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Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston

Oct. 16, 2006
NASA Sets Briefings to Preview Next Space Shuttle Mission
NASA will preview the next space shuttle mission during a day-long series of media briefings beginning at 9 a.m. EST, Monday, Nov. 6 from the Johnson Space Center, Houston. The briefings will be broadcast live on NASA TV and include overviews of the space station and shuttle programs, the mission, spacewalks and a crew news conference.

Space Shuttle Discovery's 11-day mission, designated STS-116, is targeted for launch no earlier than Dec. 7 on a flight to the International Space Station. Discovery will bring a new crew member to the station, and astronauts will rewire the growing orbiting laboratory to bring online new power supplies generated by solar arrays installed in September.

The rewiring during the mission will almost double the electrical power available on the station. Discovery's astronauts will perform three spacewalks to rearrange the station's electrical and cooling systems and install a small, new component of the girder-like truss. The work will require powering down and re-powering virtually all of the station's key systems in one of the most complex assembly missions to date.

U.S. media planning to attend the Nov. 6 briefings must contact the Johnson newsroom, 281-483-5111, by 6 p.m. EST Nov. 3. Foreign media representatives planning to attend, regardless of citizenship, must contact Johnson by 6 p.m. EST Friday, Oct. 20, to arrange credentials. Questions also will be taken from media at participating NASA sites. Reporters should contact their preferred NASA facility to confirm availability.

Following the crew news conference, individual astronauts will be available for prearranged round-robin interviews. Media may arrange participation by phone or in-person by contacting Gayle Frere at 281-483-8645 by 6 p.m. EST Nov. 2.

Discovery's crew members are Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Bill Oefelein and mission specialists Bob Curbeam, Nick Patrick, Joan Higginbotham, Suni Williams and Christer Fuglesang, a European Space Agency astronaut. Williams will remain aboard the station to begin a six-month stay. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, aboard the station since July, will return to Earth on Discovery.

Briefing schedule for Monday, Nov. 6: (all times Eastern):

9 a.m. Shuttle and station programs' overview
10:30 a.m. STS-116 mission overview
12 p.m. Lunch break (NASA TV Video File broadcast)
1:30 p.m. STS-116 EVA (spacewalk) overview
3 p.m. STS-116 crew news conference
7 p.m. STS-116 ESA briefing with Fuglesang (European only)

Fuglesang's 7 p.m. individual briefing will take questions only from European media present at Johnson and in Stockholm, Sweden, as arranged by the European Space Agency.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules, and downlink information, visit:

STS-116 will be the 20th shuttle mission to visit the station. For the latest information about the STS-116 mission and its crew, visit:


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