Press Access Limited for Shuttle Launch
Most journalists covering the launch of the space shuttle Discovery will be moved to a remote site during the actual launch and be allowed to return to the press site only after the shuttle has lifted away, NASA and the Air Force announced Monday.
The precautions are being taken because studies “have shown that the danger to persons on the ground is much greater than was understood should an accident occur,” the announcement said.
Media personnel in the past have observed the launch of space shuttles from a press area about 3 miles from the launch pad. Invited guests, including astronaut families, watched from a nearby VIP area. Under the new plans, both areas will be cleared just before and during the launch, the announcement said.