NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis Moves to Vehicle Assembly Building
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Space Shuttle Atlantis was rolled from its processing facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center today at 9:41 a.m. in preparation for its Return to Flight mission, STS-121.
In the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), Atlantis will be attached to its propulsion elements, a redesigned External Tank (ET) and twin Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) before being moved by a giant Crawler Transporter out to Launch Pad 39B.
"This is a tremendously exciting day for the Atlantis team," said Scott Thurston, Atlantis vehicle manager. "Everyone has worked very hard to achieve this goal, and we are looking forward to a safe Return to Flight during the September window."
Additional work on the Shuttle while it's in the VAB includes the installation of a new digital camera on Atlantis, testing of electrical and mechanical attachments between the orbiter and ET, and umbilical checks.
While in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF), Atlantis underwent numerous modifications in response to the Columbia accident, including the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. These include the addition of the new Orbiter Boom Sensor System, equipping the orbiter with cameras and laser systems to inspect the Shuttle's Thermal Protection System, or heat shield, while in space; sensors in the leading edge of the Shuttle's wings, a new safety measure that monitors the orbiter's wings for debris impacts; and a new digital camera to view the External Tank during launch.
Atlantis is targeted for liftoff during a lighted window from Sept. 9 to Sept. 25. Its mission, designated STS-121, will take Commander Steve Lindsey and six crew members to the International Space Station on the second of two test flights to check out new inspection and repair techniques, as well as deliver supplies to the Station.
Photos of the Atlantis rollover can be found online. Additional photos will be added to the page as they are available.
For the latest information on NASA's Return to Flight efforts on the Internet, visit:
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