Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-131
Payload: Leonardo
Launch: April 5, 2010
Time: 6:21 a.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: April 18 @ approx. 8:30 a.m.
Site: KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility

Launch Windows

Countdown Timeline

NASA TV Schedule

Ascent Timeline

Master Flight Plan

Mission Video Vault

High Definition Video

STS-131 Archive

Mission Status Center

By Justin Ray

Welcome to Spaceflight Now's live coverage of space shuttle Discovery's STS-131 mission to the International Space Station. Text updates will appear automatically; there is no need to reload the page.
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Growing up in a generation that's known only the space shuttle, Jim Dutton's life dream of becoming an astronaut will rocket him to orbit aboard Discovery in one of the final voyages of the iconic spaceplanes.

Read our full story.
2150 GMT (5:50 p.m. EDT)
Check out a collection of photos showing the sights around Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A on Saturday morning as shuttle Discovery awaits its predawn launch Monday to the International Space Station.
1815 GMT (2:15 p.m. EDT)
NASA's Mission Management Team reviewed the shuttle Discovery's launch processing Saturday, discussed two recent booster issues and received a favorable weather forecast, giving engineers a unanimous "go" to proceed with launch Monday on a space station resupply mission.

Read our full story.
1630 GMT (12:30 a.m. EDT)
All systems remain "go" for the Monday morning launch of space shuttle Discovery, the Mission Management Team said at the conclusion of its pre-flight meeting today.

"The countdown is in great shape and we're not tracking any issues," shuttle launch director Pete Nickolenko said.

"A unanimous poll from the MMT that we are go to launch," chairman Mike Mose said. "And with that, we turned Pete loose to finish his countdown."

Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen reactants for space shuttle Discovery's electricity-generating fuel cells have been loaded into storage spheres beneath payload bay as standard work continues at pad 39A.

The cryogenics are combined by the three onboard fuel cells to produce power and a byproduct of drinking water during the shuttle's mission. Technicians pumped the reactants into small tanks on the orbiter during a multi-hour operation that occurred overnight.

The oxygen level was being adjusted this morning based on the desired weight of Discovery for launch. The pad umbilical system used in the loading process will be demated and stowed later today.

Upcoming this afternoon and evening, final tests of the avionics, pneumatics and controllers for the three main engines will be completed.

Countdown clocks will enter the lengthy T-minus 11 hour planned hold period at 12 midnight. That built-in hold should last 13 hours and 56 minutes.

The early morning chores at launch pad 39A on Sunday will focus on functional checks of the orbiter's star trackers, activating the inertial measurement units, thoroughly testing the communications network, loading the last items into the crew module, filling of the launch pad's sound suppression system water tank and installing film in pad cameras.

The giant gantry-like rotating service structure is scheduled for retraction from around Discovery at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

The weather forecast for Monday's 6:21 a.m. EDT launch time remains favorable with an 80 percent chance of conditions within allowable limits.

The outlook from Air Force meteorologists: "A high pressure ridge is extending into Florida from the northeast. Kennedy Space Center is experiencing pleasant weather conditions with partly cloudy skies, light winds, and moderate temperatures. For the next few days, Complex 39A low temperatures will be in the mid 60s and high temperatures in the low 70s.

"Due to a gradual increase in moisture as well as light winds by launch morning, there is a slight concern for fog restricting visibility. Our primary concern for launch is limited visibility due to fog."

The launch time conditions are expected to include a few clouds at 3,000 feet, easterly winds from 090 degrees at 5 knots, a temperature of 64 degrees and the dew point at 62 degrees F.
The shuttle's pyrotechnic initiator controllers will be tested tonight before attention turns to loading the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into Discovery's power-generating fuel cells.

The countdown will have a four-hour planned hold at T-minus 27 hours from 7 to 11 p.m. EDT, then continue until the next hold point at T-minus 19 hours starting at 7 a.m. EDT. That will be a 9-hour pause in which the ground team completes the fuel cell servicing work and offloads 645 pounds of oxygen not needed for the flight.

