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STS-121 ON SCHEDULE FOR JULY 1,2006 LAUNCH



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468

*31 May 2006*
NASA Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale briefed the media about 
the status of the upcoming STS-121 mission during a mid-afternoon press 
conference on Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center Press Site TV studio.

Hale discussed the importance of the space program's Debris Design 
Verification Review meetings and detailed the types of testing already 
completed surrounding external tank foam loss. Hale stressed that more 
areas of the tank will be subject to engineering review and improvements 
for future flights.

Another point Hale underscored is that there will always be foam debris 
released during launch. Research and testing continues in this regard, 
but as far as the STS-121 launch is concerned, there are "no show 
stoppers," he said.

The Design Certification Review for the external tank will take place 
next week and the Flight Readiness Review is set for June 16 and 17 at 
Kennedy. The actual launch target date will be selected at the Flight 
Readiness Review meeting.

Mike Leinbach, space shuttle launch director, also was on hand to talk 
about the preparation milestones for Discovery. He said hardware 
processing has gone extremely well and between now and July 1, the team 
has been able to build in about two weeks of contingency time, which is 
more than ever before. "Things are going really, really well," Leinbach 
said.
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