Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nasa News Today: Discovery and Crew Draw Closer to Launch Day

At Launch Pad 39A today, NASA's Kennedy Space Center technicians will pressurize space shuttle Discovery's main propulsion system for flight in preparation for its 6:21 a.m. EDT liftoff on April 5.

The STS-131 crew continues to slip their sleep schedules to accommodate their mission flight schedule, as they prepare to fly to Kennedy from their home base in Houston on April 1.

Last Friday, NASA managers gave Discovery the "go" for launch after an all-day Flight Readiness Review meeting. At the review, they determined that there were no unresolved issues that would prevent Discovery and crew from flying a safe and successful mission.

Space Shuttle Mission: STS-131

STS-131 payload canister is raised into changeout room at the launch pad.
Image above: Discovery's STS-131 payload canister is raised into the launch pad's payload changeout room. Image credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
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› Meet the STS-131 Crew

Discovery and Crew Prepare for STS-131 Mission

Commander Alan Poindexter is set to lead the STS-131 mission to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery. Joining Poindexter will be Pilot Jim Dutton and Mission Specialists Rick Mastracchio, Clay Anderson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Discovery will carry a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks for the laboratories aboard the station. The mission has three planned spacewalks, with work to include replacing an ammonia tank assembly, retrieving a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior, and switching out a rate gyro assembly on the S0 segment of the station’s truss structure.

STS-131 will be the 33rd shuttle mission to the station.