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Photos: Mobile gantry retracted for launch of Atlas 5 rocket at Vandenberg

Towering more than 20 stories tall, the 8-million-pound mobile gantry at the Atlas 5 rocket’s launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, was retracted into position late Friday for liftoff of NASA’s InSight mission to Mars.

The mobile service tower began moving into launch position around 11:30 p.m. PDT Friday (2:30 a.m. EDT; 0630 GMT), around four-and-a-half hours before the opening of InSight’s predawn launch window.

These photos show the reveal of the 188-foot-tall (57-meter) United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket at Space Launch Complex 3-East. Spotlights were shined on the launcher soon after the gantry retracted.

See our Mission Status Center for live updates and details on the flight.

Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

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