Also on Saturday morning, mission managers will hold their launch readiness meeting to assess how final preparations are proceeding. The pre-launch news conference from Kennedy Space Center is planned for 11:30 a.m.
1555 GMT (11:55 a.m. EDT)
With good weather expected, the shuttle Discovery's countdown began early Friday, setting the stage for a pre-dawn Monday launch to kick off a space station science and resupply mission.

Read our full story.
0705 GMT (3:05 a.m. EDT)
COUNT BEGINS. Countdown clocks at the Kennedy Space Center just began ticking toward Monday's scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery.

The official countdown sequence started at 3 a.m. EDT inside Firing Room 4 of the Complex 39 Launch Control Center. Launch team members had gathered for the "call-to-stations" at 2:30 a.m. EDT.

The count commenced from the T-minus 43 hour mark. But a series of holds are timed throughout the next few days, leading to the targeted liftoff time of 6:21 a.m. EDT.

Activities planned during the early portion of the countdown for shuttle workers include buttoning up launch pad equipment and removing platforms inside the orbiter's crew module, reviewing flight software stored in Discovery's mass memory units, loading backup software into the general purpose computers and testing navigation systems.
NASA is ready to begin the countdown for shuttle Discovery's launch. The three-day count will start at 3 a.m. EST Friday.

"All of our preparations for (the) launch countdown are complete and we're working no issues at this time," said test director Jeremy Graeber.
1230 GMT (8:30 a.m. EDT)
Check out this morning's photo gallery from crew arrival.
1215 GMT (8:15 a.m. EDT)
The weather forecast for Monday's 6:21 a.m. EDT (1021 GMT) launch is calling for an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions. The chance of fog or a low-cloud ceiling are the two potential worries.

"High pressure will set in over Florida for the next several days providing favorable weather for pre-launch operations and launch. Winds are light from the west-northwest this morning. By tomorrow morning, winds will shift and be light from the east. Kennedy Space Center temperatures will continue to climb for the next few days reaching 80 degrees F by Saturday," the Air Force weather team report.

"Due to a gradual increase in moisture and light winds by launch morning, there is a slight concern for fog restricting visibility or a low-cloud ceiling."

The specifics for launch time include a few clouds at 3,000 feet, southeasterly winds from 150 degrees at 5 knots and a temperature of 64 degrees F.

"Weather remains similar for a 24-hour delay, but by Wednesday morning, there is a more significant threat for a low-cloud ceiling," forecasters say.

The odds remain 80 percent favorable for launch Tuesday at 5:58 a.m. EDT, but fall to 60 percent for Wednesday's 5:33 a.m. EDT liftoff time.
1155 GMT (7:55 a.m. EDT)
The NASA Television schedule for space shuttle Discovery's mission has been issued. Check it out here.
1130 GMT (7:30 a.m. EDT)
With their training in Houston now complete, the seven space shuttle Discovery astronauts flew to the Florida spaceport this morning in preparation for Monday's predawn blastoff to the International Space Station.

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1053 GMT (6:53 a.m. EDT)
The aircraft has pulled to a stop and now the astronauts are filing off.
1048 GMT (6:48 a.m. EDT)
Touchdown! The astronauts just landed at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility runway. The aircraft is taxiing to the tarmac where the reporters and photographers have assembled to cover the crew's arrival this morning.
1042 GMT (6:42 a.m. EDT)
The Gulfstream jet just buzzed over the KSC press site.
1040 GMT (6:40 a.m. EDT)
The crew is going to make a flyby of launch pad 39A before heading to the landing strip. The aircraft pilot reports the runway is in sight now.
1035 GMT (6:35 a.m. EDT)
The Shuttle Training Aircraft bringing the astronauts to Florida is over the central part of the state. Arrival is coming up shortly and you can watch it live in our streaming video coverage.
1005 GMT (6:05 a.m. EDT)
The crew is over the Gulf of Mexico, nearing the western coast of Florida on this 900-mile trip to the launch site. They should arrive here at Kennedy Space Center a little under an hour from now.
0907 GMT (5:07 a.m. EDT)
The shuttle Discovery astronauts have departed Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center in Houston for the plane ride over to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Their touchdown is now expected around 7 a.m. EDT.

