The Space Shuttle has an important job ahead of it. It will play a big part in paving the way to the Moon, Mars and beyond. So, the Shuttle needs to be ready for what it has to do. Everything has to work perfectly.
NASA has spent the last two years working to make the Shuttle as safe as it can be. Many changes have been made during that time. Some of those changes will reduce the chance of problems during launch. Other changes make the Space Shuttle tougher.
Other changes will help watch for any signs of problems. New cameras will watch the Shuttle when it takes off. New sensors will make sure the Shuttle is healthy. The crew will check out their spacecraft when they reach orbit. Astronauts on the International Space Station will also look at the Shuttle. They will make sure it's in good shape before it goes home.
The STS-114 crew will test all of these changes. They will make sure everything works right. Then, the Shuttle will be ready to do its part for exploration!