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STS-121 Pre-Mission Summary

Second Post-Columbia Test Flight

The Shuttle Discovery rolled out to Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39B on May 19, 2006 in preparation for the launch of STS-121 a test flight and re-supply mission to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled for July 1, 2006 at about 2:48 PM EDT. This is the first day in the July launch window that extends through July 19. Discovery will be launched into an orbit inclination of 51.6° to an altitude of 122 nautical miles. This 115th Shuttle mission will be the 32nd mission for Discovery and the 18th shuttle mission to the International Space Station. The prime Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site will be Zaragoza, Spain, with Moron, Spain and Istre, France as alternates.

Weather climatology for a July afternoon launch indicates a greater than 50% chance that weather Flight Rule and/or Launch Commit Criteria violations could delay the launch due mainly to showers or thunderstorms in the vicinity of the shuttle landing facility or launch pad.

Commander Steve Lindsey and Pilot Mark Kelly will lead the astronaut crew on this Space Station mission which will continue to test new equipment and procedures that increase space shuttle safety. They will also deliver supplies and cargo for future International Space Station expansion. In addition, Discovery will bring a third crew member to the station, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter. This will be the first three-person crew for the space station since May 4, 2003.

Discovery and her crew are scheduled to land back at Kennedy Space Center in Florida mid-day on July 13th if a July 1 launch occurs. The alternate landing sites are Edwards Air Force Base in California and White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico. Beginning two days prior to launch, forecasts may be obtained from the Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG). Additional information is available from NASA Public Affairs Office.

SMG’s ascent/entry team consists of meteorologists Rich Lafosse, Tim Garner and Brian Hoeth. Rich Lafosse will be the Mission Lead Forecaster; Tim Garner will be Assistant Lead and TAL Forecaster; and Brian Hoeth will be the SMG upper winds coordinator and will oversee weather-computing systems as the Techniques Development Unit Meteorologist. Tim Oram, a recently selected new SMG lead forecaster, will be training as TAL Forecaster.

Submitted by: Rich Lafosse
STS-121 Lead Meteorologist

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Page last modified: 2 June 2006