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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.

Image: Discovery's STS-131 payload canister is raised into the launch pad's payload changeout room. Image credit: NASA/Troy Cryder › View larger image Discovery and Crew Prepare for STS-131 Mission Commander Alan Poindexter is set to lead the STS131 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 MetcalfLindenburger, 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.

Seated are Commander Alan Poindexter (right) and Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. From the left (standing) are Mission Specialists Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Naoko Yamazaki and Clayton Anderson. Image credit: NASA Commander Alan Poindexter will lead the STS-131 mission to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery. Jim Dutton will serve as the pilot. Mission Specialists are Rick Mastracchio, Clay Anderson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Discovery will deliver a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks to be transferred to laboratories on the International Space Station. The mission will feature three spacewalks. Mastracchio and Anderson will conduct three six-and-ahalf-hour-long spacewalks on flight days 5, 7 and 9 to replace an ammonia tank assembly, retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior and switch out a rate gyro assembly on the S0 element of the station’s truss.


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