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NASA Invites Media to View the Solar Orbiter Spacecraft Before February Launch

Press Release From: Kennedy Space Center
Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Media are invited to view the Solar Orbiter spacecraft Monday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. EST at the Astrotech Space Operations payload processing facility in Titusville, Florida. Media will have an opportunity to photograph Solar Orbiter, the first mission to provide images of the Sun’s poles, and interview project and program officials.

Media interested in attending this event must apply by 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 and submit their request online at:

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov

The Solar Orbiter will observe the Sun with high spatial resolution telescopes as well as capture observations in the environment directly surrounding the spacecraft – together creating a one-of-a-kind picture of how the Sun can affect the space environment throughout the solar system. The spacecraft also will provide the first ever images of the Sun’s poles and the never-before-observed magnetic environment there, which helps drive the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and its periodic outpouring of solar storms.

Solar Orbiter is scheduled to launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 11:27 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Facility Access

Due to stringent spacecraft cleanliness requirements, no more than 20 individuals will be allowed to participate, and no more than two per media organization. This event is open only to U.S. citizens who possess a government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license, and proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate.

For questions about accreditation, please email ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov. For other questions, contact Kennedy’s newsroom at 321-867-2468.

Please read these instructions carefully, or you may be denied access to the clean room.

Procedures for optically sensitive spacecraft must be followed by individuals entering the clean room where the spacecraft is being prepared for launch. Long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn. No tank tops, shorts or skirts will be permitted. Full clean-room attire (bunny suits) must be worn and will be furnished. Please do not wear perfume, cologne, hair spray or makeup. Those wearing makeup will be required to remove it prior to entry.

Photographers will need to clean camera equipment under the supervision or assistance of contamination-control specialists. All camera equipment must be self-contained. Nonessential equipment, such as suede, leather or vinyl camera bags, carrying cases, camera straps, or accessories with Velcro must be left outside the clean room. No notebook paper, pencils or click-type ballpoint pens are permitted; clean-room paper and non-retractable ballpoint pens will be provided.

Use of wireless microphones and cell phones will be permitted if not contained in external cases or holding devices, and all electronic devices must be in airplane mode. Electronic flash will NOT be permitted. The lighting in the bay is white LEB for pictures. No food, chewing gum, tobacco, lighters, matches or pocketknives will be allowed and should not be brought to the Astrotech clean room.

About the Solar Orbiter

Solar Orbiter is an international cooperative mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. ESA's Engineering & Test Center (ESTEC) in The Netherlands is managing the development effort. The spacecraft has been developed by Airbus. The European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Germany will operate Solar Orbiter after launch.

Solar Orbiter was built by Airbus Defence and Space, and contains 10 instruments: nine provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) and various European countries.  NASA provided an instrument and a sensor, the SoloHI instrument and the Heavy Ion Sensor, which is part of the Solar Wind Analyzer (SWA) instrument suite.  The instruments are EPD - Energetic Particle Detector, EUI - Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, MAG- Magnetometer, METIS – Coronagraph, PHI – Polarimetric & Helioseismic Imager, RPW – Radio & Plasma Waves, SoloHI – Heliospheric Imager, SPICE – Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment, STIX – Spectrometer/Telescope for Imaging X-rays, and SWA – Solar Wind Analyzer.

The Solar Orbiter mission is managed by ESA. NASA’s Launch Services Program is responsible for launch management. United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, is the provider of the Atlas V launch service.

For more information about the Solar Orbiter mission, visit:

https://sci.esa.int/web/solar-orbiter

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