Penultimate Discovery On Easter Monday

Space Shuttle Discovery has been cleared to launch on its penultimate mission on April 5th - Easter Monday. NASA mission managers announced the date after an intensive flight review that took into account a potentially mission threatening leaky helium pressurization valve on Discovery. The launch date for Discovery on the STS-131 mission is set for 6:21am EDT on Easter Monday, April 5th.

Discovery's payload cannister is prepared for the STS-131 mission

After a system test that showed the valve had stuck, tests were conducted that subsequently showed the reading was a one-off and couldn't be reproduced. The impact of the valve failing during the mission is low, so the decision to proceed was taken after a unanimous vote by mission managers. Another minor issue of a potentially loose ceramic inserts around the heat shield tiles of the flight deck was also deemed low risk.

Keep an eye on Spacers as the launch date approaches.

Image credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
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