NASA News

9 a.m. CDT Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
04.20.10
STATUS REPORT : STS-131-32
STS-131 MCC Status Report #32
HOUSTON – Space shuttle Discovery completed a 6.2-million-mile mission to restock the International Space Station and set the stage for its final remaining flight.

STS-131 Commander Alan G. Poindexter guided Discovery to an 8:08 a.m. CDT landing at the Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. Weather had caused postponement of the first day’s landing attempts, and a rain shower within 30 miles of the runway brought a wave-off of the first of today’s opportunities. Showers moved off to permit landing on the second.

“It was a great mission," Poindexter radioed to Mission Control after landing. “We enjoyed working with you and all the teams in Mission Control, and we're glad the International Space Station is stocked up again.”

The 15-day, 2-hour and 47-minute mission was the 38th flight for Discovery, the 33rd shuttle mission devoted to space station assembly and maintenance, and the 131st shuttle mission to date. Discovery now will be readied for its final mission, currently scheduled for September. The Leonardo pressurized cargo module completed it last round trip to the station and will be refitted as a permanent module to be delivered to the station on that mission.

Poindexter, Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. and Mission Specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Naoko Yamazaki left behind more than 17,000 pounds of scientific equipment and supplies. They brought home a ton of science samples and surplus equipment.

Anderson and Mastracchio conducted three spacewalks totaling 20 hours, 17 minutes, installing a new ammonia tank for the station’s cooling system. That brings the totals for station assembly to 143 spacewalks amounting to more than 893 hours. The flight marked the first time four women had flown in space together and the first time two Japanese astronauts, Yamazaki and station Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi, had flown in space at the same time.

The crew plans to spend the night in crew quarters at Kennedy before returning to Houston for a welcome ceremony at about 4 p.m. Wednesday at Ellington Field’s Hangar 990, near the Johnson Space Center.

Three space shuttle missions remain scheduled – one for each shuttle orbiter, Atlantis, Endeavour and Discovery. Next up is the final planned flight of Atlantis on the STS-132 mission, targeted for launch May 14 with a crew of six to deliver a Russian research module named Rassvet.

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