Aviation News

May 15, 2011

Photos: Commander Kelly and Space Shuttle Endeavour Prepare for Final Launch

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By: Suresh Atapattu
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The photographer at the pad showing the scale of the orbiter in launch position.

The photographer at the pad showing the scale of the orbiter in launch position. The square white box over my right shoulder contains the payload: the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02), a $1.5 billion experiment to help figure out the beginning of the Universe. It was taken to the pad in the dark and then hoisted up into the Rotating Service Structure (RSS). The payload is then taken out of the white box into a clean room. The white box is lowered back on to the odd-looking truck at the bottom, which drives off. Then, the RSS rotates back to envelope the orbiter. (Note the yellow bumpers placed around the orbiter cargo doors, these are used to open the doors.) Once enveloped, the cargo doors are opened while maintaining the clean room atmosphere. The payload is transferred from the clean room of the RSS into the clean room-like payload bay of the orbiter. (Photo by Suresh A. Atapattu)






 
 

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