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Backgrounder: Crew members of U.S. shuttle Discovery's STS-131 mission

2010-04-06 08:49 BJT

WASHINGTON, April 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. space shuttle Discovery lifted off on Monday morning from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on a 13-day construction mission to the orbiting International Space Station. There are seven astronauts aboard the shuttle.

Alan G. Poindexter

A captain in the U.S. Navy, Poindexter will command the crew on its mission to the space station. This will be the second trip to space for Poindexter, who has more than 306 hours of spaceflight experience. Poindexter will be responsible for the execution of the mission and will oversee all crew and vehicle activities. As commander, he will fly Discovery during the rendezvous pitch maneuver, the docking and landing back on Earth.

James P. Dutton Jr.

Marking his first spaceflight journey, Dutton, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, will serve as pilot. He will assist Poindexter with rendezvous and landing and will fly the orbiter during undocking and the fly-around. In addition, he will serve as lead shuttle robotic arm operator for the mission. He has logged over 3,300 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.

Rick Mastracchio

Veteran astronaut Mastracchio will serve as mission specialist one, marking his third trip to space. He joined NASA in 1990 as an engineer and was selected as an astronaut in 1996.

Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger

A former teacher, Metcalf-Lindenburger will serve as mission specialist two. She is the intravehicular crew member, responsible for coordinating all spacewalk activities. She also will operate the shuttle robotic arm.

Stephanie Wilson

A Harvard engineering graduate and veteran of two spaceflights, Wilson is assigned as mission specialist three for STS-131. Wilson's primary duties for the mission include operating the space station robotic arm, operating the rendezvous situational awareness tools during docking and undocking with the station, and managing the plan that transforms Discovery from a launch vehicle to an orbiting vehicle to an entry vehicle.

Naoko Yamazaki

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki will serve as mission specialist four on STS-131, her first spaceflight. Loadmaster for the mission, she will be responsible for all payload and transfer operations.

Clayton Anderson

Veteran of one long-duration spaceflight, Clayton Anderson will serve as mission specialist five. Anderson will be on the flight deck for entry. He will assist with rendezvous and undocking and will perform three spacewalks with Mastracchio.

Editor: Zheng Limin | Source: Xinhua