1999 NASA EOS TERRA Satellite Pre Launch Press Conference

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A 1999 press conference on the launch of the NASA EOS TERRA satellite


Date Taken:

Length: 00:48:39

Location Taken: Sioux Falls, SD, US


Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the Terra pre-launch news conference. Here to discuss the spacecraft, the mission, and the countdown activities for tomorrow are Ghassem Asrar, the associate administrator for the Office of Earth Science at NASA Headquarters; Ray Lugo, the NASA mission director for this flight from the Kennedy Space Center; Tom Heter, the director of Vandenberg Launch Operations for Lockheed Martin Astronautics; Richard Ho, the Terra deputy project manager and spacecraft mission director from the Goddard Space Flight Center; and Captain Joe Kurtz, the U.S. Air Force launch weather officer from the 30th Weather Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base. And we’ll begin first with Ghassem Asrar. - Good afternoon. Very excited to be here this afternoon to celebrate the launch of the Earth Observing System Terra mission. Terra is a landmark for the NASA Earth Science Program. It’s a very unique spacecraft that will allow us to examine practically some aspects of the Earth as a system, as a planet, that has not been possible before. Terra will join two other spacecraft that we launched very successfully out of here, Vandenberg, earlier this year – Landsat 7 and the QuikSCAT. Joining some more – 20 more satellites that we’ll build and launch over the next three years. Together, these 25 satellites will give us, practically, the views of the Earth that have not been available to the Earth scientists and to the public before. And we will be able to practically examine every aspect of the Earth as a system and use this information to develop some knowledge of how Earth climate is forming, evolving, well into the future. Our hope is to use this information to build some conceptual models of the Earth that we can mimic the behavior of the changes that have taken place in the Earth system from the past to convince ourselves that these models are doing the right thing. And then, in turn, use these models to foresee the course of the future in the Earth’s climate and environment. Never before this type of approach to study the Earth has been possible. What has made it possible for us to build a spacecraft such as Terra that would allow us to look at the boundaries between different components of the Earth system? For example, before, satellites that were built, they either focused on the land or the ocean or the atmosphere. For the first time, Terra will enable us to look at the boundaries between the atmosphere and the ocean and the ocean and the land and understand how these different components of the Earth interact with each other. And that knowledge is essential to our ability to build this conceptual Earth system model that can mimic the past behavior of the Earth and then help us to predict the future course of the changes in the Earth. What are the practical benefits of having that knowledge? Think of agriculture. Think of commerce. Think of transportation. One can think of managing the natural resources. Those are the practical applications of the knowledge that we gain from Terra and the Earth science program of NASA. So, in addition to the spacecraft and building of these satellites, we are also putting in place a comprehensive information system management that’ll allow us not to only capture the observations from these satellites, process those observations, extract the useful information, make it available to the scientists, practitioners, and decision-makers all alike. The time limits of delivering this information or knowledge is equallyimportant to building  these satellites and having them in place. So given the complexity of these problems that we are tackling, clearly we have to have a series of partners, both domestically as well as internationally. On Terra, we have two very distinct partners – Japan and Canada. Each are providing an instrument that are critical to the success of Terra. And we will do so for the rest of the mission that we are going to build and launch over the next three, five years. So international contributions and partnerships is an essential part of what we do in Earth science at NASA. So I hope I have convinced youthat there is an exciting era coming up for Earth science at NASA, beginning with the launch of Terra. And we will be coming back to Vandenberg at least 20 more times over the next three years to launch these series of very successful satellites. And with that, I’m going to turn it over to my colleagues to give you a status of where we are with Terra and hopefully soon get launched shortly – tomorrow, perhaps, maybe? - All right. Thank you, Ghassem. Now we’ll hear from our NASA mission director Ray Lugo, who will talk about the countdown activities. Ray? - Good afternoon. Like to