NASA’s crawler-transporter 2 (CT-2) began its trek March 22 from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39B at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to test recently completed upgrades and modifications for NASA’s journey to Mars. CT-2 moved along the crawlerway at no more than one mile per hour and will complete its journey to the pad after numerous scheduled stops along the way to verify the operation of the completed upgrades.
The crawler will depart the pad and travel along the crawlerway to the mobile launcher yard west park sight, where it will pick up a shuttle-era launch platform (MLP-1) to simulate how it would carry the new mobile launcher, and return to Pad 39B in order to verify the vehicle’s capabilities.
The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program oversaw upgrades to the crawler in the VAB. CT-2 received 16 new jacking, equalization and leveling (JEL) cylinders that will lift the mobile launcher, with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft atop, and keep them level during transport to the pad; 88 new traction roller bearing assemblies; refurbishment of 16 gear boxes that contain bearings ranging in weight from 10 to 150 pounds each; new generators; and upgrades to the fluid and electrical systems.
The crawler will carry the mobile launcher with Orion atop the SLS rocket to Pad 39B for Exploration Mission-1, scheduled for 2018.
CT-2 is one of two crawlers built in 1965 for the Apollo program, and also carried space shuttles for 30 years. CT-1 and CT-2 have travelled more than 5,000 miles during their 50-plus years in service for NASA’s space programs.
The first half of the F-level work platforms for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket arrived today at the Vehicle Assembly Building at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to High Bay 3 to support processing of the SLS and Orion spacecraft.
A total of 10 levels of new platforms, 20 platform halves altogether, will surround the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft and provide access for testing and processing. The first three sets of platforms, H, J and K, were delivered to the center last year.
The second half of a new work platform was lifted and installed March 7 in High Bay 3 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The newly installed platform is the first of 10 new work platform levels that will provide access to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for Exploration Mission-1.
During the installation process, an overhead crane that can hold as much as 250 tons was used to lift the second half of the K-level work platforms up from High Bay 4, move across the transfer aisle, and lower it into High Bay 3. The platform was secured into position, about 86 feet above the VAB floor, or nearly nine stories high. The K-level platforms will provide access to the SLS core stage and solid rocket boosters during processing and stacking operations on the mobile launcher.
A total of 10 levels of new platforms – 20 platform halves altogether – will surround the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft and provide access for testing and processing. The giant steel platforms, each measuring 38 feet long and 62 feet wide, will be attached to rail beams that will provide structural support and contain the drive mechanisms to move them in and out or up and down as needed.
The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to the VAB, including installation of new work platforms, to prepare for NASA’s journey to Mars.