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Preparation of Spacecraft for Launch at KSC
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1. Preparation for Launch
At Launch Pad 39-B, the Chandra X-ray Observatory sits inside the payload bay on mission Space Shuttle Columbia, waiting for the doors to close. Chandra is the primary payload of STS-93. The combined Chandra/Inertial Upper Stage, seen here, measures 57 feet long and weighs 50,162 pounds. Fully deployed with solar arrays extended, the observatory measures 45.3 feet long and 64 feet wide.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
2. Preparation for Launch
At Launch Pad 39-B, the Chandra X-ray Observatory sits inside the payload bay on mission Space Shuttle Columbia, waiting for the doors to close.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
3. Preparation for Launch
In this fish-eye view, the Chandra X-ray Observatory rests inside the payload bay of the orbiter Columbia at Kennedy Space Center.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
4. Preparation for Launch
Hours before dawn, the payload canister transporter delivers its cargo (lower left) to Launch Pad 39B, below the Rotating Service Structure (RSS). Inside the canister is the Chandra X-ray Observatory, primary payload on mission STS-93.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
5. Preparation for Launch
The payload canister containing Chandra is prepared for its ascent up the Rotating Service Structure (RSS). The canister arrived at the pad on the payload canister transporter below it. The canister will be lifted up to the Payload Changeout Room in the RSS where it will be relieved of its cargo. After the RSS rotates to a position behind Shuttle Columbia (at right), the observatory will then be installed vertically in the orbiter payload bay.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
6. Preparation for Launch
Inside the Vertical Processing Facility at KSC, doors on the payload canister begin to close on the Chandra X-ray Observatory inside before being moved to Launch Pad 39B.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
7. Preparation for Launch
Inside the Vertical Processing Facility, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and its associated IUS-27 is lifted by an overhead crane in order to transfer it into the payload canister transporter and out to Launch Pad 39B.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
8. Preparation for Launch
Space Shuttle Columbia sits on Launch Pad 39B less than two weeks after liftoff of Discovery on mission STS-96. Columbia was rolled out June 7 in preparation for the launch of STS-93 with its payload of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The Rotating Service Structure, at left, will be moved into place on Tuesday, June 8.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
9. Preparation for Launch
The orbiter Columbia is rolled out from the Orbiter Processing Facility (background) on its transporter. It is being moved to the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for external tank mating operations. Columbia will be rolled out to Launch Pad 39B on Monday, June 7, for mission STS-93.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
10. Preparation for Launch
In the Vertical Processing Facility, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is revealed with its protective cover removed. Chandra is ready for mating with the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) beneath it, to be followed by testing to validate the IUS/Chandra connections and to check the orbiter avionics interfaces.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
11. Preparation for Launch
The Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster is moved toward a workstand in Kennedy Space Center's Vertical Processing Facility. The IUS will be mated with the Chandra X-ray Observatory and then undergo testing to validate the IUS/Chandra connections and check the orbiter avionics interfaces.
(Photo: NASA)

Click for large jpg
12. Preparation for Launch
The STS-93 stack of solid rocket boosters and external tank sits at the Mobile Launcher Platform park site. STS-93 will carry the Chandra X-ray Observatory into space.
(Photo: NASA)

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