The Towers Rise


This is a shot of Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, which is being prepared for the Ares I-X test flight later this year. That particular pad — as well as its twin, pad 39A — was the site of space shuttle launches since the 1980s until 39B was retired in 2006 (pad 39A is now the primary site). In this picture, which was taken at dawn, you can see the towers of the new lightning protection system for the pad. Each of the three new lightning towers will be 500feet tall with an additional 100-foot fiberglass mast on top of them. This work is being done because the Ares and Orion stack will be much taller than the shuttle is, coming in at more than 300-feet tall.

6 thoughts on “The Towers Rise”

  1. Keep the pictures coming. I wish that we’d had this kind of access when we were building infrastructure for Apollo.

  2. Dumb question…how much of the Apollo infrastructure have you folks been able to save and adapt for Constellation?

    I’ve seen the original test bays inside the VAB, that’s why I ask.

  3. Dave –

    That’s a very good question. We are attempting to use as many Apollo-era facilities as we can. This gets tougher every year because of the harsh seaside conditions we live with every day at the Kennedy Space Center. As a result, we are using the VAB, but many of the
    platforms inside (for accessing the rocket and spaceship) are being made new. The Launch Control Center is, again, being used, but most of the electronics inside are being replaced with new stuff as well. The launch pads will have their Fixed and Rotating Service Structures
    removed, as they will not be needed in the Constellation Program. We are building new mobile launch platforms as well because the geometries of the new vehicles are radically different from Shuttle and Apollo and the MLPs are really exposed to weather a lot. We will be using the old Operations and Checkout Building (where we processed Apollo command and service modules and lunar modules) for the building of the new Orion crew exploration vehicle.

    We have a few other, less well known facilities which we are continuing to use as well.

  4. hi
    im nishit patel.
    From- gujarat, india

    i want to see ur working systems& learn about it
    because science is my life. i like to make a scientist in mmichenism
    in aeronotics. please help me……………

  5. Very cool picture. The quality of the photographs taken by NASA personnel never cease to amaze me.

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