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NASA GIVES GO FOR STS-121



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468

June 17, 2006

Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-4769

Tracy Young
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
321-867-2468

RELEASE: 06-241

NASA GIVES 'GO' FOR SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S LAUNCH

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA senior managers on Saturday cleared the 
Space Shuttle Discovery for a July 1 flight to the International 
Space Station. 

The decision was announced after a lengthy Flight Readiness Review, a 
traditional meeting in which top NASA managers and engineers set 
launch dates, determine whether the shuttle's complex array of 
equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for flight and 
assess any risks associated with the mission. 

"We had two full days of an intensive Flight Readiness Review," said 
Administrator Michael Griffin. "It was spirited and one of the most 
open, yet non-adversarial meetings I've seen since returning to 
NASA."

Commander Steve Lindsey and his six-crewmates are scheduled to lift 
off at 3:48 p.m. EDT to begin a 12-day mission, designated STS-121. 
Discovery's crew will test new hardware and techniques to improve 
shuttle safety, as well as deliver supplies, make repairs and bring a 
third crew member to the station.

"We were really careful to evaluate everything as thoroughly as we 
could," said Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill 
Gerstenmaier, who chaired the Flight Readiness Review. "But the 
review of the ice/frost ramp was one of the most vigorously 
discussed." 

The ice/frost ramps are structures made of insulation foam that cover 
34 brackets on the outside of the shuttle's external fuel tank. The 
ramps have been cited as a potential source of foam loss, which could 
cause damage to the shuttle. The Flight Readiness Review board 
decided the current design does not pose sufficient risk to delay the 
upcoming mission while design improvements for later flights are 
under way. 

Joining Lindsey aboard Discovery will be pilot Mark Kelly, mission 
specialists Mike Fossum, Piers Sellers, Lisa Nowak and Stephanie 
Wilson. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter will launch on 
Discovery and stay on the station for several months. 

Aboard the station, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, a 
Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut, and Flight Engineer and NASA 
Station Science Officer Jeff Williams will greet Discovery and its 
crew. Vinogradov and Williams began their six-month mission on the 
station March 31. 

For more information on the STS-121 mission, including images and 
interviews with the crew, visit: 

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

	
-end-



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