Posts Tagged ‘kennedy space center’

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) lifts off in a picture perfect launch from Pad 41, Kennedy Space Center at 10:02 am EST, Saturday morning, November 26, 2011. The MSL will land on Mars on August 6, 2012, at Gale Crater. It will begin an exploration that could last years.

The current header shows the MSL several more seconds into the launch.

Control of the MSL mission will be in Pasadena, California, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory which developed Curiousity and managed to sneak its name onto the rover’s tire in Morse Code.

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Yeah, I took these launch photos (CLICK to ENLARGE them) from the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC.

This is a series of about 20 photographs of the launch, many of which will be posted here in coming days. I will also post photo reports, day by day, starting on Monday, November 21 (L-4) through the launch on November 26 (L-0). Because of Thanksgiving, L-2 was Wednesday, and L-1 was Friday. The launch count was suspended for a day on Thanksgiving.

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MSL mission LOGO

We spent the week at Kennedy Space Center in briefings on the Mars Science Laboratory which is scheduled to launch at 10:02 am EST, November 26, 2012, Saturday morning. Carol Anne will shoot it from the roof of the Launch Control Center. I’ll be on the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building. The Lab is scheduled to land on Mars on August 6, 2012.

See animation of how MSL’s Curiosity rover will land on Mars HERE

Read more about this mission and other NASA stuff HERE.

Carol Anne on the roadway that carried the Atlas rocket and the Mars Science Laboratory to Launch Pad 41 at Kennedy Space Center a few minutes earlier. It is Friday morning, November 25, 2011. With MSL on the pad, all that is left that is needed is favorable weather. Behind Carol Anne is the Pad 41 hangar belonging to the publicly owned United Launch Alliance (ULA) where the Atlas rocket and the MSL were mated.


Pete at KSC Launch Pad 41. The Atlas rocket with the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) on top is in the background. The MSL weighs as astounding 2,000 pounds and is expected to determine once and for all whether there is or was life on Mars (hint: there was, and probably still is). It will also continue paving the way for a manned landing on Mars planned for about 2030. Before MSL lands the landing area at Gale Crater will be overflown by the two satellites the United States currently has on station orbiting Mars.


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Both of the photographs below are 3D. NASA provided the Tweeters with red/green glasses. You’ll have to find your own 3D glasses, but if you do, you’ll find these photos are in 3D … we checked … but this 3D picture will not work with 3D glasses you nabbed at the multiplex. You need glasses with one red, and one green, lens as shown in the bottom picture.

Curiousity in 3D. -- CLICK to ENLARGE


Carol Anne Swagler, Seine/Harbour™ Productions, wears 3D glasses in the Tweet Tent during the MSL Launch on November 25, 2011. Ms. Swagler is not in 3D, but if you wear 3D glasses, you will find the photographs behind her are in 3D. == CLICK to ENLARGE

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The blog petecrow/NASA is copyrighted property of Seine/Harbour™ Productions, Studio, City, California, © 2011. Visit selections from our historic photographic archive of more than 300,000 photographs dating back to the American Civil War HERE.

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The Mars Science Lab, atop an Atlas rocket, is moved from its hangar (left) to Pad 41 (right — the four lightning towers) where it is scheduled to begin a 9 month trip to the surface of Mars at 10:02 am, Saturday, November 26, 2011. This photo, taken about 9 am, Friday, November 25, 2011, shows the MSL stack about midway between the pad and the hangar. The photo was taken from The Beach House, a relaxation villa for astronauts (and once a private from before the space center took the property) on the Atlantic Ocean beach. On the extreme far right of this photograph, Pad 39-A, is visible. The final shuttle missions were launched from 39-A.
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.”petecrow/NASA” © 2011 by / Peter M. Crow and the Peter Michael Crow Trust and by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC, Studio City, California.