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The Kennedy Space Center is ready to welcome the seven space shuttle Discovery astronauts at 7 a.m. EDT Thursday, as the crew jets into the Florida spaceport from their home base in Houston for Monday's launch.

Commander Alan Poindexter, pilot Jim Dutton and mission specialists Rick Mastracchio, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, Naoko Yamazaki and Clay Anderson will travel from Ellington Field in a Shuttle Training Aircraft.

After arriving, the crew will pose for photos and make a brief statement to the gathered news media.

You can watch the astronauts' launch site arrival in live streaming video on this page.

Out at launch pad 39A, technicians are running through the routine final steps to ready Discovery for the upcoming launch countdown. Clocks are scheduled to start ticking at 3 a.m. EDT Friday for the three-day sequence leading to Monday's predawn launch at 6:21 a.m. EDT.

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FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010
NASA managers reviewed the shuttle Discovery's flight readiness Friday and formally cleared the ship for launch April 5 on a three-spacewalk mission to deliver ammonia coolant, supplies and science gear to the International Space Station.

Read our full story.

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2055 GMT (4:55 p.m. EDT)
With signs at the entrance of Kennedy Space Center reading "10 days to launch" for the space shuttle Discovery, senior NASA officials Friday held their Flight Readiness Review and blessed plans to proceed toward the April 5 blastoff.

The extensive engineering assessment about a leaky helium isolation valve in the orbiter's right-hand Reaction Control System was discussed at length. Officials determined the shuttle can fly safely in the current condition without replacing the faulty part, which is not accessible at the launch pad and would require returning Discovery to its hangar. Managers said there are redundant ways to work around the problem and even if additional failures occur in the plumbing it would not risk the safety of the vehicle or crew.

A post-meeting press conference is coming up at 5:30 p.m. EDT from the Kennedy Space Center. We'll stream the event live on this page.

Discovery's astronauts will arrive at the Cape next Thursday at 7 a.m. EDT to begin their final pre-flight preps. The three-day launch countdown begins next Friday at 3 a.m. EDT.

The official launch window on April 5 extends from 6:16:22 to 6:26:22 a.m. EDT. The target liftoff time is 6:21:22 a.m. EDT, the precise moment when the launch pad and the orbital plane of the International Space Station are aligned.

The mission will deliver new internal equipment and supplies, plus an external coolant tank to the station. Three spacewalks are planned from the Quest airlock.

Discovery's voyage home will feature a re-entry track used relatively rarely, streaking over northwestern U.S. and the nation's heartland toward a landing at the Kennedy Space Center on April 18 at 8:38 a.m. EDT. The spacecraft's superhot plume will be visible, weather permitting, when it makes landfall over North America in the still-predawn skies.

The exact path the shuttle follows to the landing site is released by Mission Control a day or two in advance.
2000 GMT (4:00 p.m. EDT)
The main engine and solid rocket booster projects completed their presentations to the Flight Readiness Review. The orbiter discussions have included both the helium valve problem and ceramic inserts on the shuttle, one of which worked itself loose on the last mission. Both issues were presented with rationale to fly Discovery "as-is" and there were no objections.

NASA says the post-FRR news conference could begin around 5:30 p.m. EDT, but that is tentative.
1645 GMT (12:45 p.m. EDT)
The Flight Readiness Review is underway today at the Kennedy Space Center. Senior officials are examining all elements of mission preparations to ensure space shuttle Discovery, its astronauts and payloads are ready to go fly the mission, as well as the International Space Station is ready to receive this latest flight.

The meeting will culminate with managers setting the formal launch date. The shuttle is targeting an April 5 blastoff at 6:21 a.m. EDT.

