MPLM Leonardo

On March 8, 2001, Space Shuttle Discovery took off from the Kennedy Space Center at 6:42 a.m. for a journey of 8.5 million kilometers. This was the eighth mission to have docked the shuttle to the International Space Station. The shuttle also took over from the Station crew. It carried the members of Expedition Two into orbit and brought Shepherd, Gridzenko and Krikalev of Expedition One back to Earth at the end of their 136-day mission.

Discovery also delivered the Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM) containing additional racks for the U.S. Destiny Lab that had been delivered and installed the previous month during mission STS-98. Two spacewalks were necessary to proceed with the assembly operations of the MPLM. During the first, two astronauts moved the shuttle docking port in order to make room for the MPLM and to be able to attach the laboratory cradle to the top of Destiny, in preparation for the deployment of the Remote Manipulator of the Space station provided by Canada during mission STS-100.

Flight 5A / STS-102 highlighted the complexity of missions to the International Space Station. These now combine crew relief, the delivery and installation of new modules, as well as the preparation of interfaces for the systems to be delivered and installed during future missions.