Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Final Shuttle Crew On Hand For Atlantis Rollout

Shuttle Atlantis is poised in the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly for its scheduled rollout to the launch pad tonight for NASA's final shuttle flight.

With the shuttle stacked atop a mobile launcher platform, a giant crawler-transporter originally built for the Apollo moon-landing project will creep out of the 52-story assembly building at 8 p.m. The start of the 3.5-mile trip to launch pad 39A will be broadcast on NASA TV and you can watch right here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box to launch our NASA TV viewer and live coverage.

The four astronauts who will fly the STS-135 mission will be on hand for the rollout. An informal Question & Answer session with news media will take place at 8:30 p.m.

Mission commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim will field question at the Launch Complex 39 Press Site while a flood-lit Atlantis moves toward the launch pad in the background.

The Q&A will be broadcast on NASA TV and simulcast here in The Flame Trench.

Some 8,000 employees and guests are expected to attend the last shuttle rollout. The weather forecast looks good and NASA is working no technical show-stoppers at this point.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the NASA image of the orbiter Atlantis being mated with an external tank with attached solid rocket boosters inside the KSC Vehicle Assembly Building. You also can click the enlarged image to get an even bigger, more detailed view. Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis.

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