STS -131 (English Space Transportation System) is the name of a space flight mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle Discovery ( OV 103) of NASA.

The launch took place on April 5, 2010, at 10:21:22 UTC.


On 5 December 2008 the team was named.

  • Alan Poindexter ( second space flight), Commander
  • James Dutton ( first space flight), Pilot
  • Rick Mastracchio ( third space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Clayton Anderson ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Dorothy Metcalf - Linde Burger ( 1 space flight ), Mission Specialist
  • Stephanie Wilson ( third space flight ), Mission Specialist
  • Naoko Yamazaki ( first space flight ), Mission Specialist ( JAXA / Japan)

This was the last flight of the Space Shuttle with Space newcomers.

Mission overview

The mission STS -131 (ISS -19A ), the logistics module Leonardo and the LMC supports were used to bring cargo to the ISS. Among them was, inter alia, an ammonia tank was brought back to STS-128 to the soil, and then returned to be refilled to the station. In the course of three spacewalks, the exchange of the tank as well as various maintenance work on the station were carried out.

Mission History

Start, Rendezvous and coupling

The launch of Discovery on mission STS -131 was the first attempt with perfect weather as scheduled on April 5, 2010 at 10:21 UTC. The shuttle was soon illuminated by lifting it from the sun by the start just before sunrise. Shortly before the ISS flew over the launch site. Counter 13:15 UTC stood after opening the cargo bay hatch during the unfolding of the Ku- band antenna out that the data transfer to the TDRS did not work. This was for the shuttle not a sufficient real-time transfer option during the inspection of the heat shield using the orbiter boom sensor system, the data is instead stored on board the Discovery.

On the third day of flying were performed using a 10 -second firing of the left OMS engine last course corrections. After the discovery of the Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver led, in which the crew of the ISS photographed the heat protection tiles. At 7:44 UTC, the Discovery docked despite the failure of the radar successfully transferred to the ISS Harmony module at at 9:11 UTC, the hatches between the station and orbiter were opened. Immediately after greeting the ISS crew was started with the transfer of data from the Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver and from the inspection of the heat shield from the previous day to NASA. For this purpose, the intact Ku-band antenna of the ISS was used.

Work on the ISS

On the fourth day of flying and Naoko Yamazaki, Stephanie Wilson Leonardo raised to the robot arm of the ISS ( SSRMS ) from the cargo bay of Discovery and docked it to Harmony. About seven and a half hours later, the hatches between Leonardo and the ISS were opened and started to unload the eight tons of cargo. Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson made ​​preparations for their spacewalk on flight day next, in which, among other things, a new ammonia tank to be attached to the station.

On the fifth day of flying Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson conducted the first spacewalk. Here, the new ammonia tank was lifted with the robot arm of the ISS from Discovery 's payload bay and attached to a preliminary position on the support structure of the ISS. This procedure is necessary because the SSRMS not have to change from a base of both the payload bay and can reach the final position, but the base, while the tank is in the intermediate position. Furthermore, an experiment was conducted from the outer structure of the Japanese Kibo module is removed and replaced a defective gyroscope of the navigation system of the ISS.

On the sixth day of flying, it was announced that the mission will be extended by one day. As a result, plenty of time to perform an analysis of the heat- resistant tiles, and to transmit the data to the ground, while the shuttle is not docked to the ISS. By the defects in Ku-band antenna of the discovery, it is necessary to use the antenna of the ISS. It was transported more cargo from Leonardo to the station, including the Window Observational Research Facility ( WORF ), which was attached to the window of the earth directed against the U.S. Destiny module. Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson made ​​preparations for their next spacewalk, in which the new ammonia tank should be placed in its final position.


The first two landing opportunities on 19 April in the orbits 222 and 223 at 12:48 UTC and 14:23 UTC could not be used due to low clouds at KSC. The third way in orbit 237 on April 20 at 11:33 UTC on KSC had to be canceled due to rain and fog risk. Finally, the fourth landing opportunity was taken. The brake ignition took place at 12:06 for a landing at 13:08 UTC on KSC.