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NASA GIVES GO FOR SPACE SHUTTLE RETURN TO FLIGHT



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468

>Dean Acosta/Allard Beutel
>Headquarters, Washington                     June 30, 2005
>(Phone: 202/358-1898/4769)
>
>Michael J. Rein
>Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
>(Phone:  321/867-2468)
>
>NASA GIVES GO FOR SPACE SHUTTLE RETURN TO FLIGHT
>
>     NASA has cleared the Space Shuttle to Return to Flight. 
>After a two-day Flight Readiness Review meeting at NASA's 
>Kennedy Space Center in Florida, senior managers approved a 
>July 13 launch date for Discovery.
>
>Commander Eileen Collins and her crew are scheduled to lift 
>off at 3:51 p.m. EDT on the first U.S. space flight since the 
>February 2003 loss of the Shuttle Columbia.
>
>"After a vigorous, healthy discussion our team has come to a 
>decision: we're ready to go," NASA Administrator Michael 
>Griffin said after the meeting. "The past two and half years 
>have resulted in significant improvements that have greatly 
>reduced the risk of flying the Shuttle. But we should never 
>lose sight of the fact that space flight is risky.
>
>"The Discovery mission, designated STS-114, is a test 
>flight," Griffin said, noting that astronauts will try out a 
>host of new Space Shuttle safety enhancements. In addition, 
>Discovery will carry 15 tons of supplies and replacement 
>hardware to the International Space Station. July 13 is the 
>beginning of three weeks of possible launch days that run 
>through July 31.
>
>NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Operations, William 
>Readdy, chaired the Flight Readiness Review, the meeting that 
>traditionally sets launch dates and assesses the Shuttle's 
>fitness to fly. 
>
>"Today's decision is an important milestone in returning the 
>Shuttle to service for the country. Our technical and 
>engineering teams are continuing their in-depth preparations 
>to ensure that Eileen and her crew have a successful 
>mission," he said.
>
>Joining Collins aboard Discovery will be pilot Jim Kelly and 
>Mission Specialists Steve Robinson, Andy Thomas, Wendy 
>Lawrence, Charlie Camarda and Soichi Noguchi, a Japan 
>Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut. The crew will test 
>design changes that will reduce the chances of damage to the 
>Shuttle, procedures for in-flight inspection of the Space 
>Shuttle heat shield, and repair techniques -- all in response 
>to the Columbia accident. The mission also features three 
>spacewalks, including one to replace a Space Station 
>gyroscope.
>
>Aboard the Station, Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev, 
>a Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut, and Flight Engineer 
>and NASA Station Science Officer John Phillips will greet 
>Discovery. Krikalev and Phillips are on a six-month mission. 
>They have been aboard the Station since April 17.
>
>Returning the Space Shuttle to flight is the first step in 
>the Vision for Space Exploration, a plan for humans to 
>journey into the cosmos. The Space Shuttle will be used to 
>continue construction of the International Space Station, a 
>crucial test bed for exploration missions.
>
>For more information on Return to Flight, including images, 
>interviews with the crew, and descriptions of the 
>improvements to the Space Shuttle on the Internet, visit:
>
>http://www.nasa.gov/returntoflight
>
>-end-
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