say I’m very happy to be here. It’s been two years, and I think that Lockheed Martin cut the tap root to AC-141, and so we should be ready to go ahead and launch it, hopefully at 10:33 tomorrow morning We just completed our readiness reviews this morning. And with the exception of one item, which I’ll talk about here in a minute, we’re basically in a ready state with the launch vehicle, the space vehicle, the facilities, and the launch team to proceed into the launch tomorrow. The issue that we have that we’re working and we’ll resolve later this – hopefully we’ll resolve later this afternoon is an issue that was discovered yesterday with a remote interphase controller. This piece of hardware is a piece of ground hardware that allows us to communicate between the launch processing system and the hardware at the launch pad that provides us the capability of servicing the rocket and monitoring the status of the rocket. What occurred was, one of the systems went offline, and the backup systems did not successfully establish communications with the ground system. And our engineering team – Lockheed Martin and NASA folks are off working to understand what caused the problem and then to make sure we have a good corrective action plan to proceed into tomorrow’s launch. And we’re very hopeful that we’ll be able to get that done today. One other thing that I’m sure most of you are interested in – as we all know, we’re launching tomorrow at 10:33. The shuttle is going to be launching tomorrow also, from the East Coast. And there has been some discussion of the availability of the TDRS network to support both missions. We’ve had a number of discussions with the shuttle program over the last few days, and what we’ve found is, once we reviewed the requirements very closely, the network was actually able to support both missions, especially considering that the two launches are about eight hours apart. Earlier this week, on Monday, there was a meeting between all the stakeholders at headquarters, and it was decided that both missions could proceed with a nominal launch of 12:16. So we feel as though the TDRS network problems will not be an issue for either mission. And we’re proceeding on with the – with the launch of both. As far as the countdown goes, tomorrow we’ll begin our countdown activities very early in the morning. Actually, I’ll be supporting a telecon on a weather briefing at about 2:00 a.m. And that’s based on proceeding into the activities at about 2:18, which is to bring up power on the vehicle. At about 4:00 tomorrow morning, we’ll do a TDRS link test with the spacecraft, and that’s to get confidence with the spacecraft and the TDRS network that we can provide the communications that we need. We’ll be transferring the fairing from air to GN2 at about 5:30 in the morning. We’ll have a weather briefing prior to starting the tower roll at a few minutes before 7:00. And tower roll should be about 18 to 20 minutes after 7:00, and it should be completed prior to 8:00 a.m. At 8:28, we’ll have a readiness report for cryogenic tanking of the vehicle. And that should lead down to a nominal final go/no-go at 10:22 a.m. And our nominal T zero at 10:33:25 a.m. We have a 24-minute-and-24-second window, and we would plan to use every second of that window if we need it. But obviously, we’re hoping to go on the very first second. About 57 seconds after launch, the ground-lit SRBs will burn out. Two seconds later, we’ll start the air-lit solids. At one minute and 44 seconds into the flight, we’ll jettison the ground-lit solids. And about 14 seconds later, we’ll drop the air-lit solids. The booster engine cutoff is about two minutes and 46 seconds. We’ll jettison the fairing at about three minutes and 11 seconds. And then the most important thing, which is the main engine start on the Centaur, will be at 5:01 with a planned stop of 11 minutes and 10 seconds in flight. And that will be followed by the successful separation of the Terra spacecraft at 13 minutes and 40 seconds. And, from my understanding with the spacecraft, we’re hoping to hear that the spacecraft is operating nominally within about 10 minutes after that event. And we’re all looking forward to a good operation tomorrow. The weather, Captain Kurtz has assured me, will be very good. And with that, I will turn it back over to George. - All right. Thank you, Ray. And now Tom Heter, the director of Vandenberg Launch Operations for Lockheed Martin Astronautics. Tom? - I also wish to greet all of you as well. I’m privileged to represent several hundred folks here at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Lockheed Martin Astronautics Launch Operations. Our operation supports Atlas, Titan, Athena, and MSLS missions here at Vandenberg. It’s very interesting to be at the point where we’re less than 24 hours away to launching the first Atlas-Centaur out of Vandenberg Air Force Base. It is accumulation and culmination in an awful lot of hard work over many years. The pad