Launch Complex 39B consists of two major parts,
the Canister is installed onto the RSS,
while the Shuttle stands on the MLP.
For an image of the RSS covering the Shuttle, click here.
For an image of the wheel of the RSS, click here.
The RSS structure supports a clean room known as the Payload Changeout Room (PCR). This is burried under the struts of the RSS. When the Canister arrives on the pad, it is attached to the PCR. The Canister is the white box visible in the middle of the RSS in the above image. The RSS and the MLP are joined by a hinge in the middle. The RSS is also on wheels, allowing it to rotate around and completely cover the shuttle. Click here for an image of that. In a sense, the RSS is like a huge refrigerator door that closes onto the orbiter allowing access to the cargo bay for installation of payloads.
The canister is the white container in the upper left. Full size.
By attaching the Canister onto the PCR, the cradle can be transferred into the launch pad. The Canister is then removed, and the RSS is rotated to cover the shuttle. The cargo bay doors are opened and the cradle is tranferred into the shuttle. Installation occurred on approximately October 7 1998.
The cargo bay of STS-95. Full size
The image above shows the cargo bay of STS-95. This image is shot from the Payload Changeout Room on the launch pad LC39-B. The two shiny panels on the left and right are the open cargo bay doors. The top of the image is where the crew cabin is located, and the bottom is the tail of the spacecraft. The yellow ring on the floor of the PCR marks the point where the Shuttle ends and the launch pad begins. From top to bottom, the payloads for this mission are: