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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