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credit NASA / caption: Ares’ mobile launcher comes together

Enjoy this picture of the Ares I crew launch vehicle’s mobile launcher (ML), more can be seen here at Kennedy Space Center’s online image gallery

For scale check out the lime green portaloo (as we call them here in the UK) next to the nearest “leg” of the ML

Today NASA (in fact right about 30min ago) is/was having a handover ceremony for the Space Shuttle Programme’s (SSP) Mobile Launch Platform (MLP) 1. It is to become part of the Constellation programme and be modified for the Ares I-X launch, delayed from April to 11 July this year. SSP will continue to use MLP2 and MLP3 for its Shuttles

About the photo NASA says:

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, construction continues on a new mobile launcher for the Constellation Program. The new mobile launcher will be the base for the Ares rockets to launch the Orion crew exploration vehicle and the cargo vehicle. The base is being made lighter than space shuttle mobile launcher platforms so the crawler-transporter can pick up the added load of the 345-foot tower and taller rocket. When the structural portion of the new launcher is complete, umbilical lines, access arms, communications equipment and command/control equipment will be installed

And about today’s hand over ceremony NASA says:

With Wednesday’s handover, the two-story steel structure now will be modified for NASA’s first test flight for the agency’s next-generation spacecraft and launch vehicle system launching in 2009. The test flight, called Ares I-X, will bring NASA one step closer to its exploration goals — to return to the moon for more ambitious exploration of the lunar surface and to travel to Mars and destinations beyond.

All participants attending the event must be dressed in full-length pants, flat shoes that cover the feet entirely and shirts with sleeves. Video B-roll of the hardware arrival will be available on NASA Television’s Video File. For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information on Ares I-X, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ares