sts 135 launch

2

For the first time in 2,044 days, a rocket is perched atop historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket arrived at the pad early this morning, February 10, ahead of an upcoming static fire test.

The former Apollo and Shuttle era launch pad last saw a space vehicle in July of 2011 when the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, launched. NASA continued to operate the pad until early 2015, when SpaceX leased it for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy operations. This historic event marks the third rocket to fly from LC-39A behind the Saturn V moon rocket and space shuttle.

SpaceX will perform a static fire test sometime Saturday to test the rocket’s systems. Once complete, the rocket will return to the Horizontal Integration Facility for mating with the Dragon spacecraft.

Falcon 9 will perform its east-coast return to flight with the CRS-10 mission to the International Space Station, slated for February 18. Following liftoff, the rocket’s first stage will return to Cape Canaveral for a landing at LZ-1, the third time the company has done so.

Below, the Falcon 9 rocket is seen prior to being erected vertical at LC-39A.(Photo credit: William Harwood/CBS.)

P/C: Elon Musk/William Harwood.

Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches on STS-135, the Final Flight of the Space Shuttle Program, 7/08/2011

STS-135 - LAUNCH

File Unit: STS135 LAUNCH AND LANDING, 7/25/2005 - 7/21/2011Series: Space Shuttle Engineering Digital Photographs of Launchings and Landings, 7/25/2005 - 7/21/2011Record Group 255: Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006

Five years ago on July 8, 2011 @nasa‘s Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched on the final mission of the Shuttle program, STS-135.

Find more photos from this historic mission in the @usnatarchives Catalog:

9

     Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.

     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go." They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, "It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.

     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.

In-Flight Portrait of the STS-135 Crew on the Atlantis Flight Deck 7/16/2011

File Unit: STS-135, 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011Series: Mission Photographs Taken During the Space Shuttle Program , 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011Record Group 255: Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006

Description: “STS-135 crewmembers pose for an in-flight portrait on the Atlantis flight deck (FD) during joint operations with Expedition 28. Clockwise from bottom right, are commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley, and mission specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim. An American flag flown on STS-1 is in the background.

Five years ago on July 8, 2011 @nasa‘s Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched on the final mission of the Shuttle program, STS-135

Find more photos from this historic mission in the @usnatarchives Catalog:

Originally posted by todaysdocument

Four years ago today, space shuttle Atlantis launched on mission STS-135 – the final launch of the space shuttle program.  

This image fused data from 6 different cameras, each with different filters and sensitivities. It was created by  Louise Walker and J.T. Heineck of the Experimental Aero-Physics Branch at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, who are trying to get better images of what’s going on inside rocket fire. 

Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands, Ending STS-135, the Final Flight of the Space Shuttle Program, 7/21/2011

File Unit: STS135 LAUNCH AND LANDING, 7/25/2005 - 7/21/2011Series: Space Shuttle Engineering Digital Photographs of Launchings and Landings, 7/25/2005 - 7/21/2011Record Group 255: Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006

Launched five years ago on July 8, 2011 @nasa‘s Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down on July 21, 2011, ending the final mission of the Shuttle program, STS-135.

Find more photos from this historic mission in the @usnatarchives Catalog: