STS 121 Discovery will be launched after STS 114 Atlantis and will complete its workload as well as delivering ISS cargo

NASA's Space Shuttle return-to-flight mission, STS 114 Atlantis, will be followed by a new flight, STS 121 Discovery, to complete tasks originally planned for STS 114 and to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. STS 121 will include spacewalks to continue ISS assembly.

The STS 114 mission to the ISS will test an extended remote manipulator system and sensors to look for damage to the orbiter's thermal protection system. Spacewalks will be made to test tile and leading-edge repair techniques and to attach a new gyro to the ISS. There will also be supply and equipment transfers.

Aware that Shuttle launches to the ISS carrying cargo will not resume until mid-2005, and will be less frequent than previously possible, NASA is to augment Russian Progress resupply vessel flights with increased use of the European Space Agency's unmanned Automated Transfer Vehicle and Japan's H-2 Transfer Vehicle. Less emphasis will be placed on Shuttle cargo flights, many of which have carried logistics modules on crewed missions to complete ISS assembly.

The next ISS expedition crew was to be launched aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft from Baikonur on 18 October for a 200-day shift in space. The Russian space agency's Alexander Kaleri, TMA-3 commander and ISS flight engineer/ science officer, and NASA's Michael Foale, ISS commander, will replace Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu, who were launched in April. Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque, flight engineer on the TMA-3 mission, will return to Earth with Malenchenko and Lu after a 10-day mission.

Source: Flight International