was under construction for quite some time. And then we’ve had the vehicle – as I know there’s been a lot of press coverage on how long we’ve had the vehicle on the pad And I’ll talk a little more about that in a minute. But one of the things I wanted to do is share a little bit about the history at Vandenberg Air Force Base for Atlas. I haven’t been here for all of it, but I’ve been here for anawful lot of it. First launch for Atlas was back in September 1959. Atlas was the first intercontinental ballistic missile used or tested. It flew out of Vandenberg. There’s been 281 launches from Atlas at Vandenberg. We’re still leading our brothers down in Florida by some 20 or so. But our last launch – and I was fortunate enough to be the launch conductor for that – was the DMSP mission off of Slick 3 West back in March of 1995. That really was the last Atlas launch. At Slick 3, to date, we’ve launched 71 Atlas vehicles. And tomorrow will be number 72. I want to provide a little information now on the vehicle processing, some facts about the pad, and some facts about the 27 months that we’ve had AC-141 setting on the pad. We originally put AC-141 on the pad about the middle of September. It came in a C-5A aircraft from Denver. It was offloaded, and within about 10 days, we were – we had it on the launch pad. The vehicle was originally shipped and sent here to support Pathfinder activity for the new launch pad we had just built. So the vehicle was used to test the launch pad throughout this process. It started back in September of 1997, and it ended in April of 1998. We performed a lot of integrated testing with the vehicle and the pad throughout all this process to proof the ground systems and such. And all that has been going on for quite some time. We did do our first simulated flight test back in January of last year. And we have repeated that test four times now because of various delays that have – that have occurred down through the process. To protect the vehicle during these 27 months – and I know that there has been several articles here locally. Basically, this particular pad we’ve built is almost like having the vehicle setting in this room. It is – it is nearly a controlled atmosphere. However, we do continuously run the air-handling equipment to control that atmosphere. We coat the vehicle periodically with a substance called WD-40. And those of you that go down to Walmart every once in a while know exactly what that is. Now, I happen to be around long enough to know even where it came from. And WD-40 was developed to control the corrosion on Atlas back in 1958 and ’59 by some of the folks down in San Diego at that time. WD-40 is used. We do periodic inspections to be sure we’re controlling the corrosion. We perform x-rays on the tank – on the tank welds periodically through the process, looking for corrosion. And had – when the vehicle was in storage after completion of Pathfinder, did place a – basically a tent around the bottom so we could keep the vehicle in a totally enclosed and basically controlled atmosphere, which we had for several months. Following that, we took the vehicle out of – out of storage, and we were ready to start the vehicle processing. And at that time, there was an issue with the Delta III down in Florida, where they had a problem with the – with the Pratt & Whitney-built engines. Atlas-Centaur uses a similar engine, therefore we stood down again until we became comfortable with the engines on AC-141. On the 8th of October – very recently – NASA, along with our own company, did concur the AC-141 Centaur engines were acceptable for flight. And so, at that time, we began back into the launch campaign for the EOS Terra mission with the [inaudible] of the vehicle on the 23rd of November. In terms of modifications for the launch vehicle – and Ray referred to the vehicle there to some degree, the vehicle was made to accommodate a larger spacecraft than the Atlas-Centaur had flown. The fairing assembly is significantly larger to accommodate the size spacecraft. This particular spacecraft weighs 10,506 pounds separated weight, which is the largest spacecraft Atlas-Centaur has ever flown – significantly larger than ones in the past. Therefore, there are some modifications on the vehicle to accommodate the added spacecraft weight. In regards to the launch pad, the Atlas team achieved a – basically, the initial launch capability  milestone for the facility itself way back on 30 September of 1996. That had followed modification – or, storage of the pad, but engineering design and et cetera of the – of the pad, which was last used in – I believe it was 1985 for an Atlas H mission. To get ready for Atlas-Centaur launch, we certainly have had to go through a major training exercise for our launch team. This is, for the Vandenberg operation, a totally new launch team, but we’ve done a lot of training with the Florida folks. We brought several Florida folks out here. But there’s been many, many, many hours