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STS-121 STATUS-29 JUNE 2006


Image above: In the early dawn of Wednesday morning, STS-121 Pilot Mark 
Kelly prepares to takeoff in the Shuttle Training Aircraft at Kennedy's 
Shuttle Landing Facility. The modified Grumman Gulfstream II jet 
simulates the flight characteristics of an orbiter when practicing 
landing approaches or other maneuvers. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett + 
View Larger Image 

*STS-121 Launch Readiness Press Conference*
At today's Launch Readiness Press conference NASA senior officials were 
in agreement that Discovery is ready to launch.

Mission Management Team chairman, John Shannon said, "other than some 
questionable weather we have no constraints for launch. We are extremely 
proud of the team and ready to go on Saturday and do what the team does 

Mike Leinbach added, "cryogenic fuel loading is on hold due to a weather 
advisory. We have plenty of hold time remaining in the countdown so this 
is not an issue. We are not working any technical issues."

According to First Lt. Kaleb Nordgren giving a launch-day weather 
forecast, "one of our main concerns for launch is watching the anvils 
and we may have an isolated shower. In view of those things we are 
looking at a 60% probability of Kennedy weather prohibiting launch. 
There is just a 10% chance of probability of weather affecting tanking."

Participants included Mission Management Team chairman, John Shannon; 
Mike Suffredini, International Space Station Program manager; Mike 
Leinbach, shuttle launch director; Alan Thirkettle, International Space 
Station Program manager for the European Space Agency and U.S. Air Force 
First Lt. Kaleb Nordgren of the 45th Weather Squadron.

At the launch pad, preparations continue with the removal of the 
mid-deck and flight-deck platforms. Navigational systems are being 
tested and cryogenic reactants will be loaded into Discovery's fuel cell 
storage tanks.

Friday's Countdown Status Briefing with NASA Test Director Jeff 
Spaulding, STS-121 Payload Manager Debbie Hahn and Shuttle Weather 
Officer Kathy Winters will be broadcast live on NASA TV starting at 10 
a.m. EDT.

+ Watch NASA TV <http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html>

The launch countdown officially began at 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, at 
T-43 hours. Included in the countdown is nearly 28 hours of built-in 
hold time prior to a targeted 3:49 p.m. EDT launch on Saturday; it is 
the middle point in a launch window that extends for 10 minutes. The 
launch countdown will be conducted from the newly renovated Firing Room 
of the Launch Control Center at Kennedy.
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