Vehicle Assembly Building

2009 Kennedy Space Center Visit


Various pieces of space hardware and infrastructure at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Leading Edge

06 Aug 2009 58
The leading edge of Discovery's port wing, protected by a small roof on the rotating service structure.

T-0 Umbilical

06 Aug 2009 73
One of the two umbilicals connected to the tail service masts. At T-0, this umbilical is released and is forcibly yanked away and into the tail service mast (right), where a heavy door slams shut to protect it from the Shuttle's rocket plumes. To the right is the starboard OMS pod, and in the background is the starboard wing and elevon. Nose is up.

Carriage

06 Aug 2009 37
One of the rail bogeys on which the rotating service structure travels. Just out of view to the right is a little bridge across the flame trench.

Engines

06 Aug 2009 83
SSMEs, an OME (enclosed in a red protective cover), and an assortment of RCS thrusters on the port side of Discovery's boattail.

SSME

06 Aug 2009 58
One of the three Space Shuttle Main Engines (top center) on the back end of Discovery

SRB

06 Aug 2009 65
One of Discovery's SRBs. The four white cylinders are separation motors that fire when the SRBs are jettisoned so as to shove it away from the Orbiter. Note the hold-down bolts on the skirt (red boxes). They're much bigger than they look.

Repairs

06 Aug 2009 61
Repairs to the inside of the tube wall on the nozzle of one of Discovery's SSMEs.

Engines

06 Aug 2009 68
The eyeball-like movable heatshields around the base of Discovery's SSMEs.

Stack

06 Aug 2009 68
The SRBs and external tank on Discovery, with the rotating service structure on the left and the fixed service structure (formerly a Saturn launch umbilical tower) on the right. The grey piping is part of the water deluge system that protects the launch platform and provides acoustic dampening to protect the Shuttle as it lifts off.

Skirt and Plume Hole

06 Aug 2009 63
An SRB skirt, mounting points, and exhaust plume hole through the launch platform.

Stack

06 Aug 2009 65
The SRBs and external tank on Discovery, with the rotating service structure on the left and the fixed service structure (formerly a Saturn launch umbilical tower) on the right.

Skirts

06 Aug 2009 101
The bases of the SRBs and the aft dome of the External tank. Note the bolts holding the SRBs to the launch platform - that's pretty much all there is holding up the entire Shuttle stack.

Skirts

06 Aug 2009 69
The bases of the SRBs and the aft dome of the External tank. Note the bolts holding the SRBs to the launch platform - that's pretty much all there is holding up the entire Shuttle stack.

FSS and Beanie Cap

06 Aug 2009 77
The oxygen vent arm and beanie cap for the nose of the External Tank, and the top of the fixed service structure. Note the lightning mast.

Stand

06 Aug 2009 66
One of the corner posts the launch platform (and thus the entire Shuttle stack) stands on at the pad. Note the threaded segment between the star-like base and the large cylindrical portion.

Crawlerway

06 Aug 2009 60
The metal-reinforced concrete surface the crawler travels over when it drives up to the pad.

Flame Trench

06 Aug 2009 101
The SSME side of the flame diverter. The grey objects on the top of the diverter are part of the water deluge system.

Big Holes

06 Aug 2009 34
The holes for the plumes from the Shuttles SSMEs (right) and SRBs (left).

183 items in total