of training to assure ourselves that our launch team is ready. And I can tell, you because I’ve looked each one of them in the face here in the last three days, that every single one of them is ready to support the mission in the morning with the lift-off at 10:33:24. And our countdown will begin very early in the morning. Assuming it is clear, and the weatherman over here tells us it’s going to be clear, we light the Atlas engines. About five seconds later, the vehicle will be clear of the tower. Ray gave you a pretty good rundown on the operation of the of the flight vehicle itself and some of the things that are going on there. So with that, certainly Lockheed Martin Astronautics and a tremendous team and a part of team Vandenberg is very proud to be part of this milestone. And we’re going to deliver Terra right where you want it tomorrow right on time. So with that, I’ll turn it back to you, George. - All right. Thank you, Tom. And now to Richard Ho, the Terra deputy project manager from the Goddard Space Flight Center. And he is tomorrow’s spacecraft mission director of the countdown. Richard? - Okay, thank you. I’m delighted to be here today. As Ray mentioned earlier, we completed the launch readiness review on Monday. And we just completed the flight readiness review this morning. And there are no open issues or problems on the spacecraft. So the spacecraft is ready for launch. We completed our final close-out of the spacecraft yesterday. And, even as we speak, there’s a Lockheed Martin Valley Forge spacecraft team preparing the spacecraft for launch – I mean, powering up the spacecraft and getting it ready for launch. So we are – we are ready. Oh, yes, I’m sorry. But it has not been a easy road to get here The spacecraft was shipped to Vandenberg in April. And I think, because the launch vehicle problem on the RL10 engine, the final fueling on the spacecraft was delayed several months. So it has been – it has not been a easy path to get here. At the same time, we also were trying to get the ground system ready, which had to be placed a software module in there for the flight operation system with the – with the EOS mission operation system. So it has been – it’s not been a easy path to get here. And I personally have been in this project for about 10 years, since the days when this spacecraft was called A-1 spacecraft with 14 instruments and transformed into a much smaller spacecraft with five instruments. And the five instruments on board right now, three of them are provided by the United States. JPL provided the multi-angle imaging spectral radiometer – that’s called MISR And Santa Barbara Research Center – a Raytheon company – provided the – called moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer – MODIS. And the CERES – and CERES – that’s the cloud and Earth radiant energy system – is provided by Langley Research Center and TRW And I’ve been – Ghassem mentioned earlier, we have two international partners. The Japanese provided us with the ASTER instrument. That’s the – let’s see – advanced spaceborne [chuckles] – advanced spaceborne thermal emission reflection – I mean – radiometer. The acronyms in this project is a mouthful. And Canadian Space Agency provided the measurement of pollution in the troposphere, or MOPITT. And the spacecraft itself is provided by Lockheed Martin, the Valley Forge operations over at Pennsylvania. And the spacecraft weighs about 11,000 pounds. And it has a [inaudible] power of about 2,500 watts. And associated with that – besides Lockheed Martin, there are many subcontractors. For example, solar array was provided by TRW. The spacecraft flight computers and reaction [inaudible] are provided by Honeywell. The high-gain antenna is provided by Spar. And the S-band transponders by Motorola. Science formatting equipment by Orbital Sciences. And the solid-state recorder by L3 Company. And also the battery cells by [inaudible]. So you can see that this is truly a cooperative effort among many organizations and many individuals who have really invested a lot of resources and time to make this day possible. And on behalf of the Terra project, I really like to take this opportunityto thank everyone who  have made this project come into fruition. And I especially want to thank Lockheed Martin Valley Forge spacecraft team. Because of the extended delays here, they have to, at the same time, spend, you know, extra time out here away from their families in Valley Forge. And this is truly a really dedicated and professional organization. And this team should be highly commended. And just to give you a few – to finish up the timeline that Ray started, on the spacecraft side, starting – as I mentioned earlier, even as we speak now, the spacecraft is being powered up. At about 3:30, we’re going to start loading the spacecraft computers with the flight software. At 8:30 tonight, we’ll configure spacecraft to launch mode. And, at that time – it will probably be completed by around 2:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. And about 10 minutes before launch, the spacecraft will go on internal power. And after launch, at three – around three minutes, the payload fairings will jettison. And about seven minutes, we’ll turn on our transmitter, and hopefully, at that time, we will receive telemetry over at the EOC at Goddard Space Flight Center. And at about 22 minutes after the separation – actually, at 13 minutes and 38 seconds, the launch vehicle will separate from the spacecraft. And from 22 to 35 minutes, the solar array will deploy And if that goes well, then a couple hours later, we will also deploy the high-gain antenna. So this is what the timeline is for tomorrow. And I believe it’s all going to go well. Turn it back to you, George. - All right. We have a tape now that shows some of the spacecraft here at Vandenberg and some animation that will cover a little bit about what Mr. Ho has been talking about. So if we could have that tape now and, Richard, you could narrate that for us. - That is the spacecraft in the Astrotech facility. And you can see – well, you see there’s the high-gain antenna. It’s just going to be a – one of the radiators there. It is being held up by the three-axis positioner. Being lifted in the vertical position. I believe that’s when we are getting ready to – for encapsulating the spacecraft. Here’s a picture of the launch vehicle separating from the spacecraft. And here the solar arrays deploy. And it’s rotated – you know, rotated so that the solar cells will be facing the sun. And later on, the high-gain antenna is deployed. And you can see the gimble movements – try to rotate and check out the high-gain antenna. - All right. Thank you, Richard. And we’re ready now to take questions. We’ll begin first here at Vandenberg. - Weather. - Oh, I’m sorry. - Very important for tomorrow. - We’re going to miss the most important part of the – press is here. - All right. Captain Joe Kurtz on the forecast. - Good afternoon. I’m just going to give you – provide a brief overview of weather conditions I expect for the launch tomorrow morning. Satellite – you can see on the right here – we’ve got an upper-level ridge that’s building in into the West Coast. You can see California is quite clear right now. We do have some mid- and upper-level cloud that’s working its way into northern California. We may see some scattered mid-and upper-level clouds move into the area tomorrow morning. Don’t anticipate much of a problem – that cloud cover. We also do have a surface high pressure that’s building into the Great Basin. It gives us an offshore flow here at Vandenberg. Overnight, we’re going to see winds about 10 to 15 knotsfrom the east overnight. It will dry out the atmosphere. Won’t see any fog or anything tomorrow morning. It will cool us down. We’re looking for temperatures – low temperatures to be in the upper 30s to around 40 degrees for the overnight. But by launch tomorrow, we’re just expecting some scattered – again, scattered mid- and level high clouds. Temperature for launch should be about 52 to 56 degrees. And by launch time, we’re expecting winds to be about 8 to 12 knots from the north-northeast. Overall, right now, I’m going with a 10% probability of violating any weather constraints that we have. But right now, it looks pretty good for launch from a weather perspective. - Right. Thank you, Captain Kurtz. And Ray Lugo has a closing comment. - Yeah. One last comment. And I realize here, before we finish this, that we didn’t recognize one important organization. The National Reconnaissance Organization actually funded the construction of the Slick 3 East pad that we’re going to be using. And we’re actually the first use of it, so it’s – you know, I’d really like to thank the NRO for all the hard work they did. And, you know, the wing here – the range has done a great job. But the NRO definitely deserves some credit for being able to get the facilities ready for us to support the Terra launch tomorrow. And I want to make sure that we recognize their efforts also. So thank you very much. - All right. Thank you, Ray. And now we’re ready for questions. First here at Vandenberg. Janene? And please wait for the mic to come to you so everyone can hear. - Janene Scully, Santa Maria Times. Can someone give us a breakdown on – money-wise on the [chuckles] – sorry – the satellite, the rocket, and operations? Or something therein? - Richard, you want to take that? - Yeah. The spacecraft is about $1.2 billion. And the operations center, of course, about – I think about $90 million. - Say again? Ninety? - Ninety, yeah. - I’d like to give you the answer on the launch vehicle, but I don’t see my mission integration manager in the room. But I’ll get back to you on that one. - Any other … - Oh, hold on a second. Mike Stelzer is in the back. Mike, you want to answer that? - Wait for the mic, Mike. - Wait for the mic. - Yeah, on the launch – Mike Stelzer, mission integration manager for