Friday, December 11, 2009

Endeavour set for assembly into space shuttle

Under overcast and blustery skies today at Kennedy Space Center, the orbiter Endeavour rolled into the Vehicle Assembly Building to set the stage for the first mission of 2010.

Workers will soon attach a sling to Endeavour and hoist the 88-ton spaceship into a high bay where an external tank and twin solid rocket boosters await atop a mobile launcher platform.

NASA plans to deliver the assembled space shuttle to launch pad 39A on Jan. 6.

Carried by a 76-wheeled transporter, Endeavour began backing out of its hangar on schedule around 1 p.m. and completed the quarter-mile move less than an hour later.

Click "Read more..." to see a sequence of shots documenting Endeavour's "rollover," provided live via cell phone by Florida Today's Todd Halvorson and by NASA TV. Photo above by Florida Today's Craig Bailey.

NASA is expected to target Feb. 7 as the launch date for Endeavour's 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

Endeavour and six astronauts plan to deliver the Tranquility module and a seven-windowed cupola to the station, the last major addition planned to the U.S. segment.

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