The morning session of the Flight Readiness Review received briefings from the mission operations folks who will run STS-131 from Houston, examined some of the equipment issues aboard the space station and discussed external fuel tank foam performance.

Debates on the leaky helium isolation valve in Discovery's Right Reaction Control System and the final decision to fly "as-is" without needing repairs will occur this afternoon.

NASA plans to hold a post-FRR news conference later today. The exact start time has not been determined. We'll post updates on this page and dispatch Twitter alerts as further details become available.
Discovery's payloads have been loaded aboard the shuttle and workers are spending today making the electrical hookups for launch. Also underway are activities to close up the orbiter's aft engine compartment for flight.

Meanwhile, the seven astronauts underwent final pre-launch physicals Wednesday and reviewed flight plans as they work to shift their sleep patterns to be awake during the overnight hours U.S. time for the mission.
The Leonardo cargo-delivery module and new ammonia coolant reservoir for the International Space Station will be loaded into shuttle Discovery's payload bay at pad 39A today as preparations continue on schedule for the April 5 launch.

Testing of Discovery's Right Reaction Control System (RRCS) helium regulators occurred over the weekend with good results. An engineering review of the data was held Tuesday and officials are pressing onward to the senior-level Flight Readiness Review planned for Friday. That meeting will set the official launch date for the mission.

Barring a surprise, officials are expecting to clear Discovery for launch "as-is" without needing lengthy repairs to a leaky helium isolation valve in the RRCS.
FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2010
The reusable hauler of supplies to the International Space Station was delivered to the launch pad this morning, ready for shuttle Discovery to truck the cargo-laden module to the orbiting outpost next month.

Read our full story.
We have posted the latest version of the STS-131 flight plan. The timeline has been overhauled with an 8-hour mission extension for a "descending node" re-entry and a daylight landing at Kennedy Space Center.
MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2010
Engineers plan to begin tests late this week to verify the health of helium regulator assemblies downstream from a failed isolation valve in the shuttle Discovery's right-side orbital maneuvering system rocket pod. The valve cannot be replaced or repaired at the launch pad, but if the regulators check out - and no other problems crop up - mission managers could opt to launch Discovery as is next month, relying on the system's redundancy to justify proceeding with flight.

Read our full story.
1902 GMT (3:02 p.m. EDT)
Delivery of Discovery's payloads to the launch pad has been delayed to Friday morning, NASA just announced.
1725 GMT (1:25 p.m. EDT)
NASA officials have ordered additional testing to understand the ramifications from an internal valve problem in shuttle Discovery that has the potential to delay the April 5 launch.

During pre-flight preparations at launch pad 39A Friday night, a helium isolation valve was found to be either leaking or not closing properly in the Right Reaction Control System.

"The Right Reaction Control System, or RRCS, fuel helium tank pressure unexpectedly decreased in unison with the RRCS fuel propellant tank when the fuel tank was vented. This indicates that at least one of the two parallel helium isolation valves is leaking or is remaining in the open position when it is expected to be closed," NASA officials say.

Workers are unable to gain access to the valve in question at the launch pad, meaning a repair would require rolling the shuttle back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, demating Discovery from its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, then towing the orbiter over to its nearby hangar for repairs.

But the decision to take such a drastic move has not been made. Further testing and troubleshooting steps are being planned at the launch pad to examine two helium system regulators, which maintain pressure to the fuel tank and are further down the plumbing from the isolation valves.

If the regulators are functioning correctly, which will be tested late this week when the necessary equipment is ready, engineers could determine Discovery can safely fly as-is despite the isolation valve problem.

NASA has multiple days of slack in the schedule leading to the April 5 launch date, so this testing won't immediately impact the liftoff plans for the cargo-delivery mission to the International Space Station.

The payloads are slated to arrive at the launch pad Wednesday for installation into the shuttle, although managers are debating whether to delay those activities.