Kennedy Space Center. On the launch service, of course, as Ray mentioned, we have a highly modified vehicle for this launch because of the increased weight of it. So a lot of the launch service costs that we have are combined with the basic service that we had, plus the modifications that we’ve done, plus the modifications to the launch pad to accommodate this vehicle. So currently, the launch cost we have is a little bit over $100 million – in the 100 to $140 million range. - Thank you, Mike. - By the way, this was included in the figure that Richard gave you – 1.3 is the sum of all the expenses associated with this mission. Basically, the spacecraft, the – so the instruments that U.S. provided, the – everything. And the 90 – the figure of $90 million covers the ground segment. That supports, basically, the capturing of the data, processing, managing it, and making it available to the end users, including the spacecraft ops. - Yes, over here? - Mike Mecham with Aviation Week. Do you have a – just to follow up whatyou were just saying, what about the Canadian and Japanese instruments? Can we put a total cost on this vehicle? - I personally don’t have the figures for their respective instruments. But Mr. Steitz, our PAO officer, can help secure that information. We have Canadians and Japanese representatives at the Marriott hotel. And we were anticipating this question might come up. We asked them the question. We didn’t get the answer in time for me – before I came over here. But we’ll get you that information. - Okay. Just a little – what other – can you run down where this pad will be used in the future? - Only thing – and I can probably defer that to Tom Heter – is there is one NRO one. - We have – the facility was built in support of the NRO. There are – there are several NRO missions currently planned for the use of this pad, the schedule of which is still yet to be determined. I don’t think I – we’re planning on a mission sometime the last quarter of next year for the NRO – in that ballpark. - But it would be needed for either the Chemistry or the PM because they’re smaller vehicles, right? - I’m not sure we’ve selected the – I think we’ve selected PM as on Delta … - Both of them, yeah. - Okay. So … - Both of them are on Delta. - Right. And so, yeah, that’s correct. We would not need it for those two missions. - All right. We’re going to go to Kennedy Space Center and take a couple questions, and then we’ll come back here. Kennedy? - This is Justin Ray from SpaceFlightNow.com. I had a couple of questions. I was wondering first, Ray, could you … - Can’t hear you. - We can’t hear you. - … talk a little bit when you expect this technical issue to be resolved? Is that something that’s going to happen today? Or is this going to linger until tomorrow? And when do you need it be resolved by in order to support tomorrow? - It’s Justin … - Yeah. Justin, again, we just found that problem early yesterday morning. And initial indications were that it wasn’t going to be any kind of a problem. On further review by both engineering teams, you know, we’re trying to understand, you know, how the problem manifests itself, and is it a risk to the launch countdown. And we have fairly high expectations that, prior to the 4:30 meeting today,the engineering teams will understand the phenomenon and will either have a corrective action in place or we’ll understand it well enough to proceed with understanding what the risks are. But right now, we do not see it as a safety of flight issue at all. It’s purely a schedule issue. - Okay. And I was also wondering if you could talk a little bit about range availability and launch attempts this week should you not go tomorrow for whatever reason. How many tries do you get before you’re looking at January? - I think I’m the only one that can hear you.Okay, on range availability, the rules here at the Western Range are exactly the same as they are on the Eastern Range. And we have tomorrow, which is Thursday, and Friday as a back-up. However, as everybody’s probably very well aware, is the Korean Taurus launch of Comsat has moved off of Saturday – or, Sunday onto Monday and Tuesday, which appears to provide us a third attempt on Saturday if we need that. However, we’re planning to launch tomorrow at 10:33:25. - And my last question is involving upper-level winds and range safety requirements. Is there anything at all that anybody is at all concerned with going into tomorrow’s launch attempt, just involving Atlas’ and Vandenberg and December and [chuckles] … - Okay. I think you’re talking about upper-level winds. And I’ll let Joe talk to what the predictions are, but one of the things that was done today is they – basically we had some balloons go up, and they ran the LARA model, which is the safety model for the nozzle closures. And the data came back that there was no issue with the nozzle closures on-base or off-base for tomorrow’s launch. And, although you can’t predict upper-level winds that well