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[b]Launch Pad Prepares for Payload Arrival[/b]
Today on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians will open the rotating service structure that surrounds space shuttle Discovery. The move is in preparation for the transfer of the canister containing the STS-131 payload, which is set to begin 12:01 a.m. EDT Friday. Once the canister reaches the pad, it will be hoisted into the payload changeout room. From there, the payload, which includes the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, will be installed into Discovery's payload bay on March 24.
Meanwhile, engineers continue evaluating data from a pressurization test of Discovery's right reaction control system's helium system to verify the overall health of the regulators downstream of the helium isolation valves. Preliminary data shows positive results for the test, with further testing scheduled for later in the week. The testing was initiated because of an issue that occurred last weekend while Discovery's aft fuel propellant tanks were being vented in preparation for fuel loading.
After a few days off, the STS-131 crew will brush up on rendezvous techniques at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, as Commander Alan Poindexter and Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. practice in the Shuttle Training Aircraft over the White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico.
Discovery's mission to the International Space Station currently is targeted to launch April 5.
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