Payload Preparation

After your receiving inspection has been completed in the PPF, you can begin the final assembly/buildup of your payload to its launch configuration. This could include the installation of solar panels, antennas, and other items that were shipped separately to the launch site. This assembly does not include operations involving ordnance, cryogens, or hpergols, but can include initial pressure system tests and propellant system leak tests. You may now conduct payload functional testing with all your payload-unique ground checkout equipment. During this pre-integration phase, minor repairs are possible, and electrical and mechanical repair and fabrications facilities are available.

Storage space is available. There is ample outdoor storage; however, you should recognize that the coastal environment is highly corrosive. Because indoor storage, especially that which is environmentally controlled is extremely limited at KSC, it is essential that your storage requirements be identified to your LSSM as early as possible.

Once the PPF operations have been completed, your payload must be transported to an HPF if hazardous operations are required. However, for payloads not requiring hazardous operations or an upper stage, you may go directly from the PPF to the VPF.

If the flight is going to include a horizontally processed payload element, a mixed cargo results. The horizontal elements such as a pallet, Mission Peculiar Experiment Support Structure (MPESS), or other special structures are generally integrated with their experiments in the O&C Building assembly and test area. After experiment integration, the pallet with its integrated experiments is placed in the payload canister on the transporter and moved to the VAB for rotation of the canister with its payload and then transported to the VPF where it joins the remainder of the cargo. Some payload may go directly to the pad after canister rotation, bypassing the VPF if CITE testing is performed in the O&C Building or by waiver approval.

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

Return to NASA Home Page Return to KSC Home Page


Last Updated Friday September 1 14:40:22 EDT 1995
Tom Nguyen (
Ernest Cody (
Jim Dumoulin (