Emily LakdawallaJul 24, 2007

Canned Phoenix, anyone?

The last time I posted photos of Phoenix was two months ago, and they've made a lot of progress since then, preparing for their launch.

First, here's a neat photo from about a month ago, when they were showing off Phoenix to the media. We're looking at the underside of the spacecraft, so you can see the three footpads (white circles) and the twelve thrusters (currently capped with red plugs) that represent Phoenix' landing system.

The belly of the Phoenix

NASA / Kim Shiflett

The belly of the Phoenix
On June 26, 2007, photographers were treated to a view of the Phoenix Mars lander, encased in its backshell. The view is of the underside of the spacecraft.
Phoenix is mated to its upper stage booster

NASA / Dimitri Gerondidakis

Phoenix is mated to its upper stage booster
In the Hazardous Payload Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center on July 17, 2007, the Phoenix Mars lander is guided on to its upper stage booster.
Mounting the heat shield onto Phoenix

NASA / Troy Cryder

Mounting the heat shield onto Phoenix
In the Hazardous Payload Servicing Facility, workers guide the heat shield onto the Phoenix Mars lander. The heat shield will protect the lander and slow its descent into Mars' atmosphere.
Canning Phoenix

NASA / Kim Shiflett

Canning Phoenix
On July 20, 2007, in the Hazardous Payload Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, Phoenix is prepared for transport to its launch pad. The spacecraft has been mated to its upper stage booster, wrapped in protective plastic, and placed atop one half of a shipping canister. The top of the shipping canister is being lowered to cover the spacecraft.
Lifting Phoenix to the top of the mobile service tower

NASA / George Shelton

Lifting Phoenix to the top of the mobile service tower
In the early morning hours of July 23, 2007, Phoenix (encased in a protective shipping canister) is lifted to the top of the mobile service tower at launch pad 17-A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
DateInstant OneInstant Two
August 309:35:1810:11:24
August 409:26:3110:02:55
August 509:17:2309:53:59
August 609:07:4809:44:32
August 708:57:3609:34:29
August 808:46:4509:23:52
August 908:35:5109:12:57
August 1008:24:2409:01:38
August 1108:12:1408:49:39
August 1207:58:2608:36:55
August 1307:44:5208:23:21
August 1407:30:3008:08:51
August 1507:13:4507:53:18
August 1607:57:2507:36:33
August 1707:38:0407:18:22
August 1807:15:5107:54:59
August 1907:00:5007:39:36
August 2006:44:0907:23:08
August 2106:26:0307:05:22
August 2206:06:3706:46:03
August 2305:43:3206:24:47
August 2405:18:5906:01:02

Meanwhile, at the other pad, the entire process was proceeding in reverse for Dawn.

Back indoors for Dawn
Back indoors for Dawn
On July 22, 2007, the Dawn spacecraft and its upper stage motor were replaced in their shipping canister and removed from the Delta II launch vehicle on pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was moved by truck back to the Hazardous Payload Processing Facility at Astrotech. It will be returned to the pad after the launch of the Phoenix mission to Mars. Credit: Top row: NASA / George Shelton. Bottom row: NASA / Charisse Nahser

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