Volume: 03, Issue: 07 04/06/2005 
Under brilliant-blue Florida skies, Space Shuttle Discovery, atop the Mobile Launcher Platform, is on its way to Launch Pad 39B at NASA Kennedy Space Center. Image courtesy NASA/KSC.
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The orbiter Discovery has been lowered onto the Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) alongside the Solid Rocket Booster and External Tank stack. Image courtesy NASA/KSC.
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The orbiter Discovery is lowered in front of the Solid Rocket Booster and External Tank already stacked on the top of the Mobile Launcher Platform. Image courtesy NASA/KSC.
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The orbiter Discovery rests in the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) after rollover from the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) bay 3. Image courtesy NASA/KSC.
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Other Articles in This Issue:
Spirit and Opportunity Head for Triple Overtime
Deep Impact Cruises toward Comet
Northern Lights and Southern Lights Are Not Mirror Images
Enhance Your Teaching Skills Online
 

Space Shuttle Discovery Moves to Launch Pad

Space Shuttle Discovery rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at 2:04 p.m. EDT on April 6 and began the four-mile trek to Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rollout is one of the last major milestones before Discovery's launch on STS-114.

The fully assembled Space Shuttle Vehicle (or "stack") -- consisting of the orbiter, External Tank and twin Solid Rocket Boosters -- was mounted on the Mobile Launcher Platform and will be delivered to the pad via a crawler transporter. Moving at barely one mile an hour, the Shuttle is expected to reach the launch pad, a 4.2-mile journey, about 8 p.m. EDT.

Red flags were raised when a hairline crack was discovered in the foam of Discoverys External Tank, but NASA has determined the minor imperfection does not jeopardize the safety of the vehicle and does not need repair. The fully assembled Shuttle rolled out after a roughly two-hour delay.

Launch of Discovery on its Return to Flight mission, designated STS-114, is targeted for May 15, with a launch window that extends to June 3. During its 12-day mission, Discovery's seven-person crew will test new hardware and techniques to improve Shuttle safety, as well as deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

For the latest information on NASA's Return to Flight efforts on the Internet, visit http://returntoflight.org .

    
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