Check back later today for a full story.
Engineers are troubleshooting the apparent failure of a helium isolation valve in the shuttle Discovery's right-side orbital maneuvering system rocket pod, officials said Saturday. If the problem cannot be resolved at the pad - and sources said the engineering options are limited - NASA could be forced to haul the shuttle back to its hangar for repairs, delaying a planned April 5 launch.

Read our full story.
Clarifying what he described as "a big misconception," the shuttle program manager said Tuesday that NASA's vendors could restart production and deliver the parts and hardware needed to extend shuttle flights beyond the current September retirement target.

Read our full story.
The Discovery astronauts donned their bright orange spacesuits and went to the launch pad Friday to board the space shuttle for a countdown dress rehearsal and emergency evacuation training.

Read our full story.
1150 GMT (6:50 a.m. EST)
Shuttle Discovery journeyed to the launch pad overnight at barely a walking pace, but the spacecraft will soar to orbital speeds next month to haul a load of science equipment and supplies to the International Space Station.

Read our full story.
1148 GMT (6:48 a.m. EST)
The mobile launch platform was "harddown" on the pad pedestals at 6:48 a.m. EST, marking the official time for Discovery's arrival at pad 39A.
1138 GMT (6:38 a.m. EST)
The platform is slowly lowering down to the pedestals.
1108 GMT (6:08 a.m. EST)
The crawler has finished this morning's drive from the Vehicle Assembly Building, delivering space shuttle Discovery atop launch pad 39A. But the rollout's official conclusion time will be marked when the launch platform is lowered down and secured to the pad pedestals.
1058 GMT (5:58 a.m. EST)
Now passing the six-hour mark into today's rollout.
1050 GMT (5:50 a.m. EST)
The crawler is getting the mobile launch platform positioned over the pad pedestals where Discovery will be perched for its April 5 blastoff.
1030 GMT (5:30 a.m. EST)
Discovery has ascended the concrete ramp of launch pad 39A, its crawler-transporter having used massive hydraulic pistons to keep the mobile platform level.

Now atop the pad surface, a precision laser guidance system will help align the platform over the pad pedestals. The crawler will lower the platform onto the pedestals to complete the rollout.
1015 GMT (5:15 a.m. EST)
The crawler transporter hauling space shuttle Discovery is now climbing the concrete ramp to the launch pad.
0958 GMT (4:58 a.m. EST)
Discovery has passed through the pad perimeter fence.
0940 GMT (4:40 a.m. EST)
The crawler has reached the entrance gate at launch pad 39A.
0920 GMT (4:20 a.m. EST)
Hauling the shuttle stack out to launch pad 39A on this 3.5-mile trek is one of NASA's two Apollo-era crawler-transporters. The combined weight of the transporter, mobile launch platform and shuttle Discovery is 17.5 million pounds.

The stone-covered pathway connecting the VAB to the launch pad is 130 feet wide -- almost as broad as an eight-lane highway. Two 40-foot-wide lanes are separated by a 50-foot-wide median strip. The average depth is seven feet.

About 30 people are aboard the transporter to operate it during the rollout, including three drivers -- a prime and backup in the front cabin and one in the rear -- a jacking and leveling operator, a control room operator to run crawler systems and talk with the Launch Control Center, two electricians, two electronic technicians and four diesel mechanics for starting, monitoring and shutting down the transporter's engines. The other team members are mechanics watching over the roll and helping with the platform's docking to the launch pad.

