Launch: April 5, 2010
Time: 6:21 a.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: April 18 @ approx. 8:30 a.m.
Site: KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility
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Master Flight Plan
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Welcome to Spaceflight Now's live coverage of space shuttle Discovery's STS-131 mission to the International Space Station. Text updates will appear automatically; there is no need to reload the page.
THURSDAY, APRIL 8, 2010Flight Day 4 is drawing to a close. The astronauts are finishing a day devoted to installing and activating the Leonardo cargo canister. Wakeup time tonight will be 8:51 p.m. EDT for the mission's first of three spacewalks.
1630 GMT (12:30 p.m. EDT)
1530 GMT (11:30 a.m. EDT)Our video archive for space shuttle Discovery's STS-131 now features more than a hundred clips. A full listing for Spaceflight Now+Plus users can be seen here.
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1330 GMT (9:30 a.m. EDT)A review of the procedures planned during the mission's first spacewalk occurred a little while ago aboard the space station for the Discovery and Expedition 23 crews. Rick Mastracchio and Clay Anderson will venture outside the complex early Friday starting around 1:40 a.m. EDT to move the new ammonia tank to the station, retrieve some external science packages and replace a device in the station's navigation control system.
Otherwise, transfer has the name of the game in orbit today for the astronauts as equipment is shuffled between the orbiter, station and now the newly opened Leonardo module.
1230 GMT (8:30 a.m. EDT)The latest version of the NASA Television schedule (Rev. C) can be downloaded here.
1200 GMT (8:00 a.m. EDT)The astronauts just opened the hatchway and entered into the Leonardo module at 7:58 a.m. EDT.
0950 GMT (5:50 a.m. EDT)Work in the vestibule between Leonardo and the Harmony modules is continuing. The crew plans to open the hatches and enter the cargo-delivery module this morning.
0805 GMT (4:05 a.m. EDT)Astronauts Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki, operating the International Space Station's robot arm, pulled a 27,274-pound cargo module from the shuttle Discovery's payload bay late Wednesday and attached it to the lab's Harmony module early Thursday.
Read our full story.
0615 GMT (2:15 a.m. EDT)In a pre-flight interview, Discovery commander Alan Poindexter previewed the work to open up the Leonardo module:
"Clay and Naoko and two of the space station crew members, Soichi and T.J., will help outfit the vestibule. They will make sure that the common berthing mechanism is completely secured and that all the bolts are driven all the way in. They'll outfit the vestibule and we'll do some pressure checks and thermal equalization. Then, once all that's done and we get the approval from the ground, we'll go ahead and open the hatch and then go inside and start outfitting the inside of the MPLM with lights, emergency equipment and stuff we'll need to work there for the next eight or nine days."
0500 GMT (1:00 a.m. EDT)It is going to take several hours for the astronauts to conduct checks and outfit the small passageway between Harmony and Leonardo. Opening of the Leonardo hatch and the crew entering into the module is targeted for approximately 8 a.m. EDT.
0454 GMT (12:54 a.m. EDT)The station's robot arm has released its grip on Leonardo and is backing away.
0424 GMT (12:24 a.m. EDT)The Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, named Leonardo, has been successfully mounted to the nadir berthing port of the International Space Station's Harmony connecting node.
Attachment was clocked at 12:24 a.m. EDT as the orbiting complex flew 220 miles over the South Pacific north of New Zealand.
The Italian-made reusable module making its seventh trip to space is packed with 16 racks, including four carrying experiments and 11 resupply stowage platforms. Most notably aboard Leonardo include a new crew sleeping compartment, a supercold laboratory freezer, an exercise machine and the window observation science assembly.
After Leonardo is emptied, no-longer-needed materials will be stowed into the module before it is detached and returned to the shuttle payload bay next week for the trip back to Earth.
0418 GMT (12:18 a.m. EDT)The first stage capture has occurred. The arm will be limped for the next stage of bolt turning.
0416 GMT (12:16 a.m. EDT)The station arm will hold Leonardo while electrically-driven bolts tighten to firmly connect the cargo-delivery module to the space station.
