Thursday, April 22, 2010

Final Flight: Shuttle Atlantis Moved to Launch Pad

Under the darkness of the Kennedy Space Center, the space shuttle Atlantis was moved out to her ocean side launch pad today in preparation for her final flight.

First motion of Atlantis' mobile launcher platform crawler was set at 11:31 pm EDT, on Wednesday night.

Moving at just under 1 mph, the nearly four mile journey out to launch pad 39-A took just six hours and thirty-two minutes, arriving at 6:03 am today.

Atlantis' journey to her launch pad was twice delayed due to thunderstorms and concerns for lightning in the area. A planned sunrise roll out on Wednesday was scrapped due to the crawler way being too wet, as one technician accessed.

Atlantis' crew of six arrived here at America's Spaceport on Tuesday to perform launch pad emergency drills, and perform a practice countdown on Friday.

The traditional dry-count will see commander Kenneth Ham, pilot Tony Antonelli, and mission specialists Michael Good, Garrett Reisman, Piers Sellers and Steve Bowen climb aboard the orbiter for a simulated engine cut-off.

Atlantis will lift-off on a 12 day mission to the International Space Station, with Russia's Mini-Research Module tucked in her payload bay.

This flight will also mark the thirty-second and final space flight by Atlantis.

Launch of NASA's 132nd space shuttle flight is tentatively scheduled for May 14 at 2:19 pm.

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