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1 DAY TO LAUNCH



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - A/C #31468

*06.30.06 Status Report: The Countdown to Launch Continues *
Launch week for the STS-121 mission officially began on Tuesday, June 
27, with the arrival of Commander Steven Lindsey and his crew at Kennedy 
Space Center in Florida. Flying into the center in a squadron of T-38 
jets, Discovery's crew arrived ready and excited for liftoff.

On Wednesday, Pilot Mark Kelly returned to the skies at the controls of 
the Shuttle Training Aircraft to practice landing approaches into 
Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility. The other members of the crew have 
also been busy making final prelaunch checks of Discovery, the orbiter's 
payloads and their personal equipment.

At press conferences throughout the week, NASA managers have repeatedly 
expressed their confidence in Discovery's fitness to fly. Discovery 
currently awaits launch atop Launch Pad 39B. According to NASA 
officials, the space shuttle's final preparations are going as planned 
and moving swiftly toward launch. The only obvious possible stumbling 
block is the fickle Florida weather.

*Afternoon Showers Could Dampen Discovery's Day*
Kathy Winters, shuttle launch weather officer, has forecasted a 
60-percent chance of regional thunderstorms grounding the launch for 
Saturday and Sunday. While rain is expected to be falling in nearby 
Orlando, anvil clouds from the storms could stretch back toward the 
Kennedy coast. The danger posed by anvil clouds is that the shuttle 
could trigger lightning by flying near them.

*What's Up Next*
On Friday, June 30, NASA Direct will broadcast the "STS-121 Astronaut 
Webcast 
<http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/launch/sts-121/webcast.html>" 
beginning at 11 a.m. EDT. At 7 p.m. pad 39B's rotating service structure 
surrounding the space shuttle will be retracted as a part of final 
preparations for Saturday's first launch attempt. On launch morning, 
technicians will begin pumping liquid hydrogen and oxygen propellants 
into Discovery's orange external tank at 5:30 a.m. to fuel the ship for 
flight. Launch week's events will culminate with the targeted liftoff of 
Discovery at 3:49 p.m. EDT on Saturday. The final countdown to launch 
can be followed on the Web with NASA's Launch Blog 
<http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/launch/sts-121/launch-vlcc.html> 
and NASA TV <http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html>.

*The Launch Team*
Learn more about the NASA team that's responsible for the events that 
lead up to the liftoff of mission STS-121.
+ Meet the Launch Team 
<http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/launch/sts-121/launch_team.html>
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