NASA is preparing it’s Mobile Launcher for the rollout to the launch pad at Launch Complex 39B. The rollout is supposed to happen early Thursday morning (June 27, 2019) and it will take the crawler transporter a few hours to make it from the Vehicle Assembly Building out to the launch pad.
The mobile launcher is based on the old launch platform which was used to carry the Saturn V rockets and Space Shuttles from the Vehicle Assembly Building to one of the two launch pads. The platform was heavily modified to support NASA’s new rocket for deep space exploration, the Space Launch System (SLS). Retrofitting and modification work began off to the side from the VAB. During this process, the crawler-transporter was visible for visitors of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex who went out to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which is part of the tour bus route.
The Mobile Launcher is currently parked inside the VAB where it undergoes further modifications, adjustments, and testing for the SLS. However, before it got parked inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, the Mobile Launcher already made the trip once out to the pad on top of crawler-transporter 2.
This rollout the coming week will be the final rollout before the Artemis 1 Mission, for which the Mobile Launcher will also carry the SLS and Orion spacecraft on top of it.
This event is not open to the public, but the best chance to watch it will be from the Banana Creek Viewing Site right next to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Unfortunately for that day, a normal day pass or annual pass won’t be enough to visit the Apollo/Saturn V Center. For the same morning is also a rocket launch scheduled. A ULA Atlas V rocket will lift-off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41 with the launch window opening just before 8:30 a.m. that day. As of right now, the launch date is not confirmed and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex doesn’t offer any launch viewing tickets for this launch yet. If there is no launch viewing scheduled for that day, you will miss rollout as well because the Apollo/Saturn V Center opens at 10 a.m. and by then the Mobile Launcher probably made it already to the pad.
The best alternative is taking the complimentary bus tour with your day pass of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The normal bus route will bring you past the VAB and Launch Complex 39B. However, this route could be altered because of the Mobile Launcher rollout and positioning at 39B as well because of the rocket launch.
During the days before and after the rollout and rocket launch, you should be able to see the Mobile Launcher around the VAB or then at the launch pad. So far I got a few good shots of the Mobile Launcher while taking the bus tour. They would be even better if the windows of the buses would be a little bit cleaner.
This will be a very busy week at America’s premier spaceport. Just a few days earlier, on Monday 24, 2019, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy is scheduled to lift off from Launch Complex 39A which SpaceX leases from NASA. Falcon Heavy will carry the Space Test Program 2 for the United States Air Force into space.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
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