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Photo Gallery: Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

The final external fuel tank currently scheduled to fly on a space shuttle mission was completed on June 25, 2010 by Lockheed Martin employees at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The tank, designated ET-138, was rolled out July 8 on a wheeled transporter one mile to an awaiting barge to begin its 900-mile sea journey to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The external tank's departure was not without some pomp and circumstance: following a send-off ceremony where NASA and Lockheed officials delivered remarks, the Storyville Stompers, a traditional area brass band, together with hundreds of handkerchief-waving employees bid farewll to the tank in typical New Orleans fashion and spirit.

ET-138 is currently slated to launch with shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission no earlier than Feb. 26, 2011.

Photo credit: collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman
 

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Above: STS-134 commander Mark Kelly is interviewed by NASA TV. His crew are assigned to fly on Endeavour with ET-138.

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Above and below: Michoud Assembly Facility employees show off their sun shades -- umbrellas they decorated for ET-138's roll out.

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Above: About 20 employees were on-hand who had worked at Michoud on every external tank, ET-1 to ET-138, from 1979 to 2010.

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Above: "Finish Strong," as printed on the back of their shirts, was the motto for the team working to ready the final shuttle fuel tank.

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

Above and below: The Storyville Stompers, a traditional area brass band, led the employees who marched and danced behind ET-138.

Final shuttle fuel tank to fly rolls out from Michoud

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