The transporter consumes 126 gallons of diesel fuel in each mile it travels from the VAB to pad. The vehicle has a fuel capacity of 5,000 gallons.
0858 GMT (3:58 a.m. EST)
The rollout has been underway for four hours.
0830 GMT (3:30 a.m. EST)
The crawler has passed the fork in the road -- left to pad 39B or straight ahead to pad 39A.
0810 GMT (3:10 a.m. EST)
Discovery continues to make great progress toward the pad. Along the way, a water truck is dousing the crawlerway as a measure to prevent dust when the transporter rolls over the rocky road.
0750 GMT (2:50 a.m. EST)
Check out the latest page of photos in our rollout gallery here.
0720 GMT (2:20 a.m. EST)
Some more pictures of Discovery's rollout with the bright lights shining are posted here.
0642 GMT (1:42 a.m. EST)
Our first batch of pictures from the rollout is posted here.
0620 GMT (1:20 a.m. EST)
Our live video stream from the Kennedy Space Center press site continues as Discovery inches its way to the launch pad in the predawn darkness.
0525 GMT (12:25 a.m. EST)
Space shuttle Discovery has emerged from the 52-story landmark Vehicle Assembly Building where it spent the past week being attached to the external fuel tank and twin solid rockets atop a mobile platform.
0458 GMT (11:58 p.m. EST Tues.)
ROLLOUT BEGINS. Inside the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building, the transporter has started driving space shuttle Discovery toward Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A for this venerable orbiter's next-to-last mission.
0450 GMT (11:50 p.m. EST Tues.)
Rollout should begin in a few minutes.
0400 GMT (11:00 p.m. EST Tues.)
Observers are getting in place to oversee the crawler hydraulically lifting the shuttle platform off the assembly building pedestals.
0320 GMT (10:20 p.m. EST Tues.)
In the wake of that cold front that pushed through Central Florida on Tuesday, it is an incredibly windy night at the Kennedy Space Center. But the rollout team is pressing ahead with preparations for tonight's move of Discovery. The walkdown inspections of the shuttle were performed, the VAB doors are open and the crawler-transporter has been positioned under the shuttle.
0317 GMT (10:17 p.m. EST Tues.)
We are streaming live video of Discovery's rollout on the right-hand side of this page. We'll be providing coverage throughout the event.
0225 GMT (9:25 p.m. EST Tues.)
The crawler-transporter is now motoring toward the Vehicle Assembly Building to pick up Discovery.
0130 GMT (8:30 p.m. EST Tues.)
Forecasters are predicting windy conditions but no lightning or adverse weather for the overnight move of space shuttle Discovery to the launch pad. The rollout team is on station making final preps ahead of the midnight EST start to the move.
NASA is ready to roll the fully assembled space shuttle Discovery to Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A beginning at 12 midnight EST.

The ground team responsible for moving the spacecraft along the 3.5-mile stone-covered roadway from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the seaside pad is scheduled to report for duty at 8 p.m. EST.

The crawler-transporter will hydraulically lift the mobile launching platform and carry the shuttle on the six-hour trip. If all goes according to plan, Discovery should be secured atop the pad around sunrise.

Watch this page for live updates!

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The one-day delay in space shuttle Discovery's move to the launch pad didn't keep the seven astronauts away from the Kennedy Space Center, as commander Alan Poindexter and his crew jetted into the spaceport Monday for this week's emergency training and countdown dress rehearsal.

Read our full story.
2242 GMT (5:42 p.m. EST)
The T-38 jets are taxiing off the Shuttle Landing Facility. You can watch it live in our streaming video.
2230 GMT (5:30 p.m. EST)
Running ahead of schedule, the rest of the crew should be landing in a few minutes.
2120 GMT (4:20 p.m. EST)
The shuttle astronauts are flying from Houston to the Cape in staggered fashion. A formal arrival event with comments from the crew will occur sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. EST once all seven members are here at KSC.
1500 GMT (10:00 a.m. EST)
Concerns about rain and possible lightning have postponed shuttle Discovery's rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad by 24 hours. NASA has rescheduled the move to Wednesday morning beginning at 12:01 a.m. EST.

Meanwhile, the mission's seven astronauts are scheduled to arrive at the Florida spaceport at 7 p.m. EST tonight to start this week's countdown rehearsal and emergency training exercises. Watch for live coverage of that event right here on this page.
Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, workers are completing attachment of the shuttle Discovery to its external tank and set of solid rocket boosters.

