› View Now
STS-135: Atlantis' Final Roll to Launch Pad 39A
Space shuttle Atlantis stands on Launch Pad 39A one last time following a nearly seven-hour ride to the structure on the top of a crawler-transporter. For 30 years, space shuttles stacks have moved down the same three-and-a-half-mile stretch of river rock on their way to pad A or B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Atlantis earned cheers as it began its journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building at 8:42 p.m. on May 31, 2011. NASA invited employees and their families to see the last rollout, and the astronauts who will fly the STS-135 mission came to see it too.
CHRIS FERGUSON, STS-135 Commander
What you see there is a product of a nation who is willing to combine its resources to build a world-class vehicle that has no duplicate whatsoever.
Eight strong bolts held the 4 1/2 million-pound shuttle stack to the mobile launch platform. The shuttle completed its move on June 1 at 3:29 a.m.
Now at the pad, Atlantis will soon receive its last payload, a cargo module called Rafaello that will be packed full of equipment, experiments and lots of supplies for the six people living on the International Space Station.
Atlantis is targeted to make the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program in July, thundering aloft once more from the same launch complex that launched the program's first groundbreaking mission 30 years ago.
› View Now