Walking with the Crawler to the Launch Pad
February 2, 2011 by petecrow
NASA offered the press different opportunities on the shuttle missions, including walking the Crawler and Shuttle from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the Launch pad. It’s a long walk and in February 2007, it was a cold one that took over six hours and ended at Pad 39B. The shuttle on the Crawler was Atlantis.
Carol Anne Swagler stands on one of the two pebble covered tracks which serve as the Crawler's highway to the two launch pads. Ms. Swagler, a veteran newspaper woman, was working as a photographer for an Oklahoma newsapaper, The Grove Sun Daily. In the waning days of the shuttle program, Ms. Swagler was frequently accredited to photograph the shuttle and other NASA launches at the Cape. The Grove Sun Daily, unusual for a small daily, sent reporters and photographers to cover the space program frequently, all the way back to the Apollo 17 moon launch in 1972; its community had a NASA sub-contractor. In the background over Ms. Swagler's shoulder is the Vehicle Assembly Building. The Crawler and shuttle are heading toward Ms. Swagler -- she had walked on ahead. If she had not moved -- which she did -- the Crawler would have flattened her and there would have been no more trips to the Cape for Ms. Swagler.
photo by petecrow / © 2007 Seine/Harbour® Productions, Studio City, California