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STS-121 Milestone Gallery:
Discovery's crew arrives at launch site

June 27, 2006 — The seven member crew of the next space shuttle mission arrived today at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for their planned launch on July 1.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge
LEFT: STS-121 crew members, led by commander Steve Lindsey, address the media; RIGHT: Lindsey climbs out of his T-38 at KSC;
More photographs below.

"We're really excited to be here and ready to go do this for real," said commander Steven Lindsey to reporters assembled at the Shuttle Landing Facility, where a few minutes earlier he and his crew had landed in T-38 jets. Flying in from Houston, Texas, Lindsey said he and his crew were prepared for the mission.

"We went into quarantine on Saturday night in Houston and just finished our last little bit of training yesterday," said Lindsey.

Flanking Lindsey at his sides were STS-121 pilot Mark Kelly and mission specialists Mike Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson and Piers Sellers. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, also present, will stay aboard the International Space Station after the STS-121 crew departs.

"After years and years of training," Reiter told the press, "I think this is a remarkable moment, coming close to launch." Reiter will be the first long duration crewmember to represent a space program other than Russia's or the United States' aboard the ISS.

With no major technical issues currently being worked, all that remains between the crew and a July 1 launch (as of today) is the chance of rain.

"Discovery is ready to go and we're ready to go as well," pilot Kelly said. "Hopefully, we'll have some great weather Saturday."

The astronauts will spend the next few days at Kennedy preparing for the launch. Lift-off of Discovery is currently set for 2:49 p.m. CDT.

During their 12 days in space, the STS-121 crew will test new hardware and safety techniques that were developed as a result of the Columbia accident in 2003. Discovery's crew will also deliver supplies to and from the station and perform repairs that are critical to its continued assembly by future shuttle crews and missions.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge
LEFT: Piers Sellers seated in the T-38 that brought him to Florida; RIGHT: The seven-person STS-121 crew walks to the microphone;
LEFT: Mark Kelly and Stepanie Wilson climb out of their T-38 jet; RIGHT: STS-121 Mission Specialist Mike Fossum arrives at KSC;
Commander Steven Lindsey Pilot Mark Kelly
MS-1 Mike Fossum MS-2 Lisa Nowak
MS-3 Stephanie Wilson MS-4 Piers Sellers
MS-5 Thomas Reiter

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