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|NASA Set To Launch Microgravity Science Mission, STS-87|
The next launch of Space Shuttle Columbia will begin a mission in which several major scientific activities are being overseen and supported from the Marshall Space Flight Centers Spacelab Mission Operations Control Center.
The 16-day mission features a wide variety of research into subjects ranging from improving semiconductor materials to developing stronger metal alloys, and understanding the effects of fires in space. These efforts make up the fourth flight of the U.S. Microgravity Payload (USMP-4).
In addition, key technology to enable automated spacecraft rendezvous and docking will be given an experimental checkout during the flight. The system, developed and managed at Marshall, is part of the effort to provide new technologies in support of the International Space Station and other future space vehicles.
Columbia is targeted for launch at 1:46 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Nov. 19.
News CenterThe Marshall News Center in Building 4200 will be open every day during the mission, starting at 6 a.m. CST. Hours of operation will be until 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and until 12 noon on weekends. The News Center will be closed Thanksgiving Day. The News Center telephone number is (256) 544-0034. Current mission status information, interviews with mission participants and photography/video of on-orbit activities will be available through the News Center.
Status ReportsWritten microgravity payload status reports will be issued once daily by the News Center at approximately 7 a.m. CST. The reports will be available on the Internet through the World Wide Web, on the Marshall Center payload homepage at: http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/Shuttle/usmp4/ or the payloads portion of the mission "Overview" section of the NASA Shuttle Web homepage at: http://shuttle.nasa.gov.
The status reports will also be available on the NASA Headquarters Public Affairs Internet Bulletin Board at ftp.pao.hq.nasa.gov. Media desiring to receive the status reports by fax should contact the News Center. Media may also access a daily audio recording on the status of science operations by calling (256) 544-6397.
Live Television InterviewsTelevision news organizations may arrange live satellite interviews with mission participants based at Marshalls Science Operations Control Center during the mission by calling the News Center. Interviews and supporting video of mission activities can be provided via NASAs satellite. Print and broadcast media may also arrange telephone interviews through the News Center.
NASA Television CoverageTwenty-four hour coverage of the mission, originating from both the Huntsville operations center and Mission Control-Houston, will be broadcast on NASA Television which is available via satellite and on many cable systems. For satellite receptions, programming is carried on GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude; frequency is 3880 MHz, audio is 6.8 Mhz. Mission science commentary inserts from Marshall Center will be broadcast daily between 5:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., while Shuttle operations commentary will be broadcast around-the-clock from Mission Control-Houston.
In addition to ongoing mission coverage, the USMP-4 Science Status Report, a summary of mission science activities, and periodic news media briefings will be carried on NASA TV. For details regarding programming, please consult the STS-87 mission TV schedule, available on the WWW or by fax on request.