Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2002 March 4
Explanation: NASA's Crawler-Transporters are the largest tracked vehicles in existence. Although the crawlers pack over 5,000 horsepower, their top speed is less than two kilometres per hour when fully loaded. Eleven people are needed to drive a single crawler. Diesel fuel mileage is about 350 liters per kilometre (less than 0.007 miles per gallon). The crawler's function is to move NASA's space shuttles -- complete with launch platforms -- from the Assembly Building to the Launch Pad at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA. Two of these massive machines have operated since the Apollo era and have now crawled over 4,000 kilometres, all the while keeping their contents perfectly upright. In this picture a crawler transports the shuttle Columbia to the pad prior to its March 1st launch on the latest Hubble Space Telelescope Servicing Mission.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.