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Space Shuttle Discovery launches from Kennedy Space Center, 5 April 2010
Mission type ISS logistics
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2010-012A
SATCAT № 36507
Mission duration 15 days 2 hours, 47 min, 11 seconds[1][2][3]
Distance travelled 10,029,810 kilometres (6,232,235 mi)
Orbits completed 238
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch mass 2,051,031 kilograms (4,521,749 lb)[4](total)
121,047 kilograms (266,864 lb) (orbiter)
Landing mass 102,039 kilograms (224,957 lb)
Crew size 7
Members Alan Poindexter
James Dutton
Richard Mastracchio
Dorothy M. Metcalf-Lindenburger
Stephanie Wilson
Naoko Yamazaki
Clayton Anderson
Start of mission
Launch date 5 April 2010, 10:21:22 (2010-04-05T10:21:22Z) UTC[5][6]
Launch site Kennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Landing date Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. UTC
Landing site Kennedy SLF Runway 15
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 320 kilometres (200 mi)
Apogee 346 kilometres (215 mi)
Inclination 51.6 degrees
Period 90 minutes
Docking with ISS
Docking port PMA-2
(Harmony forward)
Docking date 7 April 2010, 07:44 UTC
Undocking date 17 April 2010, 12:52 UTC
Time docked 10 days, 5 hours, 8 minutes

Seated: James Dutton (left) Alan Poindexter (right), Standing (l-r): Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Naoko Yamazaki (JAXA) and Clayton Anderson

Space Shuttle program
← STS-130 STS-132

STS-131 (ISS assembly flight 19A)[7] was a NASA Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Space Shuttle Discovery launched on 5 April 2010 at 6:21 am from Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A, and landed at 9:08 am on 20 April 2010 on runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility.[5] The mission marked the longest flight for space shuttle Discovery.

The primary payload was a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module loaded with supplies and equipment for the International Space Station. The mission also removed and replaced an ammonia tank assembly outside the station on the S1 truss. STS-131 furthermore carried several on-board payloads; this mission had the most payloads since STS-107.


  • Crew 1
  • Mission payload 2
    • Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo 2.1
    • Lightweight Multi-Purpose Equipment Support Structure Carrier 2.2
    • TriDAR 2.3
  • Mission milestones 3
  • Shuttle processing 4
  • Mission timeline 5
    • 5 April (Flight Day 1 – Launch) 5.1
    • 6 April (Flight Day 2 – Inspections) 5.2
    • 7 April (Flight Day 3 – Docking) 5.3
    • 8 April (Flight Day 4 – MPLM ingress) 5.4
    • 9 April (Flight Day 5 – EVA 1) 5.5
    • 10 April (Flight Day 6 – Transfers) 5.6
    • 11 April (Flight Day 7 – EVA 2) 5.7
    • 12 April (Flight Day 8 – Off duty) 5.8
    • 13 April (Flight Day 9 – EVA 3) 5.9
    • 14 April (Flight Day 10 – Final transfers/off duty) 5.10
    • 15 April (Flight Day 11 – MPLM unberthing) 5.11
    • 16 April (Flight Day 12 – Late inspection) 5.12
    • 17 April (Flight Day 13 – Undocking) 5.13
    • 18 April (Flight Day 14 – Landing prep) 5.14
    • 19 April (Flight day 15 – First landing opportunity) 5.15
    • 20 April (Flight day 16 – Landing) 5.16
  • Spacewalks 6
  • Wake-up calls 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Position[8] Astronaut
Commander Alan Poindexter
Second spaceflight
Pilot James Dutton
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Richard Mastracchio
Third spaceflight
Mission Specialist Educator 2 Dorothy M. Metcalf-Lindenburger
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 Stephanie Wilson
Third spaceflight
Mission Specialist 4 Naoko Yamazaki, JAXA
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 5 Clayton Anderson
Second spaceflight
  • This was the final Space Shuttle mission with a seven person crew.
  • It was the final Space Shuttle crew with any "rookie" astronauts; all of the remaining missions would have all-veteran crews.[9]
  • STS-131 was the third and last mission in the Space Shuttle program with three female astronauts. STS-40 and STS-96 were the first two.[10]
  • STS-131 marked the first time two Japanese astronauts, Naoko Yamazaki from the shuttle crew and Soichi Noguchi on the ISS, were in space together.[11]
  • Expedition 23 Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson was on the ISS at the time. This made STS-131 it the first time four women have been in space at once.[12]
  • Naoko Yamazaki was the last Japanese astronaut to fly on the space shuttle.

