KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- Scattered clouds cast shadows as Space Shuttle Atlantis crawls back inside the Vehicle Assembly Building high bay 1. After earlier starting its trek to Launch Pad 39B, Atlantis was returned to the VAB due to lightning in the area. To the left of the VAB is the Launch Control Center. The four-story building houses the firing rooms that are used to conduct Space Shuttle launches. Leading away from the VAB, in the foreground, is the crawlerway, the 130-foot-wide road specially constructed to transport the Shuttle, mobile launcher platform and crawler-transporter with a combined weight of about 17 million pounds. Space Shuttle Atlantis is targeted for launch no earlier than July 12 on mission STS-104, the 10th flight to the International Space Station. The payload on the 11-day mission is the Joint Airlock Module, which will allow astronauts and cosmonauts in residence on the Station to perform future spacewalks without the presence of a Space Shuttle. The module, which comprises a crew lock and an equipment lock, will be connected to the starboard (right) side of Node 1 Unity. Atlantis will also carry oxygen and nitrogen storage tanks, vital to operation of the Joint Airlock, on a Spacelab Logistics Double Pallet in the payload bay. The tanks, to be installed on the perimeter of the Joint Module during the missions spacewalks, will support future spacewalk operations and experiments plus augment the resupply system for the Stations Service Module. (Photo Release Date: 06/20/2001 )
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