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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An artist's concept of the Space Launch System poised for liftoff at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA

A MILESTONE AT THE PAD... Earlier today, the mobile launcher (ML) that NASA will use for the Space Launch System (SLS) was successfully berthed at Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Over the next two weeks, tests will be conducted on the ML to evaluate its structural integrity after being transported 4.2 miles from a parking site near the Vehicle Assembly Building to LC-39B (which is now a 'clean pad') atop a crawler-transporter. After the tests are completed, NASA will select an engineering firm that will conduct modifications to the ML to make it compatible with the SLS. The planning phase should last about a year or so. After that, modifications will begin on the ML itself—which should take another two years to implement at a cost of around $100 million. The changes to the ML should be finished in time for the SLS’ inaugural flight in 2017.

A crawler-transporter is about to be mated with the mobile launcher prior to being rolled over to LC-39B, on November 15, 2011.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The mobiler launcher rolls down the crawlerway towards LC-39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on November 16, 2011.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

The mobiler launcher arrives at LC-39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on November 16, 2011.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Night falls on the mobile launcher and LC-39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on November 16, 2011.
Stephen Clark - Spaceflight Now

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