Shuttle Discovery used most of Friday to roll out of the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) for the four mile trip down the Kennedy Space Center crawlerway, en route to her final destination, launch pad 39B for the July launch target of STS-121.
NASASpaceflight.com provided coverage of the rollout as a live event, with images, video and debate – links provided inside this article.
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Rollout was set to begin at midday (Eastern) but was slightly delayed due to a motor overheating on the crawler transport, which carries the MLP (Mobile Launch Platorm) and Shuttle. Rollout officially begun at 12:45pm (Eastern).
‘Rollout of Space Shuttle Discovery signifies the last major processing milestone in preparation for our next mission, STS-121,’ said Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale.
‘The entire team has worked tremendously hard to ensure we were prepared to move to the pad, and we are excited to continue moving toward a July launch.’
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Discovery will undergo an APU hot fire test over the weekend, as preparations begin for the launch window which opens in July.
In around three weeks, a critical design certification review will be finalized, following the wind tunnels tests on the modified External Tank – now without its PAL ramp, along with modified ice/frost ramps.
The review will be key to deciding whether or not Discovery will press ahead with her July launch window.
Stay tuned for comphensive coverage on the key events surrounding the evaluation process ahead of launch.
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