USA Worker Falls to His Death at Shuttle Launch Pad

A United Space Alliance worker fell to his death at Launch Complex 39A. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – A United Space Alliance (USA) worker fell to his death at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Launch Complex 39A (LC39A). The worker, James D. Vanover, died at approximately 7:40 a.m. EDT. 

Vanover, 53, was a swing arm operator out at LC39A. His family was notified before his name was released to the media. Shuttle Endeavour currently rests out at the launch complex. The orbiter was wheeled out to the pad last week. This will be the last flight of Endeavour and this mission has, to date, seen its fair share of tragedy. 

In January the wife of mission commander Mark Kelly, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely injured in the shooting rampage by alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner. It was uncertain if Kelly would still lead the mission. However, his wife appeared to not only recover quickly, but to also bless his return to training. It now appears that Giffords might actually attend the launch of STS-134, currently scheduled to take place on Apr. 19. 

The end of the shuttle program has been a trying time for NASA and its family of contractors. Thousands of highly-skilled workers have been dismissed in wave after wave of layoffs at the space center. Another round is expected to strike within the coming weeks.

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