The Space Shuttle Discovery will carry a crew of seven astronauts. The primary objective will be to test new safety procedures. The crew will also take supplies to the International Space Station. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin says this space flight will be the cleanest one there has ever been.
An advisory panel earlier this week said NASA failed to meet three of the 15 safety recommendations made after the Columbia tragedy. The July 13th date was announced after a two day review.
If Discovery is damaged during lift-off, NASA does have Atlantis ready to launch in the following week and will retrieve the astronauts from the International Space Station NASA considers that plan an extreme last resort.