NASA's CONTOUR Spacecraft Scheduled for Launch July 1

Status Report From: Kennedy Space Center
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002

The launch of NASA's Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft is scheduled for Monday, July 1. The launch window is 2:56:14 - 2:56:20 a.m. EDT. Liftoff will occur aboard a Delta II launch vehicle from Pad A at Space Launch Complex 17, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Should launch be delayed, the next opportunity is July 3 from 2:47:41 - 2:47:47 a.m. EDT.

CONTOUR is our first detailed look into the heart of a comet -- its nucleus. The spacecraft will fly as close as 62 miles (100 kilometers) from at least two comets, taking the sharpest pictures yet of the nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround these rocky, icy building blocks of the solar system. For the first time, CONTOUR will help us assess the diversity of comets and unravel the mysteries of how they evolve. CONTOUR was built and will be controlled after launch by the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University.

The Delta II launch vehicle and its associated launch support services are from The Boeing Company. NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center is responsible for the launch countdown management and launch vehicle engineering oversight.


A prelaunch news conference is scheduled for Friday, June 28, at 1 p.m. EDT in the NASA-KSC News Center auditorium and will be carried live on NASA Television. Participating in the briefing will be:

Chuck Dovale, NASA Launch Manager
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Kristen Walsh, Boeing Director for NASA Expendable Launch Vehicles
Huntington Beach, Calif.

Edward Reynolds, CONTOUR Deputy Project Manager
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.

Joel Tumbiolo, Launch Weather Officer
45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

Immediately following the prelaunch news conference, a CONTOUR Mission Science Briefing will be held. Participating will be:

Dr. Joseph Veverka, CONTOUR Principal Investigator
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Dr. Michael Belton, CONTOUR Deputy Principal Investigator,
Belton Space Exploration Initiatives, LLC, Tucson, Ariz.

Dr. Paul Mahaffy, Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer Co-Investigator
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.


Media who wish to cover the launch of CONTOUR including the prelaunch news conference and mission science briefing should send a letter of request to the NASA-KSC News Center on news organization letterhead. It should include name, date of birth, and Social Security number or passport number by close of business Thursday, June 27. Letters should be faxed to 321/867-2692 or addressed to:

CONTOUR Launch Accreditation
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

On launch day, Monday, July 1, access badges for news media will be available starting at 1:15 a.m. and will be issued at the Pass & Identification Building on SR 401 outside Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Aer."orce Station. Departure on launch day from the Gate 1 Pass & Identification Building for Press Site 1 will be at 1:30 a.m. A Cape Canaveral Air Force Station access badge is required for all media covering the launch at Press Site 1. Kennedy Space Center access badges or Space Shuttle launch credentials will not be honored for access to Press Site 1 on launch day. After launch, media may leave unescorted for the return to Gate 1. At all other times, an escort is required for any area of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

For further information on CONTOUR launch accreditation, contact Linda Mullen or Diana Boles at the NASA-KSC News Center at 321/867-2468.


Media wishing to establish remote cameras at the launch pad should meet at the Pass & Identification Building located outside Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on State Road 401 at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, to be escorted to Space Launch Complex 17.


On launch day, Monday, July 1, the NASA-KSC News Center will be open at 1:30 a.m. and close after the health of the CONTOUR spacecraft can be confirmed and a post-launch press release issued.


NASA Television will carry the prelaunch news conference and mission science briefing beginning at 1 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 28. A two-way question-and-answer capability will be available from other NASA field centers.

On launch day, Monday, July 1, countdown coverage will begin at 1:30 a.m. EDT. Coverage will conclude shortly after spacecraft separation occurring approximately one hour after launch.

NASA Television is available on satellite GE-2, transponder 9C, located at 85 degrees West longitude. A simulcast of the NASA Television coverage will also be available on the World Wide Web at Additional information about CONTOUR is available at

Audio only of NASA Television coverage of the prelaunch news conference and launch commentary will be available on the "V" circuits which may be dialed directly at 321/867-1220, 1240, 1260, 7135.

The NASA-KSC News Center codaphone will carry CONTOUR prelaunch status reports beginning at L-3 days, on Friday, June 28, and may be dialed at 321/867-2525.

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