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STS-121 1:30pmEDT - 1 JULY 2006


*1:30 p.m. Status Update*
The astronauts are buckled into their seats inside Discovery's cabin. 
The STS-121 crew is now going through final checks inside the orbiter to 
prepare for liftoff.

Discovery stands ready for liftoff on Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space 
Center in Florida.

NASA's Freedom Star and Liberty Star are in position for launch. Both 
recovery ships are currently stationed out in the Atlantic Ocean 
prepared to tow the solid rocket boosters back to Kennedy Space Center. 
The boosters will then be scraped, painted and repaired (if necessary) 
and put back into service for another shuttle launch.

Steven Lindsey commands a crew of five American astronauts, Pilot Mark 
Kelly and Mission Specialists Michael Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie 
Wilson and Piers Sellers, and one astronaut from the European Space 
Agency, Thomas Reiter. This is the 18th U.S. flight to the International 
Space Station and the 32nd flight for Space Shuttle Discovery.

In Discovery's payload bay, the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, 
built by the Italian Space Agency, will deliver more than two tons of 
supplies, equipment and tools on its fourth trip to the station.

While docked, the STS-121 crew will test new equipment and procedures to 
improve shuttle safety, as well as make repairs to the station. Reiter 
will remain with the Expedition 13 crew on the station.

*Live Coverage*
NASA TV coverage of the launch and live launch countdown coverage from 
NASA's Launch Blog began at 10 a.m. EDT, July 1.
+ Watch NASA TV <http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html>
+ NASA Launch Blog 

NASA TV will broadcast a Post-launch News Conference with senior 
managers Saturday, about an hour after launch.
+ STS-121 Shuttle Mission TV Schedule 
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