11:30 a.m. CDT Saturday, April 17, 2010
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-131 MCC Status Report #26
Space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station at 7:52 a.m. CDT, ending a stay of 10 days, 5 hours and 8 minutes. The visit included three spacewalks and delivery of more than seven tons of equipment and supplies.

After undocking, Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. flew Discovery in a circle around the station at a distance of about 500 feet. Crew members shot photographs and video to document the station’s condition.

Commander Alan G. Poindexter, Dutton and Mission Specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki are scheduled to land their spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center at 7:51 a.m. Monday.

Hatches were closed at 5:30 a.m. Crew members had spent 10 days, 1 hour and 19 minutes in joint operations. Poindexter and station Commander Oleg Kotov said farewells on behalf of their crews.

Major parts of all three spacewalks by Mastracchio and Anderson involved installation of a 1,700-pound ammonia tank assembly on the station’s exterior to replace a depleted predecessor. They also replaced a rate gyro assembly, retrieved a Japanese experiment and two debris shields.

Discovery brought into orbit the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo and attached it to the station where its cargo of equipment, supplies and scientific racks was unloaded. It subsequently was refilled with unneeded equipment and trash from the station for return to Earth.

The flight accomplished firsts. It 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.

Discovery had spent an extra day at the station so late inspection of the shuttle’s heat shield could be done there. That inspection typically is done after undocking. But Discovery’s high-data-rate Ku-band antenna was not working, so the inspection plan was changed to allow images from it to be downlinked for analysis on the ground using the station Ku.

Analysts on the ground have reviewed the data from that inspection and determined Discovery’s heat shield is in good shape to support the orbiter’s entry in to the Earth’s atmosphere Monday.

On the station, Expedition 23 Kotov and Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Mikhail Kornienko, Noguchi and T.J. Creamer watched Discovery‘s fly-around and subsequent departure from the area.

The next shuttle status report will be issued after the shuttle crew’s 11:21 p.m. wakeup call, or earlier if events warrant.

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