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July 18, 2008

Media Contacts:

Kristi Marren
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
240-228-6268 or 443-778-6268

NASA Lauds Two APL-Led Space Missions

Two APL-led missions recently received NASA Group Achievement awards and one team member was given the agency's Exceptional Public Service Medal.

The STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) team was recognized for its part in the design, development, test and launch of the twin observatories, which are capturing the first 3-D images of the sun and inner heliosphere.

STEREO's mission management team was recognized for efforts related to successful launch and operations, while its outreach team was recognized for outstanding work on the worldwide release of the mission's first 3-D images.

Andy Driesman, STEREO's system engineer, received NASA's Exceptional Public Service Medal for his outstanding systems engineering leadership and management of the STEREO project.

Since their launch on Oct. 25, 2006, STEREO's twin observatories have made history, taking the first 3-D images of a solar tsunami, a solar hurricane tearing off a comet's tail, and solar prominences floating above the sun's surface. The mission was recently extended for operations and data analysis through the end of fiscal year 2010.

The TIMED (Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) team earned its award for enhancing our understanding of Earth's upper atmosphere and changes induced by the sun, magnetosphere and human activity.

Since its launch on Dec. 7, 2001, TIMED's long-term study of the middle and upper atmosphere has shown how the regions react to an array of solar activity, including flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind streams and a total solar eclipse.

TIMED's observations have also shown that our upper atmosphere's energetics and dynamics are greatly influenced by varying inputs from our magnetosphere, such as electrical fields and auroral particles. The mission is also helping scientists to better understand the role of carbon dioxide in the energy balance of our middle and upper atmosphere.

The TIMED mission, recently extended for operations and data analysis through fiscal year 2012, will enable scientists to study a full 11-year solar cycle and better understand the effects of the sun's variabilities on our atmosphere.

For more information about the two missions, visit these Web pages: (STEREO) (TIMED)

STEREO is sponsored by NASA Headquarters' Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's (GSFC) Solar Terrestrial Probes Program Office, in Greenbelt, Md., manages the mission, instruments and science center. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., designed and built the spacecraft and is operating the twin observatories for NASA during the mission.

TIMED is also sponsored by NASA Headquarters' Science Mission Directorate and managed by NASA GSFC. APL designed, built and is operating the spacecraft and leading the project's science effort for NASA during the mission.

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