Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shuttle Pre-Flight Activities, Rarely Seen by the General Public

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Shuttle "Discovery":
Pre-Flight Activities, Rarely Seen by the General Public

However, these pictures deserve a wide viewing audience: the amount of thought and engineering that goes into every launch is immense; each successful take-off represents the Mankind's finest effort, and is a wonder to behold.

External tank arrives by barge from Louisiana:

External tank approaches Vertical Assembly Building (VAB):

Removing external tank:

Preparing to lift the tank to vertical:

Lifting the tank:

Solid rockets are attached:

Orbiter: External tank with Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB):

Engines are attached to the shuttle in the Orbiter Processing Facility:

Shuttle in sling ready for lift in VAB:

Shuttle has been moved to VAB and will be attached to external tank:

Shuttle is attached:

Payload Preparation in Space Station Processing Facility:

Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM):

Payload carrier leaves Canister Rotation Facility:

Payload being moved to Launch Pad:

Lifting payload into position for insertion into "Discovery"
when it arrives at the pad:

Shuttle "Discovery" leaves VAB:

Trip to launch:
Length - 3 1/2 mi
Time - 6-8 hours
Arrow indicates the Launch Pad.

Crawler Control:

"Discovery" arrives at Pad:

(image credit: NASA / Ken Thornsley)

Ready for Launch:

(image credit: NASA / Scott Andrews)

We Have Lift Off !

(image credit: NASA - click to enlarge)

Images courtesy Christie L. Dyett and Amanda Diller - NASA Space Coast Launch Services

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