360-degree Tour of Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center
27 July 2012 & 3 August 2012
Page One of Three
Launch Complex 39 A & B at Kennedy Space center launched all the Apollo moon flights, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz along with all the Space Shuttle flights. This tour went around Pad 39A. The Crawler-Transporter with the Mobile Launch Platform carrying the Space Shuttle straddles both sides of the grass on its journey to the top of the pad.
Pad 39A is frozen in time, looking just as it did after the last Space Shuttle launch, which was Atlantis on 8 July 2011. The Mobile Launch Platform from which Atlantis took off is still in place. The two tombstone looking objects on the MLP are the Tail Service Masts supporting the "....fluid, gas, and electrical requirements of the Orbiter's liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen aft umbilicals."
The water tower supplies all the water that deluges the pad at liftoff to provide sound suppression protection to the pad and vehicle. The water tower capacity is 300,000 gallons.
A collection of signs from around the pad.
The tower with the white mast atop it is the Fixed Service Structure. To the left of that is the Rotating Service Structure.
"The Rotating Service Structure provides protected access to the Orbiter for changeout and servicing of payloads at the pad....payloads may be loaded into the Orbiter from the RSS under environmentally clean or 'white room' conditions." The structure also allows for access and servicing to other parts of the Orbiter.
"The Orbiter access arm swings out to the Orbiter crew compartment to provide personnel access to the forward compartments of the Orbiter. The outer end of the access arm ends in an environmental chamber [the White Room] that mates with the Orbiter and will hold six persons. The arm remains in the extended position until 2 minutes before launch to provide emergency egress for the crew."
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