Crews at Launch Pad 39A finished installing the STS-131 payload into space shuttle Discovery’s cargo bay as launch preparations at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida reach the final stretch.
Discovery’s STS-131 payload canister is raised into the launch pad’s payload changeout room. Image credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
Technicians are working to connect the necessary electrical connections and closeout procedures on the vehicle’s aft compartment are expected to be completed tomorrow.
At NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Discovery’s astronaut crew members are set to begin their gradual sleep shift in preparation for the mission.
Commander Alan Poindexter and Mission Specialists James P. Dutton Jr. and Clayton Anderson will fly T-38 jets to Kennedy for additional flight training time in the Shuttle Training Aircraft.
Tomorrow at Kennedy, shuttle program managers will conduct the agency-level Flight Readiness Review. At the conclusion of the day-long meeting, officials will set the official launch date for the STS-131 mission, which currently is targeted for April 5.
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