Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Last Endeavour

The orbiter Endeavour is scheduled to leave High Bay 4 of the Vehicle Assembly Building tomorrow morning at 5:00 AM EDT.

Today I was with one of the last public tour groups to enter the VAB. The public is not allowed to enter the high bay, but the doors were open for NASA employees and contractors to walk in.

Below are photos shot with my dinky cameraphone.

While shooting these photos, I was suddenly struck by the thought ...

This could be the last time ever for an orbiter in the VAB.

Atlantis is currently nearby in Orbiter Processing Facility 2 (OPF-2) being prepared for delivery on November 2 to the museum currently under construction at the Visitor Complex. The last I heard, Atlantis would not return to the VAB before going to the museum. One source, however — a knowledgeable one — suggests Atlantis could return to the VAB for about two weeks before the move.

But if my original sources were correct, then today ends a long history that began in April 1979 when the prototype orbiter Enterprise arrived at Kennedy Space Center for mating tests.

It may have ended in September 2012 as seen in the below photos.

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