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February 23, 2000

[Avalanche News release] [Sandia National Laboratories]

Launch of DOE/Sandia satellite postponed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The planned launch of a Department of Energy (DOE) research satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., has been postponed indefinitely by base officials, pending the resolution of a down-range issue related to the planned trajectory of the rocket.

The launch will be rescheduled following resolution of that issue.

The Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI) satellite, designed and built in New Mexico by a government and industry team led by Sandia National Laboratories, includes a sophisticated telescope that collects day and night images of the Earth in 15 spectral bands ranging from the visible to long-wave infrared. The unique Sandia imager, calibrated at Los Alamos National Laboratory, gives the satellite the ability to "see" reflected and thermally radiated electromagnetic waves that are not visible to the human eye, with performance previously achievable only in a laboratory setting.

The satellite also carries a High-energy X-ray Spectrometer (HXRS) sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This instrument will collect data needed to better understand a rare species of solar flare associated with high-energy particle storms that can endanger astronauts and damage space equipment.

More information about MTI, as well as downloadable color images, are available at http://www.sandia.gov/media/NewsRel/NR2000/launch.htm. (Also available on the web is Vandenberg's site at http://www.vafb.af.mil.)

The Air Force Space and Missile Test and Evaluation Directorate was to launch the satellite into polar orbit early on Feb. 28, using an Orbital Sciences Corporation Taurus rocket.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

VAFB Public Affairs:
(805) 606-3595 (launch event attendance, pre-launch updates, etc.)

Sandia media contact:
John German, jdgerma@sandia.gov, (505) 844-5199

Vandenberg media contact:
Master Sgt. Tyler Foster, tyler.foster@vandenberg.af.mil, (805) 606-3595

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