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STS-132: Atlantis Rolls to the Launch Pad
After several weather delays, space shuttle Atlantis began its 3.4-mile journey to Launch Pad 39A in darkness, leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 11:31 p.m. EDT on April 21.
The astronauts set to fly on Atlantis were on hand to watch the rollout, and took time to greet gathered employees and their children.
Michael Good/STS-132 Mission Specialist: Look at that, looks just like me. Nice. Very cool.
Stacked with its solid rocket boosters and external fuel tank on the mobile launcher platform, the shuttle's slow roll atop a crawler-transporter took approximately six and a half hours, reaching the seaside launch pad at about 6 a.m.
Ken Ham/STS-132 Commander: It is, in my mind, the most incredible machine that humanity has ever built.
Already waiting at the pad is the STS-132 payload bound for the International Space Station.
On this, its final planned flight, Atlantis will carry an integrated cargo carrier and the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1.
The payload will be installed in the shuttle's cargo bay as technicians continue launch preparations throughout the next month.
A crew of six astronauts will conduct this 34th space shuttle mission dedicated to the assembly and maintenance of the space station.
Atlantis is targeted for launch on the STS-132 mission in May.
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