At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a crawler-transporter is enlisted to move space shuttle Endeavour from the Vehicle Assembly Building's High Bay 1 to Launch Pad 39A. The unfueled shuttle and mobile launcher platform weigh approximately 12 million pounds. First motion out of the bay was at 4:13 a.m. EST Jan. 6. The 3.4-mile trip, known as rollout, takes about six hours.
Rollout is a significant milestone in launch processing activities. The primary payload for the STS-130 mission is the International Space Station's Node 3, Tranquility, a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the station's life support systems. Attached to one end of Tranquility is a cupola, a unique work area with six windows on its sides and one on top. The cupola resembles a circular bay window and will provide a vastly improved view of the station's exterior. The multi-directional view will allow the crew to monitor spacewalks and docking operations, as well as provide a spectacular view of Earth and other celestial objects. The module was built in Turin, Italy, by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency. Space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission is targeted for launch at 4:39 a.m. EST Feb. 7. For information on the STS-130 mission and crew, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts130/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Amanda Diller