Mission payload

Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo

The primary payload of STS-131 was the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Leonardo.[13] The MPLM was filled with food and science supplies for the International Space Station (ISS). The MPLM also carried the third and final Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI), Window Orbital Research Facility (WORF), one Crew Quarters Rack, the Muscle Atrophy Resistive Exercise (MARES) rack, Resupply Stowage Racks (RSRs), as well as Resupply Stowage Platforms (RSPs).[14]

Lightweight Multi-Purpose Equipment Support Structure Carrier

The Lightweight Multi-Purpose Equipment Support Structure Carrier (LMC) carried a refurbished Ammonia Tank Assembly (ATA) to the ISS. The refurbished ATA was removed from the Space Station and returned for use on this mission during STS-128. It was swapped with an empty tank which will ride home on the LMC.[14]

LMC with ATAs STS-131
Location Cargo Mass
Bays 1–2 Orbiter Docking System
EMU 3008 / EMU 3017
1,800 kilograms (4,000 lb)
~260 kilograms (570 lb)
Bay 4P Shuttle Power
Distribution Unit (SPDU)
~18 kilograms (40 lb)
Bay 7S ROEU 751A umbilical 127 kilograms (280 lb)
Bays 7–12 Leonardo (MPLM FM-1) 12,371 kilograms (27,273 lb)
Bay 13 Lightweight MPESS Carrier (LMC) 1,764 kilograms (3,889 lb)
Starboard Sill Orbiter Boom Sensor System 382 kilograms (842 lb)
Port Sill Canadarm 410 kilograms (900 lb)
Total: 15,332 kilograms (33,801 lb)


This mission was the second flight of the TriDAR, a 3D dual-sensing laser camera, intended for potential use as an autonomous rendezvous and docking sensor. TriDAR provides guidance information that can be used to guide a vehicle during rendezvous and docking operations in space. TriDAR does not rely on any reference markers, such as reflectors, positioned on the target spacecraft. To achieve this, it relies on a laser based 3D sensor and a thermal imager. Geometric information contained in successive 3D images is matched against the known shape of the target object to calculate its position and orientation in real-time. The TriDAR tracked the ISS position and orientation from the shuttle during docking, undocking, and flyaround operations.[15]

Mission milestones

Mission poster
The mission marked:[16]
  • 162nd NASA manned space flight
  • 131st shuttle mission since STS-1
  • 38th flight of Discovery
  • 33rd shuttle mission to the ISS
  • 106th post-Challenger mission
  • 18th post-Columbia mission
  • 35th and last night launch of a shuttle, 22nd night launch from launch pad 39A
  • 2nd "descending node" entry since 2003

Shuttle processing

Space Shuttle Discovery was moved from its hangar in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) 3 to the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building on 22 February 2010.[17][18] The rollover was completed around 10:30 EST. According to NASA, the rollover occurred a day earlier than announced to take advantage of favorable weather in advance of poor conditions forecasted on the next day.[19][20]

An earlier plan to move Discovery into the VAB on 12 February 2010 was delayed because of cold weather at the Kennedy Space Center.[6][21] For the rollover, temperatures in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) had to be above 45 °F (7 °C) for more than twelve hours because Discovery was not attached to any heating purges to protect its systems from potential damage from the cold.[22]

Space shuttle Discovery began its trip, known as the rollout, to launch pad 39A at 23:58 EST on 2 March 2010. The complete shuttle stack and mobile launch platform were secured to the launch pad 39A structure at 6:49 EST on 3 March 2010.[23] The 3.4 mi (5.5 km) trek took 6 hours 51 minutes to complete. The rollout was delayed 24 hours by the threat of lightning from a passing cold front. That weather moved away, and the stiff wind gusts blowing on Florida's Space Coast on the next day were not a factor for the rollout. Ahead of the rollout, engineers noticed some damage caused by birds to the External Tank (ET-135), which was repaired inside the VAB. Birds had managed to reach the tank, and pecked away at the Thermal Protection System (TPS) foam.[24]

Mission timeline

5 April (Flight Day 1 – Launch)

Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off successfully at 06:21 EDT. After the eight and a half minute ride to space, Discovery's seven person crew began configuring the orbiter from a launch vehicle to an orbital vehicle. Commander Alan Poindexter and pilot Jim Dutton, with help from mission specialist 2 Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, also performed a series of engine firings or burns to adjust their speed and refine their path to the International Space Station. While the engine burns were going on, the rest of the crew opened the payload bay doors, set up the computers and Ku band antenna. The antenna suffered a failure during normal checkout and setup on orbit.[25] Due to the failure, the normal downlink of imagery of the external tank was not completed.[26] The crew on board will monitor the inspections of the thermal protection system (TPS) in real time and will note any spots of interest and let the ground know while downlinking the imagery after docking.[27] The dish antenna also serves as a radar antenna, measuring the distance to the space station.