The final electrical wiring between the orbiter and fuel tank should be finished today, and the standard shuttle interface test will begin later Friday to ensure the stack is properly connected.

Discovery's rollout to launch pad 39A is targeted to begin at 12:01 a.m. EST (0501 GMT) on Tuesday. The three-and-a-half mile journey should end with the shuttle's arrival at the complex around sunrise.

After arriving at the pad, Discovery will receive its payload and be prepared for launch to the International Space Station on April 5 at about 6:27 a.m. EDT (1027 GMT).
2130 GMT (4:30 p.m. EST)
Technicians are attaching Discovery to its external fuel tank inside High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building. Workers lifted the orbiter from the VAB floor and into the high bay overnight, and carefully lowered Discovery in place next to the external tank and boosters this morning.
0855 GMT (3:55 a.m. EST)
Spaceflight Now photographer Ben Cooper was inside the Vehicle Assembly Building Monday evening as Discovery was hoisted from the transporter and rotated vertical.

See our gallery of photos showing the marvel of lifting the 100-ton spaceplane from the VAB floor.
0840 GMT (3:40 a.m. EST)
Discovery is headed upward inside the VAB en route to a room next door, where the shuttle's fuel tank and solid rocket boosters are stacked atop a mobile launch platform.
0200 GMT (9 p.m. EST)
The crane has rotated Discovery to the vertical position. The orbiter will next be canted at a 45-degree angle to be put in the proper orientation to be lifted into the upper reaches of the Vehicle Assembly Building.
0045 GMT (7:45 p.m. EST)
Discovery is now being lifted from the 76-wheel orbiter transporter inside the Vehicle Assembly Building transfer aisle. The methodical, multi-hour process will first lift the vehicle above the transporter, then pivot Discovery vertical.

After achieving the proper alignment, the massive crane will hoist Discovery high into the mammoth 52-story building and into the adjacent high bay where the shuttle's tank and boosters await. The crane will then lower Discovery into place to be bolted to the external tank early tomorrow.
The shuttle Discovery moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building around 10:30 a.m. EST this morning. The rollover occurred a day earlier than announced to take advantage of good weather in advance of poor conditions forecasted tonight and Tuesday morning, according to NASA.

Inside the VAB, Discovery will be lifted high into the building, bolted and wired up to the external tank and solid rocket boosters and undergo a verification test. Rollout to launch pad 39A is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 2.
The planned rollover of the shuttle Discovery from its hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building is being rescheduled for Tuesday morning, according to NASA officials.

Discovery was being readied for the short move around sunrise Monday morning, but Endeavour's scheduled landing at Kennedy Space Center late Sunday night would stretch critical shuttle teams thin.

"The teams needed for landing preparations are some of the same ones needed for rollover. In the event they are needed for landing there would not be enough time to reset personnel for the rollover," a NASA spokesperson said.

Discovery has completed its preflight preparations inside Orbiter Processing Facility bay 3. Once inside the VAB, the orbiter will be attached to its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters.

"Managers have delayed Discovery's move to the Vehicle Assembly Building to Tuesday to alleviate any personnel issues for the workers," the spokesperson said.

NASA says the 24-hour delay will not affect Discovery's rollout to launch pad 39A, which is still scheduled for March 2.

Discovery will launch to the International Space Station around 6:27 a.m. EDT on April 5. The STS-131 mission will carry a logistics module filled with science gear and equipment for the outpost and its crew.

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Launch of shuttle Discovery on the next mission to the International Space Station will slip from March 18 to April 5 because of an unusual cold snap in Florida that has delayed processing and to avoid having a shuttle at the lab when the next Russian Soyuz crew transport arrives.

Read our full story.

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The astronauts launching on Discovery: Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, pilot James Dutton, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, commander Alan Poindexter, Naoko Yamazaki of Japan, and Clayton Anderson.

Join Miles O'Brien, David Waters and Leroy Chiao for our live launch webcast from Kennedy Space Center starting at 2 a.m. EDT on launch morning.