Discovery to Be Launched Next Monday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 29 (UPI) — NASA officials say they’ve determined space shuttle Discovery’s equipment and systems are ready for its 13-day flight to the International Space Station.

The STS-131 mission — the second of the last five shuttle missions — will lift off April 5 at 6:21 a.m. from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Discovery will deliver equipment and supplies to the space station, including the Leonardo multipurpose logistics module, nicknamed “the moving van” by NASA. It will be temporarily attached to the station, filled with supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the station’s laboratories.

Officials said STS-131 will include three spacewalks to remove and replace a gyroscope on the station’s truss, install a spare ammonia storage tank and retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior.

Commander Alan Poindexter and his crew — Jim Dutton Rick Mastracchio, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, Clay Anderson and Japan Space Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki — are to arrive at the space center Thursday morning to begin their final preparations. NASA said the mission will be the first trip into space for Dutton, Lindenburger and Yamazaki.

STS-131 will be Discovery’s 38th mission and the 33rd shuttle flight dedicated to station assembly and maintenance, the space agency said.

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