Space Shuttle Discovery Crew Returns to Earth After Fortifying International Space Station Science
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Discovery and seven astronauts ended a 15-day journey of more than 6.2 million miles with a 9:08 a.m. EDT landing Tuesday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The STS-131 mission to the International Space Station delivered science racks, new crew sleeping quarters, equipment and supplies. During three spacewalks, the crew installed a new ammonia storage tank for the station's cooling system, replaced a gyroscope for the station's navigation system and retrieved a Japanese experiment from outside the Kibo laboratory for examination on Earth.
Alan Poindexter commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Jim Dutton and Mission Specialists Rick Mastracchio, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, Clay Anderson, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki. Lindenburger is the last of three teachers selected as mission specialists in the 2004 Educator-Astronaut class to fly on the shuttle.
A welcome ceremony for the astronauts will be held Wednesday, April 21, in Houston. The public is invited to attend the 4 p.m. CDT event at Ellington Field's NASA Hangar 990.
Highlights from the ceremony will be broadcast on NASA Television's Video File. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:
With Discovery and its crew safely home, the stage is set for launch of shuttle Atlantis on its STS-132 mission, targeted to lift off May 14. Atlantis' 12-day flight will deliver the Russian-built Mini Research Module to the station along with six new batteries to store power gathered by the Port 6 solar arrays. Shuttle mission STS-132 is the final scheduled flight of Atlantis. Following STS-132, two more shuttle flights are scheduled before the fleet is retired.
For more information about the STS-131 mission and the upcoming STS-132 flight, visit:
Two STS-131 crew members, Clay Anderson and Naoko Yamazaki, used the social medium Twitter to discuss the mission. For their Twitter feeds and other NASA social media websites, visit:
Educational activities on the STS-131 mission focused on robotics and promoting careers in science, technology, engineering and math. For NASA's teacher and student resources and activities related to robotics, visit:
For information about the International Space Station, visit:
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