STS-131 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch Targeted for April 5, 2010

Space Shuttle Discovery, scheduled for an early morning launch on April 5, will deliver a multi-purpose logistics module to laboratories on the International Space Station.  Educator Astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger will participate as a mission specialist on this 33rd shuttle mission, operating the robotic arm of the International Space Station during the movement and installation of critical components of the station.  She will also manage much of the first of three spacewalks scheduled for the mission.

Capitalizing on Metcalf-Lindenburger’s experiences as an educator and mission robotics specialist, NASA’s Office of Education has scheduled the STS-131 Pre-Launch Education Forum.  The theme for this latest forum is “Women in Engineering and Robotics.”

In preparation for the forum, NASA solicited nominations from a national network of Space Grants, educational affiliates, and aerospace partners, selecting 100 attendees from a diverse cross section of educators, deans, engineers, non-profit directors, and researchers.  These guests will attend the STS-131 Pre-Launch Forum to discuss the critical roles of women and robotics in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.  Attendees will form a working group to discuss the current state of STEM education with the goal of increasing interest in STEM careers among women students and early-career professionals.  Forum guests will also attend the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.

After a final review on Friday, March 26, NASA managers will set the final launch date. To watch the launch live online, visit NASA TV at the following link: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

To learn more about STS-131, the crew, and the missions, visit the shuttle website at the following link: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts131/index.html

Interesting STS-131 facts:

  • Three female astronauts will participate in STS-131: Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, and Naoko Yamazaki.
  • Mission Specialist Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger taught earth science and astronomy at Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver, Washington before entering NASA’s Educator Astronaut training in 2004.
  • STS-131 is one of only four shuttle missions scheduled before the completion of NASA’s Space Shuttle program.  The remaining missions include STS-132, scheduled for May 14, 2010, STS-134, scheduled for July 29, 2010, and STS-133, targeted for September 16, 2010.
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