External Tank for Final Scheduled Shuttle Mission Arrives at KSC (Gallery)

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Universe Today photographer Alan Walters was on hand at Kennedy Space Center today to see the arrival of ET-138, the external tank for the final scheduled space shuttle mission, STS-134. Enjoy this gallery of images, (because it is something that might only happen one more time…). There was also a surprise drive-by of some segments of used shuttle solid rocket boosters.

Arrival of ET-138 at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Arrival of ET-138 at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Arrival of ET-138 at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Arrival of ET-138 at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Arrival of ET-138 at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Closeup of ET-138 at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Arrival of ET-138 at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Arrival of ET-138 at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Used SRB sections drive past while ET-138 is being unloaded at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Used SRB sections drive past while ET-138 is being unloaded at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Kennedy's External Tank/Solid Rocket Booster Vehicle Manager Alicia Mendoza is interviewed at KSC on July 14, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Closeup of the nose of ET-138. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
ET-138 arrives at the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Hitting Home That the Space Shuttle Program is Ending

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As NASA’s space shuttles head towards retirement, events are starting to happen now that are “lasts” for the program. On April 13, 2010 Atlantis was rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building for what is likely the last time. The workers at Kennedy Space Center are preparing Atlantis for its final flight, STS-132, currently scheduled for launch in mid-May 2010, and in the VAB the orbiter will be mated to the External Tank and solid rocket boosters. Thanks to photographer Alan Walters, Universe Today hopes to be able to chronicle these final events as the storied space shuttle program comes to an end. Of course, with NASA’s future seemingly in a state of flux, there’s a small possibility additional shuttle flights will be added, but enjoy this gallery of Alan’s wonderful pictures showing what is scheduled to be Atlantis’ final rollover.

Atlantis just leaving the Orbiter Processing Facility. Image credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today

Atlantis moving to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Image credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Atlantis, head on! Image credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Atlantis during the last rollover to the VAB. Image credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
The aft end of Atlantis, as seen during the rollover. Image credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Atlantis during its likely last rollover to the VAB. Image credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today
Atlantis entering the VAB for what is likely the last time. Image credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today