Mar. 17, 2000


The launch of the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) for NASA and the Southwest Research Institute aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is scheduled to occur on Saturday, March 25 from NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The launch window extends from 12:34:43 - 12:42:43 p.m. PST, a duration of eight minutes.

The IMAGE satellite is the first spacecraft dedicated to imaging the Earth's magnetosphere, a region of space controlled by the Earth's magnetic field that contains extremely tenuous plasmas of both solar and terrestrial origin. IMAGE employs a variety of imaging techniques to "see the invisible" and to produce the first comprehensive global images of plasma in the inner magnetosphere. Within a day of acquiring the data, images from each of the eight instruments will be available to the entire space science community through the Internet.

The spin-stabilized IMAGE satellite will be placed into an eliptical orbit over the poles, completing an orbit of the earth every 13.5 hours. During the course of the two-year primary mission, this orbit will afford the spacecraft a sweep twice through all local time zones. It also maximizes the amount of time the orbit's high point is at higher latitudes affording the best perspective for global imaging.


News media desiring accreditation for the launch of IMAGE should fax their request on news organization letterhead to:

Bruce Buckingham
NASA Vandenberg Resident Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA
FAX: 805/605-3380

Delta/IMAGE access badges will be issued upon entry to Vandenberg Air Force Base and will be valid for the prelaunch news conference on L-1 day and for launch day.

For further information on launch accreditation call 321/867-2468. Beginning March 23 call the NASA Delta/IMAGE News Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base 805/605-3051.

Media are required to be under Air Force Public Affairs escort at all times while on Vandenberg Air Force Base. For further assistance, contact Master Sergeant Tyler Foster, USAF 30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office at 805/606-3595.


The prelaunch news conference will be held on Friday, March 24 at 11 a.m. PST in the main conference room of the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office, Building 840, Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. Participants will be:

Chuck Dovale, NASA Launch Director
Kennedy Space Center, FL

Rich Murphy, Boeing Mission Director
The Boeing Company

Frank Volpe, IMAGE Project Manager
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Dr. James L. Burch, IMAGE Principal Investigator
Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

Captain Joe Kurtz, USAF Launch Weather Officer, 30th Weather Squadron
Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA

Media desiring to cover the prelaunch news conference should meet at the south gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base on California State Road 246. Departure for the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office at Building 840 will be at 10:45 a.m.


Media desiring to establish sound-activated remote cameras at the launch pad will depart from the main gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base at 1 p.m. for SLC-2.


On launch day, March 25, media covering the Delta/IMAGE launch should be at the main gate located on California State Road 1 at 11 a.m. to be escorted to the press site located on north Vandenberg Air Force Base. After launch, media will be escorted back to the main gate. A post-launch news conference will not be held.


NASA Television will carry the prelaunch news conference starting at 11 a.m. PST on Friday, March 24. A two-way question and answer capability will be available from NASA field centers. On launch day, Saturday, March 25, NASA TV coverage of the countdown will begin at 11 a.m. PST and continue through spacecraft separation at approximately 56 minutes into flight.

NASA Television is carried on GE-2, transponder 9C located at 85 degrees West longitude. "Audio only" of IMAGE coverage on NASA TV will be available on the "V" circuits that may be reached by dialing 407/867-1220, 1240, 1260, 7135, 4003, 4920.

The launch of IMAGE will also be webcast via the NASA-KSC Home Page at:

 The Delta/IMAGE News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office will be staffed beginning Thursday, March 23 and may be reached at 805/605-3051. A recorded status report will also be available starting at that time by dialing 805/734-2693.


Dolores Beasley
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1753)

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center
(Phone: 407/867-2468)

Susan Hendrix
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301-286-7745)

GSFC Note to Editors 00-30 (KSC No. 23-00)