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Dwayne Brown Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1726)

November 6, 1998

James Hartsfield Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX (Phone: 281/483-5111)



A series of background briefings on the upcoming STS-88 mission, the first Space Shuttle flight for assembly of the International Space Station, will be held on Friday, Nov. 13, starting at 9 a.m. EST, at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX. In addition, a mission science press briefing originating from NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, to address the next NASA spacecraft to be sent to orbit and land on Mars, and new technology testbed probes designed to penetrate the planet's surface, will occur on Nov. 13 at noon EST.

All of the briefings will be broadcast live on NASA Television with multi-center question-and-answer capability.

On STS-88, Endeavour's six astronauts will attach the first two space station components in orbit. They will join the first U.S.-built module, the Unity connecting node, with the orbiting Zarya, a Russian-built, U.S.-owned control module scheduled to be launched by Russia from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan on Nov. 20. Later in the mission, three spacewalks will be conducted to complete connections between the two modules. The flight will begin the five-year orbital assembly of the station, one of the most complex and challenging space endeavors ever attempted, and will kick off a new era of international space exploration that brings together the resources and expertise of 16 nations.

The briefings will begin with an overview of the early International Space Station assembly flights and STS-88 in particular at 9 a.m. EST. An overview of the Zarya module and its mission, the Unity module and station assembly in orbit will begin at 10:30 a.m.

The Mars mission science briefing will originate from NASA Headquarters at noon EST.

The Mars Climate Orbiter is due for launch at 1:56 p.m. EST on Dec. 10 on a Boeing Delta 2 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral

Air Station, FL, on its way to orbit the red planet beginning in September 1999. The Mars Polar Lander is due for launch at 3:21 p.m. EST on Jan. 3, 1999, on an identical Boeing Delta 2 from Cape Canaveral, toward a landing near the planet's south pole on Dec. 3, 1999. Riding aboard the cruise stage of the lander are two microprobes developed by NASA's New Millennium program, under the name Deep Space 2. The microprobes will be released just before atmospheric entry, and then will smash into the Martian surface near the landing site to test 10 advanced technologies and search for traces of subsurface water ice.

Extensive information on the Mars Surveyor 1998 missions and Deep Space 2 is available on the Internet at the following home pages:

A briefing on the spacewalks planned for STS-88 and the spacewalk preparations that have been made for the station's assembly will be held at 1 p.m. EST. At 2 p.m. EST, astronauts and managers of the United States' first space station, Skylab, will take a retrospective look at that program on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

The STS-88 astronauts will hold their preflight press conference at 3:30 p.m. EST. Following the press conference, the STS-88 crew will be available for individual interviews with media at JSC or by phone if arranged in advance. Those interested in individual interviews must contact the JSC newsroom at 281/483- 5111 by 1 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 12, to be included in the round-robin interviews.

NASA TV is available through the GE-2 satellite, transponder 9C, located at 85 degrees west longitude, vertical polarization, with a frequency of 3880 Mhz, and audio at 6.8 Mhz.

STS-88 / MARS MISSION PREFLIGHT BRIEFINGS, Nov. 13, 1998 (All times are EST)

9 a.m.: MISSION OVERVIEW Randy Brinkley, International Space Station (ISS) Program Manager Dr. Kathryn Clark, Space Station Senior Scientist, NASA Headquarters Bob Castle, STS-88 Lead Flight Director

10:30 a.m.: ZARYA, UNITY AND ISS ASSEMBLY Frank Culbertson, ISS Deputy Program Manager for Operations

Doug Drewery, Zarya Launch Package Manager Bill Bastedo, Unity Launch Package Manager

Noon: MARS MISSION SCIENCE BRIEFING Dr. Carl Pilcher, Science Director for Solar System exploration, Office of Space Science, NASA Headquarters John McNamee, Mars Surveyor 1998 Project Manager, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA Dr. Richard Zurek, Mars Surveyor 1998 Project Scientist, JPL Sarah Gavit, Deep Space 2 Project Manager, JPL Dr. Bruce Jakosky, Planetary Scientist, University of Colorado, Boulder


Greg Harbaugh, Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Project Office Manager, JSC Scott Bleisath, STS-88 Lead EVA Officer

2 p.m.: SKYLAB 25th ANNIVERSARY RETROSPECTIVE William Schneider, Skylab Program Manager Joseph Kerwin, Skylab 2 Astronaut Owen Garriott, Skylab 3 Astronaut Bill Pogue, Skylab 4 Astronaut

3:30 p.m.: STS-88 CREW PRESS CONFERENCE Bob Cabana, Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Jerry Ross, Mission Specialist 1 Nancy Currie, Mission Specialist 2 Jim Newman, Mission Specialist 3 Sergei Krikalev, Mission Specialist 4