NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

EVENT: An opportunity to enter the clean room in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Spacecraft Assembly Facility for an early, close look at the Deep Space 1 spacecraft, recently arrived from an assembly facility in Phoenix. Launching in July, 1998, it will fly by Mars, an asteroid, and a comet.

ANGLE: After Cassini, which launches in early October, Deep Space 1 will be the next JPL- managed mission to launch. It is the first of several missions in the New Millennium Program, designed to test and validate new technologies and instruments to be used in future NASA missions. Among the 12 technologies it will test is the futuristic xenon ion propulsion engine. Many of the staff members from the enormously popular Mars Pathfinder mission are now working on DS1.

PHOTO OPP: A three-story-high model of the Cassini spacecraft, scheduled to launch October 6, is in the clean room, not far from the five-foot-high DS1 spacecraft, providing a dramatic illustration of the traditional way of doing things (the Cassini mission cost is approximately $1.3 billion) and NASA's current "faster, cheaper, better" way (the DS1 cost, by contrast, is $139.5 million).

WHERE: Meet at the JPL Visitor Control Center, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena

PARKING: Visitors parking lot, across the street from the JPL Visitor Control Center. TV crews are advised to travel light, since there is a 5- to 10-minute walk from the parking lot through the Visitor Control Center to the Spacecraft Assembly Facility.

DATE: Tuesday, September 9

TIME: 11:15 a.m.-1 p.m., following the Mars Global Surveyor press briefing, scheduled for 10-11 a.m., or immediately following the briefing, should the briefing run late. Activities include visiting the viewing gallery and clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, observing the DS1 propulsion module being assembled next door in the System Development Building GETTING ONTO JPL: U.S. citizens must have a photo I.D., and non-citizens must have their passports. The walk-through is limited to 20 persons, so advance arrangements for each participant are required.

PRESS CONTACT: John G. Watson, JPL Public Information Office, (818) 354-5011.

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