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PHOTO GALLERY
Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery: STS-121

07.04.06

Liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-121. Space Shuttle Discovery kicks off the Fourth of July fireworks with its own fiery display as it rockets into the blue sky, spewing foam and smoke over the ground, on mission STS-121. It was the third launch attempt in four days; the others were scrubbed due to weather concerns. Liftoff was on-time at 2:38 p.m. EDT. During the 12-day mission, the STS-121 crew of seven will test new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, as well as deliver supplies and make repairs to the International Space Station. Landing is scheduled for July 17 at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility. Photo credit: NASA/Sandy Joseph, Robert Murray

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Launch Control Center personnel celebrate liftoff. + Large Image
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In Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center, Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach (foreground) cheers over the successful liftoff of Space Shuttle Discovery, watching it rocket through the sky on mission STS-121 -- the first ever Independence Day launch of a space shuttle. At far left is Stephanie Stilson, NASA flow director, who began conducting Discovery's processing operations in December 2000. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett


Liftoff as seen from the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building. + Large Image
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Viewed from the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Space Shuttle Discovery kicks off the Fourth of July fireworks with its own fiery display as it rockets over the blue Atlantic Ocean and into the blue sky, spewing foam and smoke over the ground, on mission STS-121. Photo credit: NASA/Gianni Woods


Liftoff as seen from the Launch Control Center. + Large Image
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Workers in Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center take advantage of the view as Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off on mission STS-121 -- the first ever Independence Day launch of a space shuttle. Liftoff was on-time at 2:38 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett


Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off. + Large Image
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Under clear blue skies, the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-121 kicks off the fireworks for the U.S. holiday in its third launch attempt in four days. Photo credit: NASA/Ken Thornsley


Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off. + Large Image
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Like a roman candle shooting through the blue sky, the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-121 kicks off the fireworks for the U.S. holiday in its third launch attempt in four days. Liftoff was on-time at 2:38 p.m. EDT. The countdown clock on the grounds of the NASA News Center shows 7 seconds into the launch. Media crowd the banks of the turn basin to capture the sight of the launch. Photo credit: NASA/George Shelton


STS-121 astronauts board van to launch pad. + Large Image
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Waving flags for the Fourth of July, the STS-121 crew heads for the Astrovan and the ride to Launch Pad 39B for a third launch attempt. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett


STS-121 astronauts leave for launch pad. + Large Image
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The STS-121 crew displays the spirit of the Fourth of July holiday with their flags and their eagerness to launch as they stride out of the Operations and Checkout Building. Leading the way are Pilot Mark Kelly (left) and Commander Steven Lindsey (right). Behind them are Mission Specialists (second row) Lisa Nowak and Michael Fossum; (third row) Stephanie Wilson and Piers Sellers; and (at the rear) Thomas Reiter, who represents the European Space Agency. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett


Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak + Large Image
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STS-121 crew members, including Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak, are happy to be making a third launch attempt on July 4. Nowak suits up in the Operations and Checkout building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida before heading to Launch Pad 39B. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett


The STS-121 astronaut crew eats a pre-launch breakfast. + Large Image
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Trying a third time for launch, and still smiling, the STS-121 crew gathers again for the traditional breakfast before suiting up. Seated left to right are Mission Specialists Piers Sellers and Michael Fossum, Pilot Mark Kelly, Commander Steven Lindsey, and Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson and Thomas Reiter, who represents the European Space Agency. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett


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