6 April (Flight Day 2 – Inspections)

The seven person crew of STS-131 was awakened to begin their first full day in space on Flight Day 2. Due to the lack of Ku-band communication, changes to the crews daily plan were read up for them to write out. After their post sleep activities, commander Alan Poindexter and pilot Jim Dutton fired Discovery's Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engines to correct and further refine the shuttle's path to the ISS. Astronauts Naoko Yamazaki and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger began activating and checking out the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) also known as the Canadarm.[28] While Metcalf-Lindenburger and Yamazaki were working with Canadarm, Stephanie Wilson was getting equipment together and set up to record the inspections of the shuttle's heat shield.[29] The inspections were recorded so they could be downlinked to the ground once docked to the ISS. Once all that work was done, commander Poindexter and pilot Dutton joined Metcalf-Lindenburger, Yamazaki, and Wilson to conduct the inspection of the shuttle's heat shield. While the inspection was going on, Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson were on the mid-deck of Discovery checking out the Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMU) and getting them ready for their three spacewalks. The last portion of the crew day was spent preparing and checking out all of the tools used during rendezvous.

7 April (Flight Day 3 – Docking)

Space shuttle Discovery successfully docked with the space station at 07:44 UTC (03:44 EDT) on 7 April 2010 as the two spacecraft sailed 220 miles above the Caribbean.[30][31] The crew performed six successful engine firings to set up the on-time docking. Prior to docking commander Poindexter guided Discovery through the standard Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver (RPM). Station commander Oleg Kotov and flight engineer T.J. Creamer took more than 350 photos of Discovery's heat shield. Once Discovery docked to the International Space Station (ISS), a series of leak checks were done on both sides of the hatch by the shuttle and station crews. The hatches between the two vehicles were opened at 09:11 UTC (05:11 EDT), which was 30 minutes earlier than planned.[32] Once the hatches were opened the STS-131 crew got a safety briefing from the station crew, then began to transfer items that would be needed for later in the day and early on flight day 4. Two items that were transferred were the two EMUs that will be used for the three spacewalks. The crew also completed a grapple of the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) with the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) also known as Canadarm2. Once the OBSS was grappled it was unberthed from the starboard sill of the space shuttle payload bay, and handed off to the SRMS. Throughout the day, after docking to the station, the shuttle crew began downlinking all of the inspection video from flight day 2, and launch imagery and video.

8 April (Flight Day 4 – MPLM ingress)

On flight day 4 Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki grappled and berthed the Multi-purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Leonardo.[33] The MPLM was berthed to the station at 04:24 UTC (00:24 EDT). The hatches were opened by station flight engineer Soichi Noguchi and shuttle mission specialist Clayton Anderson at 11:58 UTC (07:58 EDT). The joint STS-131/Expedition 23 crews began transferring cargo from the MPLM, with the first item being a Rate Gyro Assembly (RGA) which will be replaced on the first spacewalk of the mission. During flight day 4 commander Alan Poindexter did several in-flight interviews. Commander Poindexter was joined by mission specialists Rick Mastracchio and Stephanie Wilson. The interviews were with the Tom Joyner Radio Show, WVIT-TV and Fox News Radio.[34] At the end of the day Mastracchio and Anderson entered the Quest airlock and begin breathing pure oxygen for an hour, while the atmospheric pressure inside the airlock was lowered to 10.2 psi. This procedure is known as the pre-breathe protocol and is done before every spacewalk, to purge nitrogen from the blood stream and prevent decompression sickness.[35]

9 April (Flight Day 5 – EVA 1)

Flight day 5 saw the completion of the first spacewalk by Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson.[36] The pair released the new ammonia tank assembly for transfer to station for installation on a later spacewalk. They also removed an experiment from outside on the Kibo Exposed Facility, replaced a Rate Gyro Assembly (RGA) and performed several get-ahead tasks. The spacewalking pair was assisted by the SSRMS which was operated by pilot Jim Dutton and mission specialist Stephanie Wilson. While the spacewalk was going on, Naoko Yamazaki was assisted by commander Alan Poindexter, and the Expedition 23 crew to move several of the large science racks from the MPLM Leonardo to their new location on the ISS.[37]

