Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
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Endeavour launch preps

Posted: December 13, 1999

Space shuttle Endeavour has departed its hangar, joined an external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters and moved to pad 39A for launch in mid-January. Take a look back at the pre-launch preparations through the eyes of NASA photographers.

Ready to move
The 60-foot long payload bay doors are swung closed on Endeavour in Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2. Nestled inside is the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission payload, a radar system designed to map the Earth's surface.
Payload bay
Leaving hangar
Endeavour rolls out of Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2 atop a 76-wheel transporter on December 2. The OPF serves as the shuttle's hangar for processing work between missions.
OPF rollout
Workers lead the way
The shuttle plays follow the leader behind Kennedy Space Center employees during the quarter-mile trip to the Vehicle Assembly Building.
Workers leading
Here I am
Endeavour sits in the Vehicle Assembly Building transfer isle waiting to be attached to a lifting sling and crane.
Taking a ride
Seemingly suspended in mid-air inside the 52-story VAB, the lifting device hoists the shuttle from the ground to above the external tank and solid rocket boosters for mating.
Sliding into position
The 100-ton shuttle Endeavour is lowered into position next to the external fuel tank in the VAB's High Bay 2.
Sliding down
Almost there
Slowly and carefully, workers move Endeavour in front of the external tank to align the shuttle with attach points.
Almost there
Engine switch ordered
NASA officials decided to replace main engine No. 3 after a similar powerplant was found damaged during testing. The old and spare engines sit in the VAB.
Both engines
New engine arrives
The new engine is seen being raised into position beneath Endeavour. The engine swap was ordered because the old engine had undergone the same test procedures that apparently damaged a test powerplant.
New engine
Bound for 39A
The giant doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building are open as Endeavour prepares to make a 5 1/2-hour journey to launch pad 39A.
Ready to roll
A morning roll
Endeavour began the 3.5-mile trek from the VAB to the oceanside launch pad during the morning. Departure occurred at 6:59 a.m. EST (1159 GMT) on December 13.
It's a crawl
The crawler-transporter that moves the shuttle and the mobile launcher platform from the VAB to the launch pad has a top speed of 1 mile per hour.
Flight data file
Vehicle: Endeavour (OV-105)
Payload: SRTM radar
Launch date: Mid-January, 2000
Launch window: 1811-1905 GMT (1311-1405 EST)
Launch site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

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