Thursday, April 08, 2010

Leonardo Cargo Module moved from Discovery

A bus sized cargo module brought up to the International Space Station aboard Discovery will be moved and docked to the orbital complex.

The Italian-built Leonardo cargo module was moved from the shuttle's payload bay beginning at 11PM EDT on Wednesday, and over to the station's Harmony module's earth facing port.

The Multi Purpose Logistics Module or MPLM is loaded with over 17,000 pounds of hardware and supplies which will be transfered from it's docked postion and over to different areas of the station during the next eight days.

Using dual robotic arms aboard both the shuttle and station, Discovery astronauts Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki slowly manuvered the module over and docked it into place at 12:24 am this morning as the complex flew high over the south Pacific Ocean near New Zealand.

The duel crews plan to open the hatch into Leonardo at 8AM today.

The module is carrying the final crew quarters for the space station, four science experiment racks, fresh oxygen and fuel.

The four racks include the Minus 80-degree Freezer for ISS (MELFI-3); EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS); Window Observational Research Facility (WORF); Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES).

As the module was beginning it's movement, two of Discovery's astronauts were preparing their space suits for Friday morning's first spacewalk of the STS-131 mission.

The thirteen crew members include station commander Oleg Kotov, TJ Creamer, Soichi Noguchi, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko which make up the current Expedition 23 crew; and shuttle commander Alan Poindexter, pilot James Dutton and mission specialists Rick Mastracchio, Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenberger, Clayton Anderson, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Yamazaki create the record-tying single ship space population.

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