Orbiter Processing Facility-3 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has a new spacecraft to assemble and prep for orbit: Boeing’s CST-100, which the company is developing in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The needs of the CST-100, short for Commercial Space Transportation-100, are quite different from those of the space shuttle fleet. The modern spacecraft calls for a modern facility, so about 78,000 square feet of processing areas inside the former OPF has been revamped.
More than 1,040 tons of steel and aluminum platforms, work stands and other hardware were removed from the building’s high bay to make room for the specialized equipment to allow an assembly line for CST-100 crew and service modules. Massive overhead cranes in the building capable of lifting up to 30 tons remain in place and are critical in moving spacecraft and heavy equipment into different areas as the CST-100 is built up from pressure vessel to operational spacecraft.
Look for more details tomorrow about the transformation of the OPF, now called the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, or simply the C3PF. Boeing is holding its grand opening for the C3PF during a ceremony at Kennedy starting at 10 a.m. EDT. Watch it live on NASA TV. In the meantime, check out these small but important details about the new facility and what it means for helping NASA re-establish its ability to launch astronauts to the International Space Station from Florida!
SpaceX released this artist concept of Launch Pad 39A as it would look for the launch of its Crew Dragon spacecraft on top of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying astronauts to the International Space Station. The trunk of the Crew Dragon shimmers in the Florida sunshine in the depiction. Note the modifications to the service structure and surroundings of the pad area, along with the processing hangar at the base of the 40-foot-high pyramid.
The third of NASA’s Orbiter Processing Facilities built to protect the space shuttle fleet as engineers outfitted them for their next flights is nearing the end of its renovation into a factory for a new generation of spacecraft. The transformation required extensive work, starting with the removal of the tons of steel and aluminum work stands and platforms custom-built for shuttle servicing as seen in the video below. Space Florida, in coordination with Kennedy and Boeing, removes obsolete infrastructure so Boeing could modernize the facility.
Now called the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, or C3PF, the high bay and adjoining work areas will be the production, assembly and processing home for Boeing’s Commercial Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft. Developed in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the CST-100 is designed to launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to take astronauts to the International Space Station so they can add to the important science being performed every day in orbit.