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Carol Anne Swagler's photograph of the Mars Science Laboratory attached to an Atlas rocket awaiting launch at Kennedy Space Center Pad 41. MSL was moved to the pad on Friday morning, November 25, 2011, one day before anticipated launch at 10:02 am Saturday, November 26, 2011. MSL is scheduled to land on Mars on August 6, 2012. This photograph was taken at 10:40 am Friday, November 25, 2011.

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Until May, NASA thought they were tearing down Pad 39-B to re-purpose her for the Constellation program. Then, for a second time, just as the new spaceship was about to be manufactured, Obama canceled it. Millions were wasted.

In preparation for Constellation, three lightning towers were arrayed around the launch pad at 39-B. Why? Who knows — lightning never struck a shuttle on the pad or even came close. Until these lightning rods were erected, that is. Now huge strikes are hitting the pad, although not striking any vehicles (since there are no vehicles on the pad to strike).

Launch Pad 39-B on November 23, 2011. The stairway in the foreground is Apollo era and aging. The stairway leads to the transporter, shown here just behind the stairway. On November 23, 2011 NASA took reporters by the stairs, and by elevator to the very top of the pad, about 350-feet above sea level on open grates. The next time this configuration will be on Pad 39-B will be, at the earliest, 2017.

Pad 39-B, like its identical twin, 39-A, once launched men to the Moon and was active during the shuttle program. One historical fact about 39-B is not a happy one. Challenger lifted off from this pad on January 28, 1986, and exploded.

Today all that remains of the original pad is a stairway from the Apollo era that ended in 1972. It was that stairway that Pete and other reporters began their climb on Wednesday up 350-feet to the top of the new Pad 39-B which will be under construction until 2017 at an estimated total cost of $350-million.

It’s not clear what vehicles, if any, will actually launch from 39-B, and the date of 2017 is just that — a date.

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In the week before the Mars Science Laboratory launch, NASA took the opportunity of the large number of accredited media being on site to brief the press on a wide range of topics, beyond the MSL itself.

Subjects included the radiological lab where radiation is monitored when, as will be the case with the MSL, radioactive materials are on board a launched vehicle.

The media was briefed in detail on how, currently, NASA plans to place humans on Mars and return them safely at the end of a 900 day mission (to be launched no sooner than 2030).

The media visited the Vehicle Assembly Building and saw the Shuttle Endeavour, now parked there … and more.

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Pete Crow Seine/Harbour™ Productions and The Grove Sun Daily, is shown on top of the newly re-purposed Launch Pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 23, 2011. On the left hand side of this picture the now unused Pad 39-A where shuttles were launched can be seen. Re-purposing Pad 39-B will be completed in 2017 at a cost of $350-million. Also Launch Pad 41 where the Mars Space Laboratory was to be launched on Saturday, November 26, 2011, is visible.

The liftoff of the Mars Science Laboratory is now scheduled for 10:02 EST from Kennedy Space Center, Launch Complex 41.

In coming days, as time permits, I’ll post the photographs of the MSL mission, and write about NASA’s plans now going forward from the Space Shuttle from briefings NASA has held this week for the media.

I also have updated photographs of the Launch Control Center Firing Rooms 1 and 2 which I visited on Wednesday, November 23, of the Vehicle Assembly Building where the shuttle Endeavour is stored, and inside hangar #3 (Orbiter Processing Facility #3) which shortly will be gutted and re-purposed by Boeing which now occupies OPF-3.

I will also post photographs of the now re-purposed Launch Pad 39-B (above) which was demolished last summer and has been partially rebuilt.

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petecrow/NASA is copyright 2011 by Peter Michael Crow and by Seine/Harbour™ Productions, Studio City, California.

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The Mars Science Laboratory ... (courtesy, NASA)

The MSL launch has been pushed back one day from its original launch date. Now the planned launch will be no earlier than Saturday, November 26, 2011.

