NASA Offers News Media Access to MMS Spacecraft Feb. 18

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February 10, 2015
NASA Offers News Media Access to MMS Spacecraft Feb. 18

The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) observatories will be the focus of a media opportunity at 9 a.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Florida. MMS is a NASA mission led by the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The instrument payload science team consists of researchers from a number of institutions and is led by the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.  MMS will be launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket managed by Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Services Program. Liftoff is targeted for March 12, 2015, at 10:44 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

MMS is an unprecedented NASA mission to study magnetic reconnection, a fundamental process that occurs throughout the universe. Unlike prior missions which have observed the evidence of magnetic reconnection events, the MMS mission will have sufficient resolution to measure characteristics of ongoing reconnection events as they occur. It has the primary task of collecting data to understand the mystery of how magnetic fields around Earth connect and disconnect, explosively converting magnetic energy into particle energy via a process known as magnetic reconnection. MMS consists of four identical observatories that will provide the first three-dimensional view of magnetic reconnection. Because the four MMS observatories will fly through reconnection regions in a tight formation in well under a second, key sensors on each spacecraft are designed to measure the space environment at rates faster than any previous mission

The mission observes reconnection directly in Earth’s protective magnetic space environment known as the magnetosphere. By studying reconnection in this local, natural laboratory, MMS helps us understand reconnection elsewhere as well, such as in the atmosphere of the Sun and other stars, in the vicinity of black holes and neutron stars, and at the boundary between our solar system’s heliosphere and interstellar space.

Spokespersons from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center will be available for questions and interviews.

Full clean-room attire must be worn and will be furnished. Journalists should not wear perfume, cologne or makeup. Long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn. No shorts or skirts will be permitted. Because MMS is magnetically sensitive, magnets or devices containing magnets may not be brought in.  All equipment will be scanned for magnetic potential prior to entry. Camera equipment identified for cleaning will be cleaned by contamination control specialists before being taken into the high bay facility. The necessary alcohol wipes will be provided. Non-essential equipment such as suede, leather or vinyl camera bags or other carrying cases must be left outside the clean room.  Clean-room paper and non-retractable ballpoint pens will be provided.  No notebook paper, pencils or retractable pens can be permitted. No food, tobacco, chewing gum, lighters, matches or pocket knives will be allowed.

All camera equipment must be self-contained and no portable lights can be allowed. Flash photography will not be permitted; however, the facility has adequate metal halide lighting for pictures. Wireless microphones can be permitted inside the high bay if foam covers are removed; however cell phones inside the clean room are not allowed.

On Feb. 18, U.S. news media representatives may proceed directly to Astrotech, which is located in the Spaceport Florida Industrial Park, 1515 Chaffee Drive, Titusville. Access will be available starting at 8:45 a.m., and the event will begin at 9 a.m.

Only news media who are United States citizens may attend this event.  A government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license or permanently issued NASA news media accreditation badge from Kennedy, will be acceptable. In addition, proof of U.S. citizenship also is required, such as a passport or birth certificate.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, built MMS.

Media representatives should call Kennedy's media update phone line at 321-867-2525 on Tuesday evening, Feb. 17, to confirm the event is on schedule.

For more information about the MMS Program, visit:


George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

Susan Hendrix
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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