Booster stacking underway for final space shuttle launch
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: July 21, 2010
Workers started assembling twin solid rocket boosters this week to help power Endeavour toward orbit in February on the final scheduled launch of the space shuttle program.
Crews repeated the procedure Tuesday and lifted the right booster's aft segment from the VAB's transfer aisle into High Bay 1.
It will take about three weeks to stack the boosters. Each motor consists of four segments already packed with solid propellant.
Shuttle solid rocket boosters are 149 feet tall and 12 feet wide. The boosters each weigh about 1.3 million pounds with propellant.
Endeavour's external fuel tank will be attached to the boosters in early September. The bullet-shaped tank arrived at KSC on July 13 and moved inside the VAB on July 14. The tank was lifted inside a checkout cell Thursday for tests before it is mated to the shuttle boosters.
Endeavour is scheduled to blast off Feb. 26 at about 4:19 p.m. EDT with a crew of six space veterans led by commander Mark Kelly. The astronauts will haul a spare parts platform and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station.
The high-tech spectrometer is a particle physics experiment designed to measure cosmic rays and search for antimatter and dark matter.
Kelly will be joined aboard Endeavour by pilot Gregory H. Johnson and mission specialists Andrew Feustel, Michael Fincke, Gregory Chamitoff and Roberto Vittori.