Fourth Set of New Work Platforms Installed in Vehicle Assembly Building High Bay 3

G-level work platforms are installed in the Vehicle Assembly Building High Bay 3.The G-level work platforms for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, were installed this week in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. A heavy-lift crane was used to raise G south and G north platforms up from the transfer aisle, then over and down to about the 14th floor level for installation.

The G-level work platforms are the fourth of 10 levels of work platforms that will surround and provide access to the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft for Exploration Mission 1. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to VAB High Bay 3, including installation of the new work platforms, to prepare for deep space missions, including NASA’s journey to Mars.

Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Tail Service Mast Umbilicals Prepared to Support NASA’s Journey to Mars

Tail Service Mast Umbilical at Precision Fabrication Cleaning in Cocoa, Florida.
A crane lowers a segment of one of the Tail Service Mast Umbilicals to its other segment at Precision Fabrication Cleaning in Cocoa, Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

Several connections, called launch umbilicals, will connect from the mobile launcher tower and provide power, communications, coolant and fuel to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for their first integrated mission. Among them are two umbilicals, called tail service mast umbilicals (TSMUs). They are being cleaned and assembled at Precision Fabrication Cleaning in Cocoa, Florida, before they are transported to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for testing.

Technicians are cleaning the two segments of each umbilical to remove any dirt or debris that may hinder their functionality, checking them for any defects, and then assembling the parts to form two complete umbilicals. They will be transported to Kennedy’s Launch Equipment Test Facility where they will undergo testing to ensure their readiness to support prelaunch operations leading up to launch.

The umbilicals will connect from the zero-level deck on the base of the mobile launcher to the SLS rocket core stage aft section. The 33-foot-tall structures will provide liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fluid lines and electrical cable connections to the SLS core stage engine section to support propellant handling during prelaunch operations.

At the LETF, engineers and technicians will use liquid nitrogen to simulate the liquid oxygen for the TSMU that will provide liquid oxygen. They will test the umbilical’s arm performance across the full range of SLS core stage motions and simulate a vehicle launch using the Vehicle Motion Simulator test fixture. The same series of tests will be performed with the second TSMU that will provide liquid hydrogen, using the actual liquid hydrogen commodity.

Before launch, both TSMUs will tilt back to ensure a safe and reliable disconnect and retract of all umbilical hardware away from the rocket during liftoff.

Kennedy’s Engineering Directorate, along with the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program, are supporting processing activities of the umbilicals for missions to deep space including NASA’s journey to Mars.

Platform D South Arrives at Kennedy Space Center for NASA’s Space Launch System

Platform D South arrives at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.A heavy load transport truck from Tillett Heavy Hauling in Titusville, Florida, arrives at the north entrance gate at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying the first half of the D-level work platforms, D south, for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The platform will be delivered to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) staging area in the west parking lot. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to VAB 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 to prepare for Exploration Mission 1.

Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Liquid Hydrogen Tanker Flex Hose Fit Check at Launch Pad 39B

Engineers prepare for liquid hydrogen tanker flex hose fit check at Launch Pad 39B.Engineers and technicians on the Test and Operations Support Contract go over procedures with liquid hydrogen (LH2) provider PRAXAIR April 28 to prepare for a fit check of the new LH2 transfer flex hose at Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. LH2 provider PRAXAIR connected the transfer flex hose from its LH2 truck to the LH2 tanker to confirm that the hose fits and functions properly. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to Pad 39B to support processing of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Exploration Mission 1 and NASA’s journey to Mars.

Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin

First Work Platforms Powered On for Testing in Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Cener

One of the J-level work platforms is powered on in the Vehicle Assembly Building.For the first time, one of the new work platforms in High Bay 3 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida was powered on. Lights illuminate one half of the J-level platforms as the platform is extended. A preliminary test of both J platforms was completed to verify each platform’s push chain system, roller system and electrical connections. The J-level platforms are located about 112 feet above the floor, or nearly 11 stories high. In view below is the K-level platform. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to VAB High Bay 3 to support processing of the Space Launch System (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.

Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

First Half of E-level Work Platforms for NASA’s Space Launch System Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

First half of E-level work platforms arrives at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.With its image reflected in the water, a heavy load transport truck proceeds along the road to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 26, carrying the first half of the E-level work platforms, E South, for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The platform will be delivered to the VAB staging area in the west parking lot. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to VAB 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.

Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston

Second Half of J-level Work Platforms Installed in Vehicle Assembly Building

Second half of Platform J installed in Vehicle Assembly Building High Bay 3.The second half of the J-level work platforms was lifted by crane and installed today in High Bay 3 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The newly installed platform completes the second of 10 levels of work platforms that will surround and provide access to NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Exploration Mission 1. The J-level work platforms are installed about 112 feet above the VAB floor, or nearly 11 stories high. The platforms will provide access to the SLS core stage and solid rocket boosters. The K-level work platforms were installed in High Bay 3 earlier this year, about 86 feet above the VAB floor, or nearly nine stories high. 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.

Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Crawler-Transporter 2 Takes Trip to Launch Pad 39B

Crawler-transporter 2 begins its trek from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. 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.

First F-Level Work Platform for NASA’s Space Launch System Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

The first F-level work platform arrives at the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.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.

Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Second Platform for NASA’s Space Launch System Lifted into Position in Vehicle Assembly Building

The second K-level work platform for NASA's Space Launch System rocket is installed in the Vehicle Assembly Building High Bay 3.
The second half of the K-level work platforms for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is lowered for installation in High Bay 3 in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

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.