Gallery: Atlantis Rolls Towards Last Launch

Article written: 22 Apr , 2010
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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What a beautiful shot! Universe Today photographer Alan Walters had the opportunity to be inside the Vehicle Assembly Building early this morning (12 am EDT) as space shuttle Atlantis began her slow crawl to launchpad 39A, in what is scheduled to be her last flight. If everything goes as planned, STS-132 will launch on May 14 at 2:19 p.m. EDT (6:19 GMT). While Alan had a great view from inside the VAB (see more below), he wasn’t the only one with a unique vantage point. The six-member crew of STS-132 got to ride along on the crawler-transporter during the 6-miles trek to the pad. “Riding the crawler last night was absolutely fantastic,” said commander Ken Ham. He said the crawler, powered by destroyer engines, reminded him of a Navy ship even though it moves across gravel instead of rolling waves. “It is incredible to see that battleship on the ground.”

See more positively stunning rollout images from Alan, below.

Atlantis in the VAB before rollout. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Another great shot of Atlantis in the VAB. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Yes, people really are that small compared to the shuttle crawler! Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Atlantis out the door of the VAB. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Beautiful night-time view of the VAB, reflecting in the water. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Atlantis' reflection in the water. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Atlantis at the pad early on April 22, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Atlantis at the pad. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

The crew of STS-132 ready for the TCDT test. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

The crew of STS-132 was at the pad early this morning, getting ready to conduct the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, a simulation of the countdown and other events to prepare the crew for launch. The crew includes, (L-R) Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli, Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman and Michael Good, and Mission Specialists Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers.

Stay tuned for more great images by Alan Walters from upcoming events and launches from KSC.

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7 Responses

  1. Member
    IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

    [Commander Ken Ham (not to be confused with that Australian creationist nutter)] said the crawler, powered by destroyer engines, reminded him of a Navy ship even though it moves across gravel instead of rolling waves.

    From Wikipedia — Crawler-transporter:

    The crawler-transporter has a mass of 2,400 tonnes [… and] has 16 traction motors, powered by four 1,341 horsepower (1,000 kW) generators, in turn driven by two 2,750 horsepower (2,050 kW) Alco diesel engines. Two 1,006 horsepower (750 kW) generators, driven by two 1,065 horsepower (794 kW) engines, are used for jacking, steering, lighting, and ventilating. Two 201 horsepower (150 kW) generators are also available to power the Mobile Launcher Platform. The crawler’s tanks hold 5,000 US gallons (19,000 L; 4,200 imp. gal.) of diesel fuel, and it burns 150 gal/mi (350 L/km).

  2. Member
    IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

    Erratum: The crawler-transporter has a mass of 2,721 tonnes…

  3. HelloBozos says

    Great photo, I think if they painted it again, the Foam won’t fly off…

  4. mgjohnson says

    The ET’s painted white again???? It’s 1981 all over again !!!!!

  5. Olaf says

    Probably not painted white, just white color balance that gives the impression.

  6. Spoodle58 says

    I was kinda hoping that the ETs would get a white paint job for each of the last flights.

  7. Random63 says

    You might want to check out a Former KSC Space Shuttle Worker’s reaction to Obama’s ending our Human Space Flight Program.

    http://www.rv-103.com/?p=457

    P.S. The pics are beautiful. It’s even better to see it in person. 😉

    P.S.S. We don’t do white paint anymore because it saved us 600 lbs in weight that could be used towards the payload.

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