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Gallery: On the Launch Pad

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Aerial view of Launch Complex 14 with Missile Row visible to the right. Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA-9), visible on Pad 14, carried astronaut Gordon Cooper for the fourth manned orbital mission.

The Apollo Saturn V 500F Facilities Test vehicle, after conducting the VAB stacking operations, rolls out of the VAB on its way to Pad 39A to perform crawler, Launch Umbilical Tower, and pad operations.

A technician works atop the white room through which the Apollo astronauts will enter their spacecraft, which is stacked at the top of a Saturn V rocket. The vehicle is being prepared for the first manned lunar landing mission.

Dawn breaks behind the ASTP Saturn IB launch vehicle during the Countdown Demonstration Test. The Mobile Service Structure was moved away from the vehicle for the test, which is a step-by-step dress rehearsal for the launch culminating in a simulated T-zero and launch.

A timed exposure of the Space Shuttle, STS-1, at Launch Pad A, Complex 39, turns the space vehicle and support facilities into a night-time fantasy of light. Structures to the left of the Shuttle are the fixed and the rotating service structure.

A view from inside bay three of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) shows the Space Shuttle Discovery washed in white xenon light as it makes a nighttime departure from the VAB on its way to Pad 39B.

A flock of birds take flight shortly after the Space Shuttle Atlantis arrives at Pad 39B after being rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building approximately six hours before.

The STS-36 vehicle and launch platform were rolled out to Launch Pad 39A on January 25 after the shortest stay in the Vehicle Assembly Building since return-to-flight. The distance between the VAB and Pad 39A is about 3.4 miles.

The Space Shuttle Columbia rolls to Launch pad 39A from the Vehicle Assembly Building. Already inside the orbiter's cargo bay is the payload for the upcoming STS-55 flight, the D-2 Spacelab module and Unique Support Structure.

Ed Muktarian, a structural engineer with Lockheed Space Operations Co., is assisting with the docking of the Space Shuttle Endeavour at Launch Pad 39B. Muktarian is using a surveying instrument called a zenith nadir plummet to properly align survey plates located both on the pad surface and the mobile launch platform (MLP), which rests atop the crawler and supports the Shuttle.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is being rolled around from Launch Pad 39A to Launch Pad 39B. The rare pad switch was deemed necessary after contamination was discovered in the Payload Changeout Room at Pad A.

The Space Shuttle Discovery completes the final Earth-bound portion of its journey into space, leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building on the slow trip to Launch Pad 39B.

A massive 19 million pounds (8.6 million kilograms) of Space Shuttle, support and transport hardware, inch toward Launch Pad 39A from the Vehicle Assembly Building. The fully assembled Space Shuttle Endeavour, minus its payloads, weighs about 4.5 million pounds (2 million kg.).

The rising sun and some scattered clouds provide a picturesque backdrop for the Space Shuttle Discovery as it travels along the Crawlerway toward Launch Pad 39A in preparation for the STS-83 mission. The Shuttle is on a Mobile Launch Platform, and the entire assemblage is being carried by a large tracked vehicle called the Crawler Transporter.

Shortly before dawn, a red-rimmed moon helps to light the way for the Space Shuttle Atlantis as it rolls out to Launch Pad 39A in preparation for launch of Mission STS-86.

A top-to-bottom view of the 36-story-tall Apollo/Saturn 501 space vehicle in High Bay No. 1 of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Apollo 10 rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Complex 39B.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis departs the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) with its destination, Launch Pad 39A, visible in the distance. The trip marks the second time Atlantis was rolled out to the pad in this mission flow.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis heads back to Launch Pad 39A and liftoff on Mission STS-79 around September 12, 1996. The journey to the launch pad began shortly before 2:30 p.m. and will take approximately six hours to complete.

Aerial view showing Space Shuttle Columbia at Launch Pad 39B following rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building; Columbia is being prepared for Mission STS-75.

The Crawler Transporter brings the Space Shuttle Discovery on its Mobile Launcher Platform into position at Launch Pad 39B, following rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building. The Fixed Service Structure and the Rotating Service Structure, permanent parts of the launch pad, are left of the Shuttle.

Pre-launch test of the Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA9) on Launch Pad 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Astronaut Gordon Cooper departing the Transfer Van in his silver pressure suit and helmet, is greeted with applause from the assembled Pad 14 employees. When he arrives at the base of the service tower, he'll ride an elevator up to where his Mercury spacecraft nicknamed, "Faith 7" awaits his arrival.

Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) Prelaunch Activities on the Mercury 5 launch pad.

Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) flight configuration with cherry picker, on one of many tests conducted to evaluate astronaut escape feasibility.

The Transporter nears the top of the five percent incline at Launch Complex 39A with the Apollo 11 Saturn V.

The transporter carries the 363-foot-high Apollo 12 Saturn V space vehicle from the VAB's High Bay 3 at the start of the 3.5 mile rollout to Launch Complex 39A today. The transporter carried the 12.8 million pound load along the crawlerway at speeds under one mile per hour.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis begins the slow journey to Launch Pad 39A from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). This dramatic view looking directly down onto the Shuttle atop the Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) and crawler-transporter was taken from the VAB roof approximately 525 feet (160 meters) above the ground.

A powerful electrical storm created an eerie tapestry of light in the skies near Complex 39A in the hours preceding the launch of STS-8.


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