2468. Prior accreditation is required.

Covering from the Johnson Space Center

The Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, news center has responsibility for disseminating information about STS-93 flight operations. Media interested in covering the mission from the Johnson Space Center should contact its Public Affairs Office at (281) 483-5111. Prior accreditation is required.

Status Reports

During the STS-93 Space Shuttle mission to launch Chandra, NASA will issue twice-daily status reports from the Chandra Operations Control Center in Cambridge, Mass. Following the Shuttle mission, through Chandra's on-orbit checkout period, reports will be issued weekly. These reports are available via the Internet at:

http://chandra.msfc.nasa.gov

Press Briefings

During the Space Shuttle mission to launch the observatory, NASA will conduct daily press briefings on the status of the observatory. These briefings will be conducted at the Chandra Operations Control Center in Cambridge, Mass. Media briefings will be broadcast on NASA Television (see below). Media without access to NASA Television may monitor the briefings by calling (256) 544-5300 and asking to be connected to the NASA Television audio feed. A briefing schedule will be released before launch and updated as appropriate during the mission.

NASA Television

The launch and early activation of the Chandra X-ray Observatory will be carried live on NASA Television, available through the GE2 satellite system, which is located on Transponder 9C, at 85 degrees west longitude, frequency 3880.0 MHz, audio 6.8 MHz. Around-the-clock, up-to-the minute commentary, television and daily briefings on Chandra's status will originate from the Chandra Operations Control Center in Cambridge, Mass., during Shuttle Mission STS-93.

Internet Information

Up-to-date, comprehensive information on the Chandra X-ray Observatory is available to news media on the Internet at:

http://chandra.harvard.edu

The latest status reports, news releases, photos, fact sheets and background archives, as well as links to other Chandra-related sites, are available at this address.

Live Shots - Television Back-hauls

Television station news departments may conduct live, or live-to-tape interviews via the NASA satellite with Chandra program managers, scientists and control team members prior to, during, and following the launch of Chandra. For additional information or to arrange interviews, broadcasters may contact Dave Drachlis at (256) 544-0031.

Interviews

Members of the Chandra development, operations, and science teams are available to the news media for interviews upon request.

NASA TV on the web

MEDIA CONTACTS

Dave Drachlis
Chandra Program Office
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, Ala.
(256)544-6538

Don Savage
Office of Space Science
NASA Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
(202)358-1727

Wallace Tucker
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Cambridge, Mass.
(716)496-7998

Brooks McKinney
TRW
Space and Engineering Group
Redondo Beach, Calif.
(310)814-8177
(310)389-4883 (pager)

Bruce Buckingham or George Diller
Shuttle Launch Control
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(407)867-2468

Kyle Herring or James Hartsfield
STS-93 Mission Control
Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas
(281)483-5111