Tito's rocket rolls to Baikonur launch pad
BY ANATOLY ZAK in Baikonur

Posted: April 26, 2001

Sunrise over Soyuz
The Soyuz spacecraft and booster roll to the launch pad in the first rays of the morning Sun. Photo: Anatoly Zak/Spaceflight Now

The Soyuz TM-32 spacecraft that will carry U.S. space tourist Dennis Tito and two cosmonauts, is poised for blastoff at Cosmodrome Baikonur in Kazakhstan after a spectacular sunrise rollout from its assembly building.

Gantries raise around the Soyuz TM-32 rocket after its arrival at the launch pad on Thursday. Photo: Anatoly Zak/Spaceflight Now
The spacecraft and its launch vehicle left the assembly building at Area 2 in Baikonur at 7 a.m. local time, just minutes after the sun rose over the steppe. Half an hour later, the rocket and the spacecraft arrived at the launch complex, which has the official designation of Number 5 in Area 1, but is more commonly known as Gagarin's pad. The Vostok-1 spacecraft, carrying the first man into space, was launched from the same pad in 1961.

Upon arrival to the launch complex, the railroad erector lifted the rocket into vertical position and around 8:30 a.m. two gantry were raised, enclosing the rocket in the array of access bridges.

In the next two days the processing personnel will conduct final preparations for the launch scheduled at 13:37 local time (0737 GMT, 3:37 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, April 28.

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The Soyuz TM-32 spacecraft and booster roll to the launch pad on Thursday in the first rays of the morning sun. The rocket, which will carry space tourist Dennis Tito, is being prepared for launch on Saturday.
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The Soyuz taxi crew raises the American, Russian and Kazakh flags during a traditional preflight ceremony near the Cosmonauts Hotel in the city of Baikonur.
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Workers fit the emergency escape rocket to the fairing of the Soyuz booster.
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