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Photos: Atop NASA's Huge Mobile Launch Tower

NASA's Mobile Launch Tower at Pad 39B

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

NASA's $500 million mobile launch tower sits on pad 39B at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, where it moved in mid-November to undergo two weeks of structural tests. The tower will support NASA's huge Space Launch System rocket — which is due to make its first test flight in 2017 — and perhaps other launch vehicles as well.

Mobile Launcher and Lightning Tower

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

The mobile launcher is 355 feet tall and sits atop a steel base that itself rises 47 feet from the ground. The white-topped structure in the background is a lightning tower.

Mobile Launch Tower and Flame Trench

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

This shot, looking under the mobile launcher, shows pad 39B's flame trench.

Launchpad 39B's Flame Trench

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Another view of pad 39B's flame trench, this time looking south. The huge crawler-transporter that brought the mobile launcher to the pad is visible in the background.

NASA Crawler-Transporter

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

A look at NASA's crawler-transporter vehicle, which brought the 6.5-million-pound mobile launcher to pad 39B.

Crawler-Transporter Closeup

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

A closeup shot of the crawler-transporter's front end. These massive vehicles were also used to carry NASA's space shuttles to launchpads 39A and 39B.

Crawler-Transporter Treads

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

An up-close look at the crawler-transporter's treads, and the crushed ground the huge vehicle leaves in its wake.

Looking Up at the Mobile Launcher

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

A view straight up the side of the 355-foot-high tower, from near its base.

Looking South from Atop NASA's Mobile Launcher

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

The view to the south from atop NASA's mobile launch tower. The crawler-transporter and its track are clearly visible, as are several other launchpads off in the distance.

Looking Down from the Mobile Launcher's Top

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Looking down from the top of the mobile launch tower at pad 39B's flame trench, about 400 feet below. NASA plans to launch its heavy-lift rocket, known as the Space Launch System, from pad 39B. The first test flight for the huge rocket is slated for 2017.

View to the North From Mobile Launcher's Top

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

A maze of wetlands surrounds Kennedy Space Center, as this view looking to the north shows.

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