A new up-close launch pad tour at Kennedy Space Center takes you within the restricted perimeter fence of pad 39A. This is where Apollo rockets and space shuttles were launched. Here is a view of the top of the Rotating Service Service Structure which was used to hold and deliver the payload into the shuttle orbiter.
In the center of this photo is the room that astronauts passed through to enter the orbiter’s hatch. The room is on an arm that rotated away from the orbiter after all of the astronauts had boarded. The arm is rotated away here, and the passageway for the hatch is covered.
This extension from the main tower holds the Hydrogen tank umbilical. The umbilical instantly released on first motion of the launch, and fell down securely to the position seen here. You can see the umbilical in a vertical line at center here.The pivot is at the top.
You can see pad 39B from pad 39A. 39B is now surrounded by three lightning protection towers. 39B was once identical to 39A, but the pad was cleared to make it multiple-purpose. All that remains of the former shuttle launch structure is the fueling system, seen here at center of the horizon. The current plan is for a rocket launche from 39B in late 2017. The new SLS rocket is in development.
Here’s a video from KSC Up-Close: The Launch Pad Tour:
KSC Up-Close: The Launch Pad Tour has limited availability. It is currently offered through 2012. The tour is $25 for adults and $19 for children ages 3-11, in addition to Kennedy Scape Center Visitor Complex admission. Click Here for more information.