0414 GMT (12:14 a.m. EDT)With Leonardo is seated into the docking port, four ready-to-latch indications have triggered. Initial capturing of the module in the berthing mechanism is beginning.
0410 GMT (12:10 a.m. EDT)Now covering the feet to the ready-to-latch position.
0357 GMT (11:57 p.m. EDT Wed.)The "go" was just give to push onward to the ready-to-latch position.
0345 GMT (11:45 p.m. EDT Wed.)Known by its nickname Leonardo, or more formally as the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, this cylindrical structure is packed with new equipment, science gear and provisions for the station. The module is 21 feet long, 15 feet wide and weighed 27,274 pounds at launch.
0340 GMT (11:40 p.m. EDT Wed.)The astronauts have given the module a quarter roll before moving it inward to the Harmony module's berthing port.
0328 GMT (11:28 p.m. EDT Wed.)The Canadian-built arm has hoisted the Italian module cleanly out of the shuttle's payload bay for today's attachment to the nadir port of the station's Harmony connecting node.
0318 GMT (11:18 p.m. EDT Wed.)Leonardo is on the move! The module is slowly rising out of the shuttle bay.
Clay Anderson, a former space station resident and now flying as a Discovery crew member, says Leonardo really is like a moving van.
"If people can use the analogy that we're moving stuff from one house to another, if you will, and it's our U-Haul, it's our cargo carrier," he said.
"And instead of driving it into the driveway and opening the back and carrying all the stuff out, we do it a little differently and we bring it up in the space shuttle and hook it up to the bottom of the station."
0255 GMT (10:55 p.m. EDT Wed.)The latches holding Leonardo in the payload bay have been released, freeing the module to leave shuttle Discovery.
0255 GMT (10:55 p.m. EDT Wed.)Imagery analysts completed an assessment of the shuttle Discovery's right wing heat shield components late Wednesday and cleared the astronauts to press ahead with work to move a cargo module from the shuttle's payload bay to the International Space Station as planned.
Read our full story.
0253 GMT (10:53 p.m. EDT Wed.)The remotely controlled power umbilical between the shuttle and Leonardo has been disengaged, and the astronauts are sending commands to open the payload bay restraining latches for the module's unberthing.
0234 GMT (10:34 p.m. EDT Wed.)The International Space Station's robot arm reached down into Discovery's payload bay and grappled the Leonardo cargo module.
Discovery commander Alan Poindexter previewed the Leonardo module's attachment to the space station in a pre-flight interview:
"Stephanie and Naoko will get right to work on the morning of Flight Day 4 and they'll head over to the station and fly its robotic arm. They'll reach down into the shuttle's payload bay and grapple the multi purpose logistics module and lift it out of the payload bay very slowly. With lots of cameras and lots of help, they'll make sure that they've got the tolerances they need and then they'll bring it up and they'll attach it to the bottom of the space station at the Node 2 port."
0134 GMT (9:34 p.m. EDT Wed.)The Mission Management Team meeting tonight has given approval to press ahead with installation of the Leonardo cargo module onto the International Space Station later this evening.
That decision came after analysts reviewing the shuttle Discovery heat shield survey data determined no "focused inspection" would be required on the starboard wing. Once Leonardo is attached, the inspection boom won't have the necessary reach over to the starboard wing.
The downlinking of inspection data and the engineering reviews are ongoing for other parts of the shuttle. Managers set the starboard wing as the first priority to clear because of the mission timeline and tonight's scheduled installation of Leonardo.
0023 GMT (8:23 p.m. EDT Wed.)Mission Control just awakened the astronauts to start Flight Day 4.
The Leonardo cargo module packed full of equipment and supplies will be grappled by the space station's robot arm a little before 10:30 p.m. EDT tonight, then removed from the shuttle's payload bay and installed on the space station. The crews plan to open the hatch and enter the module on Thursday morning.
Read our earlier status center coverage.
Join Miles O'Brien, David Waters and Leroy Chiao for our live launch webcast from Kennedy Space Center starting at 2 a.m. EDT on launch morning.
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