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Leonardo Latched in Discovery Cargo Bay

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:57 am via: NASA
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(NASA) – The Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module was fully latched into space shuttle Discovery’s payload bay at 3:15 a.m. EDT Friday. The removal of Leonardo from the International Space Station’s Harmony node was delayed several hours the day before, setting the shuttle and station crews sleep shift back an hour later than planned.

Leonardo brought about six tons of material to the station and will return to Earth in Discovery’s cargo bay with about 2.5 tons from the station. Discovery is scheduled to undock from the station a little before 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Expedition 23 Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi (left) and STS-131 Mission Specialist Naoko Yamazaki perform a series of microgravity experiments inside the Kibo laboratory. Noguchi and Yamazaki are both astronauts representing the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Image credit: NASA TV

Expedition 23 Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi (left) and STS-131 Mission Specialist Naoko Yamazaki perform a series of microgravity experiments inside the Kibo laboratory. Noguchi and Yamazaki are both astronauts representing the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Image credit: NASA TV

This is the final roundtrip to the station for the 21-foot-long, 15-foot-diameter Leonardo. Once back on Earth, the module will be reconfigured with increased shielding on the outside for the STS-133 mission in September when it will be left on the station as a permanent module.

Mission managers reaffirmed plans made to forego a fourth spacewalk to replace the nitrogen tank assembly that has a jammed valve. Engineers have decided the station can operate for an extended period in the current configuration.

The team continues to troubleshoot the jammed valve and to consider options for future replacement of the nitrogen tank assembly. The tank assembly is used to pressurize and adjust for the expansion and contraction of the ammonia that circulates through radiators to shed excess heat generated by the station’s electronic systems.

STS-131 is the 33rd shuttle mission to the station.

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