Donald Savage Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-17547


February 7, 2001

Helen Worth/Michael Buckley Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD (Phone: 240/228-5113) NOTE TO EDITORS: N01-08 HOW TO COVER THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN ON AN ASTEROID: SCHEDULE OF EVENTS AND LIVE WEB AND SATELLITE FEED INFORMATION NASA attempts something never before done Monday, Feb. 12, when, starting at 10:31 a.m. EST, mission controllers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) will send commands to NASA's NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft. Mission managers will initiate a series of engine burns over a 4-hour period designed to bring the spacecraft down to the surface of the asteroid Eros. Due to the STS-98 mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, NASA Television will not be available to provide coverage of NEAR's descent and the post-mission briefing, now scheduled for Feb. 14. These events will be broadcast live on a separate Ku Band satellite, Telstar K5, 97 degrees West Longitude, Transponder 12, Downlink Frequency 11936 MHz Horizontal Polarity, Audio 6.2 & 2.8. NASA will also provide an Internet video stream of the activities originating from APL. For members of the media who wish to follow the NEAR encounter activities on the internet, Contact either NASA HQ or APL Public Affairs offices for access instructions and passwords. General public access will be available on a first-come, firstserved basis on NASA's home page at: The satellite and web feed schedule is as follows (all times EST):

Monday, Feb. 12: 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. - Live shots from the NEAR Mission Operations Center (MOC) - APL broadcast on Telstar K5. 11 a.m. - Breaking news to report results of scheduled 10:31 a.m. engine firing, broadcast on Telstar K5. Noon - NEAR Video File - APL broadcast on Telstar K5 1:30 p.m to 3:30 p.m. - Descent Activities from NEAR MOC. Broadcast live via Telstar K5 with simultaneous web cast. 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. - Live shots from the NEAR MOC broadcast on Telstar K5 Wednesday, Feb. 14: Noon - NEAR Video File - APL broadcast on Telstar K5 1 p.m. - NEAR Post-Landing Press Briefing in APL's Kossiakoff Center broadcast on Telstar K5 and live web cast Panelists for the post-mission briefing will be: - Dr. Jay Bergstralh, Acting Director, Solar System Exploration, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC - Robert Farquhar, NEAR Mission Director, APL - Bobby Williams, Navigation, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA - Joseph Veverka, Imaging Team Leader, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - Thomas Coughlin, NEAR Project Manager, APL To receive NASA's video stream you will need the latest version of RealPlayer installed on your computer and an active internet connection. The latest version of the software is available at: layer/index.html Media interested in covering the descent activities from APL should contact Helen Worth at APL Public Affairs Office at 240/228-5113. -end-