For NASA updates and more on this mission, click HERE

BRIEFING SCHEDULE, === click TO enlarge

The launch will be from Kennedy Space Center. A series of briefing will be broadcast on line daily starting Monday, November 21

Go to http://www.nasa.gov — then go to live NASA TV using the attached schedule for MSL (Mars Science Laboratory). The schedule for Monday and Tuesday is on the left — click on image to enlarge and read.

Why this Mission really matters.
This is truly a remarkable laboratory that NASA is launching on November 25, 2011. The briefings will explain (again) why Mars matters so much and discuss the nature of Mars and how it is a huge repository of scientific information that will help us better understand Earth.


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A collection of NASA’s stunning photographs from the final shuttle mission, STS-135. They are reproduced here in largest size — click to enlarge. You are free to use the NASA photos in this post, but NASA requests you credit NASA if you do.

The final moments in the Shuttle program. Shuttle Atlantis settles onto Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center 6 am, July 21, 2011. This is the back of the shuttle.


This is seconds after the shuttle has landed ... note, the parachute is deployed and the shuttle is rapidly slowly. Shuttles land about 190-210 miles an hour. An hour earlier, just before beginning its de-orbit burn on the other side of the world, often over the Indian Ocean, the shuttle is moving 17,900 miles an hour.

Down and safe for the final time, Atlantis is rolling out on Runway 15. This photograph was taken just after Atlantis' parachute was jettisoned. The 15 (northern) end of the runway was brightly lit in order to get photos of the shuttle landing. This photograph was taken from the southern end of the runway, looking north up the runway toward the 15 end.


Pad 39-A, morning of the final launch, July 21, 2011. The now-torn-down Pad 39-B, from which shuttles were also launched, is in the top of the picture, toward the left.


Press Complex 39, the morning of the final launch. Many media spent the entire night at the Cape sleeping in their cars, although few believed (incorrectly) that the launch would go that day. About 3,000 media were accredited for the launch, exceeding 2,200 for the final Moon mission in 1972. Of the 3,000 accredited, fewer than 10 went to Houston to cover the ten days of the mission itself.

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The Space Shuttle Atlantis will land during one of the times below, and in one of the listed locations, between Thursday July 21 and Saturday July 23, 2011. The shuttles energy reserves will be 14 hours (it’s ability to keep flying) after these landing times.

STS-135 Mission crest. The final shuttle mission will end between Thursday morning, July 21, and Saturday afternoon, July 23, 2011.

Overnight, July 20-21, the shuttle undocked from the International Space Station (ISS), did a fly around the station before easing into an orbit that gradually, orbit by orbit, increased the distance between itself and the ISS. Atlantis is moving into a landing trajectory and then, about an hour before landing, will do a de-orbit burn to land at one of its three listed landing areas.

It is expected to land at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, the most preferred location of the three locations.

Tuesday afternoon, July 20, 2011, the weather looked favorable for the shuttle to successfully land in Florida on its first of two Florida opportunities. The shuttle would be landing at dawn on Thursday morning, July 22, 2011

The landing opportunites and locations are as follows:

KSC orbit 200 – 5:56 am EDT
KSC orbit 201 – 7:32 am EDT

KSC orbit 215 – 4:56 am EDT
KSC orbit 216 – 6:31 am EDT
EDW orbit 217 – 8:02 am EDT
NOR orbit 217 – 8:04 am EDT
EDW orbit 218 – 9:38 am EDT
NOR orbit 218 – 9:40 am EDT
EDW orbit 219 – 11:15 am EDT

KSC orbit 231 – 5:30 am EDT
KSC orbit 232 – 7:06 am EDT
NOR orbit 232 – 7:03 am EDT
EDW orbit 233 – 8:37 am EDT
NOR orbit 233 – 8:39 am EDT
EDW orbit 234 – 10:13 am EDT
KSC orbit 236 (descending) – 1:36 pm EDT

NASA / Johnson Space Center / July 19, 2011
NASA / KSC confirms times; NOR not listed as alternative / July 20, 2011

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