[/caption]NASA’s Space Shuttle Program is inexorably and swiftly headed towards its finale.
With shuttle Discovery orbiting some 200 miles overhead on her final flight, launch preparations for the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour moved into high gear.
Endeavour was rolled a few hundred yards from her processing hanger at the Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where she will be attached to the external fuel tank (ET) and twin solid rocket boosters (SRB) which will power her final trip to space. See photo album below from Alan Walters and Ken Kremer.
NASA plans to transport Endeavour to Launch Pad 39 A on March 9 for the STS-134 missionand her 25th and final flight. Launch is set for April 19.
Endeavour and her six person crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a $1.5 Billion particle physics detector designed to search for dark matter and determine the origin of the Universe. The crew will also deliver a platform that carries spare parts platform parts that will sustain station operations once the shuttles are retired later this year.
The quarter mile trip on a 76 wheeled transporter began about 7 AM this morning (Feb 28). The orbiter was backed tail first out of the processing hanger known as the Orbiter Processing Facility and then ‘rolled over’ to the VAB and parked close to the entrance doors.
Rollover marks the start of the final phase of launch preparations for the STS-134 mission. Hundreds of Shuttle workers who process the orbiters for flight were invited to witness the event and pose for photo ops with the spaceship. Most KSC employees never get the chance to glimpse the orbiters up close.
The next major milestone is for Endeavour to be hoisted and mated to the External Tank on Tuesday and prepare for rollout to the launch pad.
Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight – www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter