As Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133 prepares for launch the protective Rotating Service Structure is swung out of the way allowing the rocket to lift off unimpeded. This is quite a lengthy task taking around 30 minutes to complete.
The video shows the RSS retraction from the orbiter on the 3rd of November 2010. We were ferried out to the launch pad just before dusk, but a nearby thunderstorm and the MMT press conference interrupted the process.
We arrived back at the LC-39A launch complex just in time to set up and record the (in)action. The rollback was so slow that it was difficult to see any movement. In fact the best way to make sure it was moving was to turn away and look back a few minutes later.
The original video was about 30 minutes long, so I speeded up the retraction and compressed 20+ minutes down to 2.5 minutes. After the retraction we got a great view of the space ship on the pad. I even managed to get a close-up of one of the crew working inside the Discovery Orbiter.
The image gallery for the RSS retraction: