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August 15 - Starliner crew access arm installed at SLC-41.

Marking a significant milestone for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the Crew Access Arm for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft was attached to the Crew Access Tower at SLC-41 earlier today. 

The arm will allow technicians and astronauts to access Starliner while on the launch pad via the White Room - a clean room environment.

Constructed in between Atlas V launches in the second half of 2015, the Crew Access Tower is a 200-foot fixed structure that will provide personnel access and umbilical connections to Starliner while on the pad. The Atlas V 421 rocket it will launch upon will be serviced by the Atlas Mobile Launch Platform.

The arm has spent the last year and a half undergoing fabrication and testing in Oak Hill, just north of the Kennedy Space Center. It was delivered to SLC-41 last Thursday.

Astronauts will first use the access arm to board Starliner in late 2017, when the spacecraft will undergo its first crewed orbital test.

P/c: NASA.

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Atlas V with OA-6 poised for launch

Orbital ATK’s OA-6 mission atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at SLC-41, March 22, 2016. Rollout from the Vertical Integration Facility to the pad occurred yesterday, March 21.

The 200-foot Atlas V rocket will fly in the 401 configuration, denoting a four-meter diameter payload fairing, no solid rocket boosters, and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

OA-6 is the 32nd flight of Atlas in the 401 configuration, 62nd flight of an Atlas V rocket, and the 106th flight of a ULA rocket.

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T-2 hours (10:13 am EDT)

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket with GPS IIF-11 is seen at sunset yesterday, 30 October 2015.

AV-60 is scheduled to launch at 12:13 pm EDT this afternoon (31 October). Launch was originally scheduled for yesterday, but a malfunctioning water valve at SLC-41 used in the water suppression system had to be replaced, causing a 24-hour postponement of the mission.

See our earlier GPS IIF-11 coverage here, including our visit to the vehicle on the pad.

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Stacking on the CST-100 Starliner Crew Access Tower has reached its halfway point! Construction teams have been taking advantage of the nearly four week interval between Atlas V flights by stacking four of the seven segments of the CAT. The base segment was transported to SLC-41 and installed on September 9.

The tower was built in segments off-site in order to allow construction to continue without inhibiting Atlas V launches. The final segments will be stacked following the Morelos 3 mission October 2.

Following assembly of the CAT segments, workers will then outfit the tower with umbilicals, piping, and an elevator. A crew access arm to the CST-100 Starliner will be installed at the tower’s 180-foot level.

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Atlas V (501) launching X-37B from SLC 41, viewed from KSC LC39 Press Site, Apr 2010.

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Launch of Atlas V 551 with MUOS satellite, viewed by wide-angle GoPro launch pad camera.