Launch: April 5, 2010, 6:21am EDT.Landing: April 20, 2010, 9:08 am EDT, Kennedy Space Center.Space Shuttle: Discovery .Crew: Commander Alan G. Poindexter, Pilot James P. Dutton Jr., Mission Specialists Clayton C. Anderson, Rick Mastracchio, Dorothy M. Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie D. Wilson, Naoko Yamazaki.During STS-131, Discovery delivered a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks that were transferred to laboratories on the International Space Station. The mission featured three spacewalks performed by Mastracchio and Anderson. They replaced an ammonia tank assembly, retrieved a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior and switched out a rate gyro assembly on the S0 element of the station’s truss. STS-131 was the 33rd shuttle mission to the station. ..www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts131... ( http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts131/main/index.html )
NASA Photo Collection
The Space Shuttle program was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972. The Space Shuttle system—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank— carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). When its mission was complete, the orbiter would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a glider. Although the concept had been explored since the late 1960s, the program formally commenced in 1972 and was the focus of NASA's manned operations after the final Apollo and Skylab flights in the mid-1970s. It started with the launch of the first shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, on STS-1. and finished with its last mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.
The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable space station in low Earth orbit with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km (205 and 270 mi). It completes 15.54 orbits per day. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, and the ISS is now the largest man-made body in low Earth orbit. The ISS consists of many pressurized modules, external trusses, solar arrays, and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttles. The ISS is a space research laboratory, the testing ground for technologies and systems required for missions to the Moon and Mars. The station has been continuously occupied for 16 years and 201 days since the arrival of Expedition 1 on 2 November 2000. This is the longest continuous human presence in low Earth orbit, having surpassed the previous record of 9 years and 357 days held by Mir. The station is serviced by a variety of visiting spacecraft: the Russian Soyuz and Progress, the American Dragon and Cygnus, the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, and formerly the Space Shuttle and the European Automated Transfer Vehicle. It has been visited by astronauts, cosmonauts and space tourists from 17 different nations.