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.
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.
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.
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