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Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

NASA Announces News Conference on Next Shuttle Launch
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA managers have scheduled a news conference at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., no earlier than 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday, May 31, to discuss the status of the upcoming space shuttle mission. The news conference will begin after the conclusion of a Flight Readiness Review, a two-day meeting to assess preparations for shuttle Atlantis' mission, designated STS-117.

The May 30-31 review may produce a number of key decisions about the flight, including selection of an official launch date for Atlantis' voyage to the International Space Station. The current target launch date is June 8 at 7:38 p.m. The briefing participants are:

-- Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations
-- Wayne Hale, Space Shuttle Program manager
-- Mike Leinbach, NASA launch director

Also on May 31 at 9 a.m., the 13th and final edition of "NASA's Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond" will be released. The implementation plan demonstrated NASA's progress in safely returning shuttles to flight. This edition includes information on changes and modifications tested during the two Return to Flight missions, STS-114 in 2005 and STS-121 in 2006. This completes the Return to Flight effort that concluded with STS-121. For more details about NASA's Space Shuttle Program, previous versions of the implementation plan and the STS-117 mission, visit:

The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site. Media will be able to ask questions from participating NASA locations. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:

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