Marshall test stand
In March 1978, now at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, the orbiter was joined for the first time with the other main elements of the shuttle lift-off system: the big external fuel tank and a pair of solid rocket boosters. The whole system was set into Marshall's dynamic test stand--with the shuttle's nose pointed skyward, as it would be for an actual launch--for ground vibration tests. (Here, the Enterprise is being hoisted into the test stand.)
Testing at Marshall continued until March 1979, after which the whole Enterprise lift-off rig was set up at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a checkout of the launch complex that would be used for the actual orbital flights, the first of which would come in April 1981 when the shuttle Columbia spent two days in space.
April 11, 2010 6:00 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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