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Behind the Scenes With STEREO's Launch Directors
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Next on the NASA Space Shuttle Status Report:

A repeat success - Discovery is home, mission STS-121 is complete and now NASA is preparing for another thrilling mission to the International Space Station.

We're counting down to the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, and the NASA Space Shuttle Status Report starts right now!

After a star-spangled, spectacular launch on the Fourth of July, Space Shuttle Discovery completed its successful 12-day mission with a flawless landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Newly placed cameras on the shuttle's solid rocket boosters provided unprecedented images of the shuttle as it became the first manned spacecraft to launch on Independence Day.

Hello, I'm Spencer Woodward, NASA test director, and this is the Space Shuttle Status Report, your in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at NASA's space shuttle fleet.

Led by Commander Steve Lindsey, Discovery's mission goes down in history as a complete success.

Mission highlights include three spacewalks to test various shuttle repair techniques, including the use of the boom extension as a work platform.

With that, NASA looks ahead with an ambitious launch calendar to resume construction of the International Space Station. Space Shuttle Atlantis is now at the pad and ready to fly.

Orbiter Atlantis last flew on mission STS-110 in April of 2002.

Even while orbiter Discovery flew on two missions in 12 months, crews at Kennedy Space Center were busy readying Atlantis simultaneously and now she's ready to go.

Atlantis rolled from the Orbiter Processing Facility over to the massive Vehicle Assembly Building on July 24. That's where the orbiter was attached to its orange external fuel tank and twin white solid rocket boosters. NASA calls this process "rollover."

After that, the complete shuttle stack rolled out to Launch Pad 39-B beginning at 1:05 a.m. Eastern time on August 2. NASA calls this stage of launch readiness "rollout."

The one-mile-per-hour trip atop the crawler transporter took just under eight hours. Poised against the brilliant Florida sunrise, Atlantis waits for a launch window that opens in late August.

After launch, Atlantis' crew of six astronauts will spend 11 days on orbit. Their goal? Resuming construction of the International Space Station. The crew will deliver and install what's called the Port 3/4 truss segment with its two large solar arrays. The segment weighs 35,000 pounds and will help to power the station. It will take three spacewalks to install the hardware.

That's all the time we have for this week's space shuttle status report. Next week, we'll introduce you to the crew of STS-115 and watch as they go through a mock launch countdown at the Kennedy Space Center.

Until next time, stay with NASA TV and nasa-dot-gov for the latest in shuttle and rocket mission news.

For the NASA Space Shuttle Status Report
I'm Spencer Woodward.

Go, Atlantis!

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