Mission STS-121 has launched successfully, and the crew has begun completing the mission objectives. The space shuttle has docked with the International Space Station after extensive photographing during the post launch check for damage that would compromise the crafts ability to reenter our atmosphere. Reentry into our atmosphere has been scheduled for the craft so it would appear that NASA has determined that no anomalies have damaged the craft during launch. Further details will be made available on discovery.
This mission to space was to deliver new parts and a new crew member to the International Space Station (I.S.S.). The crew of Mission STS-121 was also to assist in repairing and upgrading parts on the Exterior of the I.S.S. in a series of space walks. The space walks were also used to test the ability to use the new 50ft arm of the shuttle for repairs to the space shuttle itself in the event of tile damage, or as an anchor point for astronauts as they repair upgrade various space vehicles or the I.S.S. itself. The data will be analyzed to determine if the arm is a viable option for future operations.
Testing and repairs to the I.S.S. are complete, so the crew now prepares to address the nation and continues to stow cargo, and ready the shuttle for reentry tomorrow.
A successful launch is good news for NASA as it would appear that the new level of caution, and the upgrades to the shuttle have proved effective in keeping the crew safe.
More information can be found at the NASA Mission Pages