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Final shuttle rocket test goes without a bang

While NASA preps Discovery for Tuesday roll-out

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In Florida, meanwhile, NASA technicians are getting ready for next Tuesday's roll-out of Discovery to Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

The STS-131 mission to the International Space Station is due to blast off on 5 April, carrying "a multi-purpose logistics module filled with science racks" to the orbiting outpost.

NASA has provided the traditional cheerful crew shot, showing (seated) Commander Alan Poindexter (r) and Pilot James P Dutton Jr (l) and (standing l-r) mission specialists Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki and NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson:

NASA's group shot of the Discovery crew

The 13-day mission will feature three spacewalks by Anderson and Mastracchio, during which they'll "replace an ammonia tank assembly, retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior and switch out a rate gyro assembly on the S0 element of the station’s truss".

Once STS-131 is done and dusted, there are three remaining shuttle launches, all to the ISS: Atlantis's STS-132 mission on 14 May, Endeavour's STS-134 on 29 July and Discovery's STS-133, scheduled for launch on 16 September. ®

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