Discovery Roars into Space Once Again

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 5 (UPI) — Space shuttle Discovery was launched from the Kennedy Space Center Monday on a 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

The STS-131 mission, which lifted off at 6:21 a.m. EDT, is being led by astronaut Alan Poindexter and is the next-to-last flight for Discovery — the oldest shuttle in service, NASA said. Only three shuttle missions are left, with Discovery to make the final flight of the shuttle program Sept. 16.

Joining Poindexter are Pilot Jim Dutton and astronauts Rick Mastracchio, Clay Anderson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Discovery is carrying a multipurpose 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 removing and replacing a gyro assembly on the ISS truss structure.

STS-131 is 33rd shuttle mission to the station.

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