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Ground Support


Support teams at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, launch site and the Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center work as a team to ready the shuttle for launch and monitor its ascent to orbit. These highly trained scientists and engineers "look over the shoulders" of the astronauts on board. Each team member has a specific area of responsibilities and duties to fulfill to ensure a safe, successful space flight.

Launch Complex 39, Pads A and B
These launchpads are equipped to provide everything the shuttle requires for launch.

Launch Control Center - Firing Room
Take a tour of the Kennedy Space Center launch control room in Florida.

Mission Control Center
Take a tour of the Flight Control Room in Houston.

Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster Retrieval Ships
In advance of every shuttle launch, two specially-fitted ships sail into the Atlantic to retrieve the reusable boosters.

Space Shuttle Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) Sites
If something goes wrong after launch, the shuttle can land safely on a runway in Europe or north Africa. Weather data for TAL sites is also available.

Space Shuttle and Payload Processing
Prior to a mission, technicians refurbish the orbiter and prepare payloads for launch.

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty
Updated: 21 May 1998

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