'Opportunity' Mars Exploration Rover Targeted For Launch July 6

For Release: July 3, 2003
Don Savage
NASA Headquarters
202/358-1727
George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center
321/867-2468
Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
818/354-6278

KSC Release No: 55 - 03
REVISED NOTE TO EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS:
"OPPORTUNITY" MARS EXPLORATION ROVER TARGETED FOR LAUNCH JULY 6
The second of two Mars Exploration Rovers, Opportunity, is rescheduled for
launch on Sunday, July 6 at 10:43:16 p.m. EDT. Liftoff will occur aboard
the Boeing Delta II Heavy launch vehicle from Pad B at Space Launch
Complex 17 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A second launch opportunity
exists at 11:26:02 p.m. EDT, if necessary. Should launch be delayed by
24 hours, two launch times are also available on Monday at 10:35:23 p.m.
and 11:18:15 p.m. EDT. The window of the planetary launch period extends
through July 15.
Opportunity will reach Mars on Jan. 25, 2004. Together the two MER rovers,
Spirit and Opportunity, seek to determine the history of climate and water
at two sites on Mars where conditions may once have been favorable to life.
The rovers are identical. Each rover carries five scientific instruments
including a panoramic camera and microscope, plus a rock abrasion tool
that will grind away the outer surfaces of rocks to expose their interiors
for examination. The rovers each weigh approximately 400 pounds. They will
navigate themselves around obstacles as they drive across the Martian
surface, traveling up to about 130 feet each Martian day. Each rover's
prime mission is planned to last three months on Mars.

ACCREDITATION

On launch day, Sunday, July 6, badges to cover the MER-B launch from the
Trident Bluff press viewing area will be issued to all media starting at
9:15 p.m. at the Pass and Identification Building on State Road 401
outside Gate 1 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Proof of
identification and news media affiliation will be required. Departure
for the Trident Bluff will be at 9:30 p.m. After launch, media will be
escorted back to Gate 1. A U.S. Air Force or NASA escort is required at
all times while on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
For further information on MER-B launch accreditation, contact Cynthia
Pettiford at the NASA-KSC News Center at 321-867-2468.

L-1 DAY SET UP OF REMOTE CAMERAS
Media wishing to establish remote cameras at the launch pad should meet
at the Gate 1 Pass and Identification Building of Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station on State Road 401 on launch day, Sunday, July 6, at
11:45 a.m. to be escorted to Space Launch Complex 17.


PRESS SITE OPERATING HOURS
The NASA-KSC News Center will not be open on launch day. All media
activities will be conducted from the remote press site located at the
Trident Bluff on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
NASA TELEVISION COVERAGE, "V" CIRCUITS, AND LAUNCH STATUS
Launch coverage on NASA Television will begin at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday,
July 6. Coverage will conclude after acquisition of the spacecraft by
the Deep Space Network approximately one hour and forty minutes after
launch, at which time the spacecraft's initial state of health will be
reported.
There will not be a post-launch press conference.
NASA Television is available on satellite AMC-2, transponder 9C, located
at 85 degrees West longitude.
Audio only of NASA Television coverage of the launch will be available
on the "V" circuits which may be dialed directly at 321/867-1220,
867-1240, 867-1260, 867-7135.

The NASA-KSC News Center codaphone will carry recorded MER-B prelaunch
status reports on Saturday, July 5 and Sunday, July 6 that may be
dialed at 321-867-2525.
"NASA DIRECT!" WEB COVERAGE
"NASA Direct!" webcast coverage of the launch will begin at 8:30 p.m.
EDT on Sunday, July 6. For more information on the MER-B/Opportunity
web activities, go to
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For a detailed NASA Direct! event calendar, go to:
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Information about the MER missions is available online at:
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Ron Baalke
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