Broken PAO at Wallops

Rocket Launch Scheduled January 22 From Wallops Flight Facility

"WALLOPS ISLAND, VA - A Terrier-Oriole suborbital rocket is schedule for launch January 22 for the U.S. Navy from NASA's Launch Range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Based on the approved range schedule, the rocket is set for launch between midnight and 4 a.m. The backup launch days are January 23 - 25. The rocket may be visible to residents on Delmarva. This launch will not be web casted nor will launch status updates be provided once the countdown begins. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will not be open for viewing the launch."

Keith's note: That's the entire advisory. Its almost as if they were trying to write a 140 character Twitter post. What an odd thing to put out. In other words "Here's less than three day's notice about a rocket launch that will send things into space. You might see it. We are not going to tell you anything else. Don't bother contacting us - we'll be closed - unlike KSC we do not work weekends.".

A night launch. How cool. You can see these things for hundreds of miles if you have an idea where and when to look. It's a Saturday night so the kids can stay up late. These things follow a known trajectory so you could encourage people to take photos, see who is the furthest north, south, west etc. to see it. And then you use the opportunity to a little public education and involvement, explain why this being done, etc. -- and then cross leverage this with the previous day's rocket integration facility ribbon cutting. But no. WFF has got to have the NASA record for the shortest, most infrequent, and often the most useless press releases and advisories that the agency puts out. And as far as PR 101 smarts: none are in evidence.

I can't imagine that people are going to be happy with this terse approach when Orbital and others starts to launch from Wallops. The following article talks about "attracting spectators in numbers previously unseen". Not if NASA WFF PAO is involved.

Wallops helps state industry,

"The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is one of only four FAA-licensed spaceports in the United States. The report states that NASA's decision to center suborbital rocket launches at Wallops and upcoming launches of Orbital Sciences' 130-foot Taurus II rockets there could increase the value of space tourism in the region and "is expected to attract spectators in numbers previously unseen in the past."

NASA Unveiling New Rocket Integration Facility At Wallops

"NASA will unveil its new rocket integration facility at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. EST on Friday, Jan. 21."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 19, 2011 3:11 PM.

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