Following the Flight Readiness Review meetings on June 16 and 17 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, senior managers have signed the Certification of Flight Readiness confirming that the orbiter, flight crew and payloads are fit to fly. Officials approved a July 1 launch date for the STS-121 mission to the International Space Station. Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator said "You'll hear that there are many different viewpoints on the issue of whether we're ready to fly or not, [I feel] we are."
William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Space Operations said "It was a tremendously good review. We were really careful in this. We reviewed everything we could and we think we are ready to go and fly."
"The ice frost ramps were one of the most vigorously discussed items. This [foam loss], is what we expect to see in flight. So when we get this data down, you should not be surprised," continued Gerstenmaier.
"We are not tracking any major issues which would delay launch," said NASA Launch Director, Mike Leinbach. "Our countdown starts on June 28 leading to T-0 on July 1. We see no reason why we can't go July 1 from our perspective. We are in good shape with Discovery on the Pad and good shape with Atlantis as well."
The Flight Readiness Review normally held about two weeks prior to launch is a complete review of all of the activities and elements needed to safely and successfully process Discovery from prelaunch through landing.
The STS-121 mission will visit the International Space Station and continue evaluating new shuttle safety improvements. At least two spacewalks are planned during the 12-day mission, which also includes repair work to the station.