day to day, based on the weather system we have in place, we tend to believe it’s going to be the same tomorrow as it was today. - Well, actually, there’s a little correction. The model that safety ran was not off – based off of today’s balloon run. It was based off of a forecast that I did from surface to 65,000 feet. Basically, we’re looking for winds in the lowest 20,000 feet to be out of the northeast then become northwesterly up to around 45,000 feet, and then back northeasterly at about 45,000 feet. And, as Mr. Lugo said, safety did run their debris analysis based off of my forecast, and it did look good for debris and nozzle closures. - And from what Joe has told me, he says tomorrow looks good, and Friday looks good, and Saturday, maybe not quite as good, but probably good enough if we needed it. That answer your question? I hope it did. - All right. That’s all from Kennedy, and we’ll come back here. Take a question right here. - [inaudible] … - Wait for the mic, please. - Nora Wallace, Santa Barbara News-Press. Could someone quantify for me the amount of information that will be coming back on a daily basis from Terra in something other than gigabytes and – [laughter] – something that we can explain to our readers? - I would like to invite Dr. Yoram Kaufman, who is the project scientist for this mission to speak to that issue. I think he’s the most qualified person. Would you please give the microphone to Yoram Kaufman? - I guess your question is about the science that Terra will do. And we are all very excited about this mission because, as Dr. Ghassem Asrar mentioned earlier, this is – for the first time that we’ll have five state-of-the-art instruments, very well- characterized, very well-calibrated, and suited for their missions to observe the Earth as a living planet. So we can see how the land, the ocean, the atmosphere work together, affect the radiation budget, affect the greenhouse warming, so we can understand how the Earth is changing, how the climate is changing with the natural and manmade effects on this planet. - They were asking a question about the – somehow quantify the amount of information … - The amount of data. - … that is resulting, other than gigabits and megabits – you know, in terms of – is it comparable to an encyclopedia? And is it comparable to … - Right. - … a two-hour movie loop that you put together?  That’s basically that – okay. - Yeah. Yeah. I was afraid of it, but I think, as science is … [laughter] The science is more exciting. I don’t know the exact figures, but the amount of data is tremendous. And this is why NASA built the EROS the EROS dish – the information system, which will be able to handle the data. But what I want to mention in this regard is that we’ll have software available – science software available that will generate scientific information out of the data in different dimensions, including data sets that are very small, and every high school student that will be interested in it will be able to put it in his computer, which is data on a degree – square resolution, latitude, longitude. So it’s not that every user will have to use this encyclopedia a second, I’m guessing, or something like this. But it will also be possible to use much smaller data sets. - Let me give it a try. - Thank you. - One of the instruments called MODIS will basically view the entire planet every other day. In other words, put the – a picture together that you can see with the resolution of roughly 1 kilometer, and in some cases, a quarter of a kilometer, what is happening to the entire planet practically every day. From that, you can generate a movie loop of the evolution of the coastal blooms or the greening up of the continents on a seasonal basis once every three months. And from that, you can quantitatively – that’s a key word – quantitatively – before, we could se the trends and the patterns. We couldn’t quantify them. This instrument can quantify the changes to better than 5% on an absolute basis. And see, for example, if these changes are due to the natural seasonal changes, or are they some local effects that changing the – the other instrument, called MISR, for the first time, with nine cameras, will give us three-dimensional perspectives of the clouds, the oceans, and the land masses that have never been available. Like, you know, the best we have had, two cameras, or three cameras, looking off-axis to give us parallax. Just imagine the combination of nine cameras looking a nine different angles – give you three-dimensional perspective of the planet at 360 degrees. And you can build all kinds of information about how the cloudsare forming, the particles that are suspended in the atmosphere that form – contribute to the formation of clouds. And ultimately, understand how the clouds modulate the temperature of our planet. Another instrument by Canadians, for the first time, will give us the mapping of carbonmonoxide globally. And methane globally. Those are two key component