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The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the primary launch and landing site for the Space Transportation System (STS), more commonly known as the Space Shuttle. KSC is also responsible for the final checkout, preparation, and loading of payloads in the Orbiter vehicle before launch and de-integration of payloads upon their return from space. This page is intended to provide you with a basic understanding of payload facilities, services, ground support equipment, and operations involved in the processing of flight hardware.

Horizontal Payload Processing Steps

  1. Arrival and Receiving
  2. Preparation and Staging
  3. Experiment Integration
  4. Spacelab Integration
  5. CITE Testing
  6. Transport to OPF
  7. Orbiter Integration
  8. OPF-to-VAB Transfer
  9. Assembly and Rollout
  10. Launch Pad Operations
  11. Launch and Mission
  12. Post-Flight Payload Operations

Vertical Payload Processing Steps

Preparation of Vertically Processed payloads for Flight
  1. Arrival and Receiving
  2. Payload Preparation
  3. Payload Hazardous Processing
  4. Upper Stage Processing (OMV, IUS, TOS, PAM)
  5. Payload Integration & CITE Testing
  6. Orbiter Operations
  7. VPF-to-Pad Operations
  8. RSS & PCR Operations
  9. Orbiter Intergration
  10. Launch & Mission
  11. Postlanding Operations

Facilities involved in the Payload Processing Activities

The information contained in the Payload Processing Flow pages are extracted directly from The Users' Guide to Spacelab Payload Processing, dated October 1986 and The Users' Guide to Vertical Payload Processing, February 1987.

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Last Updated Friday June 16 11:07:56 EDT 1995
Tom Nguyen (
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