Discovery to Move to Its Launch Pad

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Feb. 23 (UPI) — Space shuttle Discovery is being readied for its move to Launch Pad 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center for a flight to the International Space Station.

Discovery’s approximately six-hour, 3.4-mile journey atop a giant crawler-transporter is to start next Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. EST. NASA TV will provide live coverage of the event beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Next Tuesday will also mark the day Discovery’s astronauts and ground crews will participate in a launch dress rehearsal, known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, NASA said. The test provides each shuttle crew with an opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training.

The crew’s arrival at the space center is set for 7 p.m. Monday, with the event carried live on NASA TV, as well as a crew news conference March 4 at 8:40 a.m. EST.

Discovery’s STS-131 crew will be commanded by Alan Poindexter, with James Dutton Jr. serving as the shuttle’s pilot. The other crew members are astronauts Rick Mastracchio, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki.

The shuttle will deliver science racks to be used in space station laboratories. Launch is set for 6:27 a.m. EDT April 5.

NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video are available at

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