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NASA to Host Media Teleconference on an Asteroid Initiative Broad Agency Announcement

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 3 p.m. EDT Friday, March 21, to discuss the same-day release of its Asteroid Initiative Announcement of Opportunities.

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Telecon participants are:
-- Greg Williams, deputy associate administrator for policy and plans, NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate
-- James Reuther, deputy associate administrator for programs, NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate
-- Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA's Science Mission Directorate

This broad agency announcement (BAA) solicits ideas that will contribute to NASA's asteroid redirect mission, including concept ideas for an alternate asteroid capture system, rendezvous sensor systems, secondary payloads, feasibility studies on adapting commercial spacecraft buses, and commercial and international partnership opportunities for the mission.

Media who want to participate in the teleconference should contact Trent Perrotto at trent.j.perrotto@nasa.gov or 202-358-1100 by 2 p.m. Friday.

The agency also will host an Asteroid Initiative Opportunities Forum Wednesday, March 26, at NASA Headquarters in Washington to provide additional information about the BAA. The forum, which will be carried live on NASA Television and streamed online for virtual participants, includes an opportunity for organizations interested in submitting responses to ask questions about the announcement. 

NASA's asteroid initiative includes two separate, but related activities: the asteroid redirect mission and the grand challenge. NASA is currently developing concepts for the redirect mission that will employ a robotic spacecraft, driven by an advanced solar electric propulsion system, to capture a small near-Earth asteroid or remove a boulder from the surface of a larger asteroid. The spacecraft then will attempt to redirect the object into a stable orbit around the moon.

Astronauts will travel aboard NASA's Orion spacecraft, launched on the Space Launch System rocket, to rendezvous in lunar orbit with the captured asteroid. Once there, they will collect samples to return to Earth for study. 

The grand challenge is a search for the best ideas for finding asteroids that pose a potential threat to human populations, and to accelerate the work NASA already is doing for planetary defense.

For more information about upcoming events and NASA's asteroid initiative, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/asteroidinitiative

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SOURCE NASA

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