From time to time, NASA staff will lead contract employees on an orientation tour of Kennedy Space Center facilities. I'll tag along on the bus to take pictures.
This morning, we toured the Vehicle Assembly Building, the Launch Control Center and Launch Complex 39-A. Below are photos with comments.
Crew members moving an early Orion capsule and service module prototype in the VAB transfer aisle.
The capsule was used to practice Orion pad abort tests at White Sands, New Mexico in 2010. Now it's been covered with white paper so heat shield tile outlines can be drawn on the exterior.
The transporter is made by KAMAG, a German company. The transporter was originally used to move the Shuttle-era payload canisters to the launch pad.
Orbiter Atlantis as seen through the crossbeams of High Bay 4.
A look at the port-side access hatch and reaction control jets.
Atlantis atop the orbiter transporter.
Orbiter flags in the Launch Control Center lobby.
Firing Room 4 as seen from the Launch Director's console.
The aforementioned Launch Director's console.
The former Ares 1 mobile launcher that will be adapted for the Space Launch System, as viewed from the Firing Room 4 windows.
Firing Room 3 is undergoing renovation. It will be used to test software for Firing Room 1, which was recently renovated for Space Launch System and other LC-39B users.
The LC-39A service tower atop the Flame Trench.
A closer look at the Flame Trench. That's Mobile Launch Platform 2 atop the trench.