As part of Air Force Week, on October 25, 2010, Wired4Space.com and other members of the press toured the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as guests of the 45th Space Wing and the 920th Rescue Squadron. As part of the tour, we viewed Shuttle Discovery from outside of the perimeter fence, at a distance of about 1400’. From that position, with the Rotating Service Structure in the closed position, Discovery’s orbiter was completely obscured, but the liquid fuel tank and the aft booster were visible. The RSS usually remains in the closed position from the day the crawler delivers the stack to the pad until less than a day before launch. Occasionally, it is opened to install a payload in the Shuttle cargo bay, and then promptly closed again for protection of the Shuttle.
That afternoon, the tour group members were manifested on either a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter or a HC-130P/N King fixed wing aircraft. After takeoff, they opened the rear “roll on ramp”, and we all got a chance to sit on the ramp and view the facilities of KSC including the Shuttle Landing Strip, the VAB, Shuttle launch pads 39A and 38B, Atlas pad 41 and SpaceX pad 40 as we flew around the area and up and down the beach in sight of the northern pads.
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