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Discovery's Launch Date Confirmed: May 31

Following space shuttle Discovery's May 3 rollout to Launch Pad 39A, access arms from the pad's fixed service structure are in place against the vehicle, secured atop the mobile launch platform below. Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) May 20, 2008
Space shuttle Discovery's STS-124 mission is officially scheduled for launch May 31. The announcement was made in an afternoon news conference held at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida following today's executive-level Flight Readiness Review.

"Preparations are going really well," Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach said, pointing out that Discovery's remarkably smooth processing flow will allow shuttle work crews to take off the Memorial Day holiday.

"Right now we're in great shape, and we really expect to have a good three or four days off this weekend and come back and launch."

There are two Flight Readiness Reviews before each shuttle launch: a program-level review and an executive-level review. During these routine meetings, top NASA and contractor officials evaluate prelaunch preparations and determine whether the vehicle is ready for flight.

Discovery's 14-day flight will carry the largest payload so far to the station and includes three spacewalks. It is the second of three missions that will launch components to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory.

The crew will install Kibo's large Japanese Pressurized Module and Kibo's robotic arm system. Discovery also will deliver new station crew member Greg Chamitoff and bring back Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, who will end a three-month stay aboard the outpost.

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STS-124 Astronauts Wrap Up Launch Rehearsal
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) May 12, 2008
The seven-member STS-124 crew participated Friday in a launch dress rehearsal at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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