Launch Briefing and Events Schedule

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Mars Science Laboratory & Atlas V
Launch Briefing and Events Schedule

- Archive Page

(All times are Eastern)

All briefings for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) launch will be held inside the Kennedy news center auditorium and will be carried live on NASA Television, unless otherwise noted.


L-5 Days – Monday, November 21
Office Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

11:00 a.m.

  • Kennedy Space Center Radiological Control Center (RADCC) Tour: Safety Procedures for MSL’s Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) (Not on NASA TV)
    • Arrive at Press Site by 10:30 a.m. for 10:45 p.m. departure
    • Return to Press Site by 12:30 p.m.

1:00 p.m.

  • "What Do We Know About Mars?" News Conference
    • Michael Meyer (lead scientist, Mars Exploration Program)
    • John Grotzinger (project scientist, Mars Science Laboratory, California Institute of Technology)
    • Bethany Ehlmann (scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory assistant professor, California Institute of Technology)

2:30 p.m.

  • 21st Century Ground Systems Program Tour at Launch Equipment Test Facility, Operations & Checkout Building for Orion, Multi-Payload Processing Facility and Canister Rotation Facility (Not on NASA TV)
    • Arrive at Press Site by 2:15 p.m. for 2:30 p.m. departure
    • Return to Press Site by 4:30 p.m.

L-4 Days – Tuesday, November 22
Office Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

1:00 p.m.

  • "Looking for Signs of Life in the Universe" News Conference
    • Mary Voytek (director, NASA Astrobiology Program)
    • Jamie Foster (professor, Department of Microbiology and Cell Science University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.)
    • Pan Conrad (deputy principle investigator, Sample Analysis at Mars, MSL)
    • Steven Benner (director, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution)
    • Catharine Conley (NASA planetary protection officer)

2:00 p.m.

  • Mars Science Laboratory Science Briefing
    • Michael Meyer (lead scientist for NASA Mars Exploration Program)
    • John Grotzinger (project scientist for Mars Science Laboratory California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.)
    • Paul Mahaffy (NASA principal investigator for Sample Analysis at Mars investigation on Curiosity)
    • David Blake (NASA principal investigator for Chemistry and Mineralogy investigation on Curiosity)
    • Michael Malin (principal investigator for the Mast Camera and Mars Descent Imager investigations on Curiosity, Malin Space Science Systems)
    • Roger Wiens (principal investigator for Chemistry and Camera investigation on Curiosity, Los Alamos National Laboratory)

3:15 p.m.

  • Commercial Crew Program Status Update & Tour (Not on NASA TV)
    • Briefing at Press Site TV Auditorium by Commercial Crew Program Manager Ed Mango
    • Tours:
      • The Boeing Company (CST-100 spacecraft) at Orbiter Processing Facility-3
      • United Launch Alliance (Atlas V rocket) at Vertical Integration Facility, Space Launch Complex 41
      • SpaceX (Falcon 9 rocket) at Space Launch Complex 40
    • Arrive at Press Site by 3 p.m. in Press Site TV Auditorium
    • Return to Press Site by 7 p.m.

L-3 Days – Wednesday, November 23
Office Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

1:00 p.m.

  • Prelaunch News Conference
    • Colleen Hartman (assistant associate administrator, NASA Science Mission Directorate)
    • Omar Baez (NASA launch director)
    • Vernon Thorp (program manager, NASA Missions United Launch Alliance)
    • Peter Theisinger (MSL project manager)
    • Clay Flinn (launch weather officer 45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.)

2:00 p.m.

  • "Missions to Mars: Robotics and Humans Together” (Originating from NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston)
    • Doug Ming (manager, Human Exploration Science Office; MSL co-investigator at NASA Johnson Space Center)
    • Bret Drake (deputy chief architect, Human Spaceflight Architecture Team)
    • Matt Ondler (assistant director, Advanced Project Development)
    • Mike Gernhardt (NASA astronaut)
    • Dr. John Charles (program scientist, Human Research Program)

3:15 p.m.

  • 21st Century Ground Systems Program Tour at Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Pad 39B/mobile launcher/crawler-transporter, Launch Control Center Firing Room 1 (Not on NASA TV)
    • Arrive at Press Site by 3:15 p.m. in Press Site TV auditorium
    • Return to Press Site by 6:30 p.m.

L-2 Days – Thursday, November 24 (Thanksgiving Day)
Office Hours: Closed

1:00 p.m.

  • Closed for Thanksgiving Day Holiday
  • Any status updates will be posted on NASA's MSL website; Kennedy Space Center's media update phone line (321-867-2525); and Twitter page

L-1 Day – Friday, November 25
Office Hours: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

8:00 a.m.

  • MLS/Atlas V Rollout to Space Launch Complex-41 (Not on NASA TV)
    • Arrive at Press Site by 7 a.m. for departure
    • Return to Press Site by 10:30 a.m.
    • Rollout operation takes about 30 minutes

12:00 p.m.

  • Remote camera set up (Not on NASA TV)
    • Arrive at Press Site at 11:30 a.m. for departure

1:00 p.m.

  • "Why Mars Excites and Inspires Us" News Conference
    • Leland Melvin (NASA associate administrator for Education)
    • Scott Anderson (teacher and science department chairman Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts, El Paso, Texas)
    • Clara Ma (student, NASA contest winner for naming Curiosity, Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas)
    • Veronica McGregor (manager, Media Relations Office NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
    • Lauren Lyons (graduate student, Harvard University, FIRST robotics alumna)

Launch Day – Saturday, November 26
6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

7:30 a.m.

10:02 a.m.

  • Launch

12:30 p.m. (approximately)

  • Post-launch News Conference


Kennedy Press Site Office Hours for MSL

Times may be adjusted in real time depending on mission events and timelines.

  • Monday, Nov. 21: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 22: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 23: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 24: Closed for Thanksgiving
  • Friday, Nov. 25: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 26: 6:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

News media are required to be escorted by NASA Public Affairs at all times while at Kennedy Space Center, except when at the news center or the Complex 39 cafeteria. No photography is allowed anywhere other than the press site unless prior permission is granted by NASA Public Affairs. News media are allowed at the Press Site only when public affairs personnel are on duty and the NASA News Center is open.