Crew Access Tower Nears Completion

2015-3097The last of seven tiers was recently added to a nearly 200-foot-tall steel structure that has changed the landscape along Florida’s Space Coast. The tower at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida will provide commercial crew astronauts and ground support teams easy access to Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft stacked on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the pad.

Boeing is one of two companies that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station from the United States in the next two years. These systems will carry four astronauts, increasing the station’s crew size to seven. The additional crew member will be able double to amount of time currently dedicated to scientific research.

Workers will begin outfitting the tower for launch, including installing the elevator, roof, white room, crew access arm and infrastructure lines in the coming weeks. SLC-41 remains an operational facility while the tower is built, so work on the tower is taking place between Atlas V launches of satellites and science payloads. For more photos, go to the Commercial Crew Program album on Flickr here. Photos by NASA/Jim Grossmann