Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The space shuttle Atlantis began her first steps toward her final scheduled space flight this morning as she was rolled from her hanger to the massive Vehicle Assembly Building here at the Kennedy Space Center.
Inside the VAB, Atlantis will be mated to her huge rust-colored External Fuel tank atop a mobile launcher platform in preparation for launch in mid-May.
Atlantis is scheduled to spend this week under going electrical and pipe fit connections between three attachment points on her belly and to fuel lines from the fuel tank. Attached to either side of the tank are a pair of solid rocket boosters.
Rollout from the VAB out to launch pad 39-A is slated for midnight on Tuesday morning.
Launch of Atlantis on her final space flight and STS-132, is planned for May 14th on a twelve day mission to the International Space Station.
Atlantis' final assembly was completed in April 1984, and underwent electrical testing for the next several months at the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California.
It was exactly twenty-five years ago this week in which Atlantis (OV-104) arrived at KSC from being built in Palmdale to prepare for her first flight, STS-51J, later that Autumn of 1985.