Atlas 5 rocket assembled for NASA's TDRS K launch

Preparing for the first rocket launch from Cape Canaveral of 2013, crews build up the Atlas 5 rocket that will carry NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite K (TDRS K) communications spacecraft.

At the Vertical Integration Facility at Complex 41, the United Launch Alliance team erected the bronze first stage on January 3. The white-insulated Centaur upper stage was set in place on January 5. Assembly occurred aboard the mobile platform that will be wheeled to the pad a day before liftoff.

It is the most-basic 401 version of the Atlas 5, possessing a four-meter-wide payload shroud, no strap-on solid boosters and a single-engine Centaur.

Here is a photo gallery showing the stacking operations.

See our Mission Status Center for the latest news on the launch.

Photo credit: NASA-KSC

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