The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket was transferred from its assembly building to the pad at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 today for Friday’s launch of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M that directly supports the International Space Station and various science missions.
Liftoff is planned for 8:03 a.m. EDT (1203 GMT).
The rocket was wheeled out aboard a mobile launcher platform, emerging from the hangar where the rocket’s two stages and the payload were stacked over the past month.
The slow drive from the 30-story Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad used a pair of specially-made “trackmobiles” to carry the rocket’s 1.4-million pound launching platform along rail tracks for the 1,800-foot trip.
The rocket is flying in the 401 vehicle configuration. The version features two stages, a four-meter-diameter nose cone and no solids. It is powered off the launch pad by an RD AMROSS RD-180 main engine. The Centaur upper stage has an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 cryogenic engine.
Video credit: NASA-KSC TV
Photo credit: United Launch Alliance
See earlier TDRS-M launch coverage.