10 April (Flight Day 6 – Transfers)

Flight day 6 was dedicated to transferring supplies from the MPLM Leonardo and the space shuttle mid-deck. The crews transferred the Windows Observational Research Facility (WORF) to the Destiny lab. Mission specialist Naoko Yamazaki, along with flight engineer Soichi Noguchi also transferred the Express Rack 7 (ER7) to its final location. During the crews morning, a smoke alarm sounded in the Russian segment of the station, which prompted the joint crew to move into emergency procedures. However the alarm was false and was cleared within a couple of minutes and all normal work resumed. Mission specialists Clay Anderson, Rick Mastracchio and Stephanie Wilson conducted in-flight interviews with Nebraska Public Radio, CBS Newspath and Radio Network and KETV-TV in Omaha, Nebraska.[38] Later in the day commander Alan Poindexter, pilot Jim Dutton and mission specialist Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger talked with students at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. At the end of the crews work day, the joint crew got together and reviewed the procedures for the second spacewalk. After the procedures review spacewalkers Clay Anderson and Rick Mastracchio entered the Quest airlock, closed the hatch and lowered the inside pressure to 10.2 psi. The pair also breathed pure oxygen for an hour while the pressure was being lowered.[39]

11 April (Flight Day 7 – EVA 2)

On flight day 7 astronauts Clay Anderson and Rick Mastracchio performed their second spacewalk of the STS-131 mission. Mastracchio and Anderson exited the airlock at 05:30 UTC, a full 45 minutes ahead of the planned time, and spent 7 hours and 26 minutes outside the ISS.[40] The pair removed the old Ammonia Tank Assembly (ATA) from the S1 truss and installed the new ATA. Anderson and Mastracchio ran into a small problem when one of the four bolts that holds the tank in place wouldn't turn. They loosened the other three and tried them all again and the fourth bolt was successfully tightened. The two spacewalkers helped guide the SSRMS to temporarily stow the old ATA on the truss structure. The new ATA had its electrical connections made, but the fluid connections were deferred until the third spacewalk since the EVA was behind the time-line. Mastracchio and Anderson also installed two radiator grapple fixture stowage beams on the P1 truss. While Anderson and Mastracchio were outside, members of the STS-131 crew continued transferring items from space shuttle Discovery's mid-deck and the MPLM Leonardo. Overall, the crew had completed about half of the transfer work.

12 April (Flight Day 8 – Off duty)

Astronaut Clayton Anderson playing with a water bubble.

The joint STS-131/Expedition 23 crews had the morning off on flight day 8. After their morning off the crews continued their transfer activities, which are more than seventy percent complete. The crews also conducted several PAO events, including VIP events with Roscosmos, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, RSC Energia, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japanese students, astronaut Mamoru Mohri, and Japanese dignitaries. Later commander Alan Poindexter, pilot Jim Dutton and mission specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger and Stephanie Wilson participated in an in-flight interview with several American media outlets including Fox News, ABC World News and MSNBC. While the PAO events were going on, Rick Mastracchio and Clay Anderson were preparing the spacesuits and tools they will use for the third and final spacewalk. Later in the day the pair will have a procedures review with other members of the ISS and shuttle crews. After the review, they will enter the airlock, close the hatch and lower the pressure to 10.2 psi and breathe pure oxygen for their campout.[41]

13 April (Flight Day 9 – EVA 3)

On flight day 9, Rick Mastracchio and Clay Anderson completed the third and final spacewalk of the STS-131 mission. Their tasks included hooking up the ammonia and nitrogen lines to the new Ammonia Tank Assembly (ATA), installing the old ATA in the shuttle's payload bay, retrieving some Micro-Meteoroid Orbital Debris (MMOD) shields, bolting a grapple bar (which had been removed from the old ATA) onto the new ATA, and preparation of some cables on the Z1 truss and tools to be used during STS-132. During the installation of the old ATA in Discovery's payload bay, the spacewalkers had some problems securing a bolt on the ATA to the LMC.[42] The spacewalk took 6 hours and 24 minutes, bringing the total EVA time to 20 hours and 19 minutes. While the EVA was going on, commander Alan Poindexter and mission specialist Naoko Yamazaki continued transferring items from the MPLM to the ISS. Transfer is more than seventy-five percent complete.

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