NASA News

2 p.m. CDT Monday, April 5, 2010
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
04.05.10
STATUS REPORT : STS-131-01
STS-131 MCC Status Report #01
HOUSTON – Space shuttle Discovery, carrying a crew of seven and supplies and equipment for the International Space Station, launched at 5:21 a.m. CDT Monday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin a three-spacewalk resupply mission.

Commander Alan G. Poindexter, Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. and Mission Specialists Clayton Anderson, Rick Mastracchio, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency began their 13-day mission with an 8.5-minute dash to orbit to begin the pursuit of the space station.

Aboard the station waiting to welcome Discovery crew members are Expedition 23 Commander Oleg Kotov and Russian Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and NASA Flight Engineers T.J. Creamer and Tracy Caldwell Dyson. The Expedition crew will welcome the Discovery astronauts to the orbiting laboratory early Wednesday.

Discovery’s crew deployed the Ku-Band antenna shortly after reaching orbit and checked out its systems. The antenna did not successfully complete its standard initial activation sequence and is not operational at this time. The dish-shaped antenna is used for high data rate communications with the ground, including television, and for the shuttle's radar system that is used during rendezvous with the station.

Loss of the antenna operations will not impact mission safety or success. Discovery can safely rendezvous and dock with the station and successfully complete all of its planned mission objectives without use of the Ku-Band antenna, if needed. The Ku-Band system is one of several shuttle communications systems that can be used for transmission of voice and data to and from the ground. Discovery also has multiple systems that provide backup capability for the rendezvous radar system.

STS-131 flight controllers are continuing to troubleshoot the problem with Discovery's Ku-Band antenna while also formulating plans to conduct the mission without use of the shuttle Ku system if necessary.

The crew began a sleep period at 11:21 a.m. and is scheduled to be awakened at 7:21 p.m. to begin the mission's first full day in orbit. The day will focus on using the robotic arm and the Orbital Boom Sensor System extension to inspect the reinforced carbon-carbon on the leading edges of the shuttle’s wings and nose cap. Video of that inspection will be recorded aboard Discovery and transmitted to the ground after the shuttle docks with the station. Mastracchio and Anderson will prepare the spacesuits they will wear for their three planned spacewalks. Docking preparations will occupy the remainder of the crew’s day.

The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wakeup or earlier if warranted.

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