gases that have been controversial about the cycling of the carbon through the planet. Life on Earth is carbon-based. Yet we don’t understand how much carbon is coming into and going out of these systems. And that, together with MODIS, will help us build that picture on a seasonal basis. So, again – and do it quantitatively. Not only look at the patterns and the movies, but quantify how much carbon is coming out or going into these systems. Those are just examples of the type of knowledge that this mission is going to generate. And for the first time, if you can imagine that, now, being able to look at the interaction that takes place between the atmosphere and the ocean and the land masses and the oceans, and likewise, land masses and the atmosphere. That is the key point that this mission is going to get to. No other mission before has been able to help us look at the boundaries of atmosphere, ocean, and land. And this mission will enable us to do so for the first time ever in the history of Earth sciences from space. - All right. Another question here from Aviation Week? - Can I get a 50-cent explanation of what the issue is with the upper-level winds? You talked about nozzles for a moment, and the fact that it was benign on thembut what’s the – tell me  what that means, please. - Okay, what happens is – think of a – it’s not a nozzle.It’s what we call a nozzle closure.Okay, it’s like a cover.And think of that nozzle closure as something like a Frisbee, okay? What happens is – I think it’s, like,59 seconds after launch, we light the air-lit solid rocket motors. And when we light them, this little Frisbee blows out ofthe end of the nozzle, okay? And so it’s like a Frisbee. And based on how the winds are blowing, it could either land on base, or it can land in the ocean. And what we want it to do is land in the ocean, preferably. If not in the ocean, we want it to land on base. And where we don’t want it to land is insomebody’s backyard. Does that help? - So the issue is not really with the vehicle. The issue is with debris concerns for … - Exactly. - Okay. - Exactly. - Any further questions? All right, here again the second row. - I don’t know if anybody – this is another quantitative question. Can anybody tell me whether or not this is the most expensive mission from Vandenberg for either NASA or Lockheed Martin? - I can tell you, I think it’s the most expensive one we’ve launched for NASA.Okay? - And for Earth sciences NASA. Because, for example, the Chandra mission that NASA launched a couple months ago, that was a two – almost a $2 billion spacecraft. For the Earth science program of NASA – by the way, Chandra was for our sister organization within NASA – the space science that looks up – looks for the origin of the universe and life. We look back and try to understand how Earth evolved. So this is, by far, one of the most expensive missions that we are doing. - And I think, from Vandenberg, it would have to be the most expensive one we’ve had to launch from Vandenberg. - For NASA. - Yeah. Now, from the Lockheed Martin and Air Force side, it could be, you know, not the most expensive. - And I think, for obvious reasons, we’ll remain silent on [inaudible]. [laughter] - All right. Janene? - What has the delay of launching Terra done for EOS PM? - None whatsoever. I’m very pleased – and thank you for asking that question – because I’ve been chomping at the bit whether I should brag about that mission or not. For most of you who are not familiar, we have three major observatories for the Earth Observing System. Terra is the first one, followed by PM-1 – now is known as Aqua, for water, because it’s focused on understanding of the water cycling through our planet. And the third one is the Chemistry mission that focuses on understanding the evolution of the chemistry of our atmosphere of the Earth. The Aqua, or PM-1, is right on schedule. All instruments for Aqua mission were delivered to TRW, and the spacecraft and instrument integration has begun. And all those instruments have gone through the proper testing and have come through with flying colors. So we are right on schedule for the integration and launch of Aqua, hopefully next December – December 2000. So that’s the next – that’s not the only time that we come back to Vandenberg. We have a few other launches before that that I can brag about, but Aqua is right on schedule. None whatsoever. Actually, the ground segment that we have developed for Terra and the flight operating system will be used for Aqua as well. - Any additional questions? All right. One editorial note for those here that tomorrow will be going to the tower roll-back photo opportunity. That is moving up by a half-hour. You need to be at the south Vandenberg gate at 6:45 instead of 7:15. So please spread that word if you would – 6:45 in the morning. And that concludes the press briefing. Our next activity for Terra on NASA Television will be 8:30 a.m. Pacific time, hopefully tomorrow. Thank you.