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SM4 Multimedia - Gallery

SHUTTLE PREPARATION - + Read more about Shuttle Preparation

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At Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Space Shuttle Atlantis goes through months of preparation prior to its mission. Beginning in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF), Atlantis is throughly cleaned and her engines are installed. The orbiter then moves into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where the external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters have been assembled. Once joined, the entire rocket assembly begans the slow journey out to the launch pad aboard a specially designed Crawler.
+ Read more about Space Shuttle Atlantis


Endeavour is the backup shuttle mission (STS-400), if needed for rescue (referred to as Launch On Need (LON) ), for the STS-125 Hubble servicing mission. STS-400 will be stationed on Launch Pad 39B with a four man crew made up of astronauts from STS-123. In the event of a LON and after the crew rescue, STS-125 will be deorbitted from the ground with planned ditch north of the Hawaiian Islands.
+ Read more about Space Shuttle Endeavour

External Fuel Tank

The external fuel tank for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope arrives at Port Canaveral, Fla., towed on the Pegasus barge by a solid rocket booster retrieval ship. It is then offloaded and transported into the Vehicle Assembly Building. Once inside the building, the tank will be raised to vertical, lifted and moved into a checkout cell. Stacking of the tank and solid rocket boosters is planned to start Aug. 7, 2008.
+ Read more about the External Fuel Tank

Launch Pad 39A - Repairs

A swath of about 3,500 protective bricks tore away from the walls of Launch Pad 39A's flame trench when space shuttle Discovery lifted off May 31, 2008 to begin its STS-124 mission. A 75- by 20-foot section of the east wall was destroyed and debris scattered as far as the pad perimeter fence. The flame trench channels the flames and smoke exhaust of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters away from the launching spacecraft.
+ Read more about KSC Launch Complex 39

Roll Out

Space shuttle Atlantis' journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39A was executed on September 4, 2008. Travelling at a speed of 1 mph, the 3.4-mile trip along the crawlerway takes about 6 hours. For STS-125, first motion occurred at 9:19 a.m. EDT. The shuttle stack was secured at the pad at 3:52 p.m. EDT.
+ Read more about the Crawler Transporters that move the shuttle stack from the VAB to the Pad


SM4 MISSION DELAY - Sept. 29, 2008

With two weeks until the targeted October launch date, Atlantis' mission was delayed after a device on board Hubble used in the storage and transmission of science data to Earth shut down on Sept. 27, 2008. Replacing the broken device will be added to Atlantis' servicing mission to the telescope. + Read More

Roll Back

October 20, 2008 - The same meticulous steps for preparing for launch are reversed with a roll-back. First the payload is removed from the shuttle and placed back in the payload canister and the canister is transferred back to the Canister Rotation Facility for rotation to a horizontal position. Then it's transported back to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) where the hardware is unloaded and stored until a new target launch date is set.
+ Read the Shuttle Rollback History

Roll Out II

Space shuttle Atlantis' much anticipated return journey to Launch Pad 39A was executed on March 31, 2009. Travelling at <1 mph, the 3.4-mile trip along the crawlerway takes 7+ hours. First motion occurred at 3:54 a.m. EDT. The shuttle stack was secured at the pad at 11:17 a.m.
+ Read more about the Shuttle Roll Out process