Shuttle Endeavour Photo Special: On Top of Pad 39A for Final Flight


Space Shuttle Endeavour now sits majestically at launch pad 39 A at the Kennedy Space Center, awaiting her historic final spaceflight on the STS-134 mission. Following her nighttime rollout to the pad, I was part of a lucky band of photographers and journalists permitted to travel along and participate in the ultimate photo op on a picture perfect day.

NASA allowed us to get breathtakingly close and document Endeavour from multiple absolutely awesome vantage points all around the launch pad from top to bottom. We were given access to shoot from the upper reaches of the launch gantry with stunning panoramic vistas of the Florida coastline to the bottom of the launch platform and standing directly beneath the External Tank and adjacent to the Twin Solid Rocket Boosters.

Here is part 1 of my photo album which focuses on the upper levels and includes our visit to the White Room – where the astronauts enter the crew hatch to board the shuttle orbiter to take their seats for the adventure of a lifetime.

Walkway to the White Room and astronaut’s crew hatch at Pad 39 A. Credit: Ken Kremer

With the shuttle era rapidly drawing to a close, NASA has opened up media access in ways not previously allowed so that we can share these rarely seen views of the shuttle with the public.

Close up of Endeavour crew cabin, ET, SRB and astronaut walkway to the White Room. Credit: Ken Kremer

STS-134 will be the 25th and final flight for Space Shuttle Endeavour. Liftoff is set slated for April 19 with an all veteran crew of six, led by Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly.

Endeavour will haul the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to orbit and attach this premiere science experiment to the truss structure of the International Space Station. AMS will search for dark matter and antimatter and seak to determine the origin of the universe.

Read more about the STS-134 mission in my prior reports here and here

View from top levels of Launch Pad 39A to Endeavour and Florida coast. Credit: Ken Kremer
Space Shuttle Endeavour awaits April 19 launch from Pad 39A at KSC. Credit: Ken Kremer
Side view of Space Shuttle Endeavour from on top of Pad 39A at KSC looking out to Florida coastline. at KSC. Credit Ken Kremer
Looking down along the Solid Rocket Boosters to the base of the Mobile Launch Platform at Pad 39A. Credit: Ken Kremer
View from the top of the retracted Rotating Service Structure (RSS) at Pad 39A to Endeavour and gaseous oxygen vent hood – beanie cap - with humerous wind monitor and Pad 39B off in the distance at left. Credit: Ken Kremer
Close up of Endeavour crew cabin attached to the White Room, Credit: Ken Kremer
Inside the White Room at Pad 39 A and the crew hatch to Shuttle Endeavour. Credit: Ken Kremer
Ken on top of the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) at Pad 39A with Endeavour and
gaseous oxygen vent hood – beanie cap. Credit: Ken Kremer
Space Shuttle Endeavour and launch gantry at Launch Pad 39A at KSC.
For context, the photos above were taken from the upper levels of the pad service structures at left (Rotating Service Structure and Fixed Service Structure) and the White Room attached to crew cabin at center. The Flame Trench is at bottom, center. Credit: Ken Kremer

4 Replies to “Shuttle Endeavour Photo Special: On Top of Pad 39A for Final Flight”

  1. “Space Shuttle Endeavour awaits April 19 launch from Pad 39A at KSC” – that’s my clear favourite!!!

  2. Fabulous photos, Ken. Must have been a thrill to be up there.
    “”……..with humerous wind monitor””” — Ken, are you sure that balloon wind monitor you saw isn’t acually a scarecrow for owls and other large birds? I’ve seen those balloons with goofy pictures painted on them before and their main purpose is to scare away owls and other large hesting birds from an area.

  3. Thanks to Ken, & NASA, for these stunning close up shots of shuttle Endeavour! How I wish I could be there to take my own shots & see an active shuttle before it is retired.

    Let’s hope this mission isn’t held up for 3 months like Discovery was! I imagine that the engineers at NASA will have revised all the problems they had with Discovery before Endeavour was even rolled out to the launching pad. “Once bitten … “

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