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 to support 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.
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. 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 Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to High Bay 3 to support processing of the SLS and Orion spacecraft. 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.
Two pathfinders, or test versions, of solid rocket booster segments for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket arrived at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The booster segments were transported from Promontory, Utah, for pathfinder operations at the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF) to prepare for Exploration Mission-1.
The boosters, which are inert, were stored at the Jay Jay rail yard in Titusville, Florida, to prepare for the final move. The first booster was transported onto the center Feb. 23 by rail aboard a train service provided by Goodloe Transportation and was delivered to the RPSF. Inside the RPSF, the booster segment was offloaded and inspected. Its cover was removed, and the segment will undergo additional inspections to confirm it is ready for testing. The second booster segment which arrived later in the day will undergo the same preparations.
During the pathfinder operations, engineers and technicians with NASA and industry partners will conduct a series of lifts, moves and stacking operations using the booster segments and an aft skirt, with aft motor and aft exit cone attached, to simulate how the boosters will be processed in the RPSF to prepare for an SLS/Orion mission. The stacking operations will help train ground personnel before they handle flight hardware for the most powerful rocket in the world that will start to arrive at Kennedy in less than two years.
The pathfinder operations also will help to test recent upgrades to the RPSF facility as the center continues to prepare for the EM-1 mission, deep-space missions, and the journey to Mars.
NASCAR driver Carl Edwards visited NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and slid behind the wheel of an entirely different kind of car: a Mine-resistant, Ambush-protected vehicle better known as MRAP.
The agency’s Ground Systems Development and Operations Program selected the MRAP to serve as an upgraded version of an armored escape vehicle that would allow astronauts to evacuate the launch pad in the event of an emergency.
While at Kennedy, Edwards stopped by the massive Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Pad 39B. Both facilities are being prepared to support assembly and launch of NASA’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.
Edwards toured the spaceport ahead of Sunday’s Daytona 500 race, in which he is driving the No. 19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing.
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida received another work platform that will be used to modernize the massive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), which is where the agency will test and process the SLS for flight before it is rolled out onto the launch pad. The agency’s Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program at Kennedy continues to make progress preparing the center to launch NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft that will take humans beyond Earth orbit and on to deep space.
The arrival of the second half of the G-level work platforms at Kennedy brings the total to eight platforms, or four levels of work platforms being readied for the VAB. The G platforms are the fourth of 10 levels of platforms that will support processing of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft for deep space missions including to an asteroid and the journey to Mars.
Tillet Heavy Haul Inc. of Titusville, Florida, transported the platform from Sauer Co. in Oak Hill, Florida to Kennedy Space Center for Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Orlando, Florida. A contract to modify the VAB’s High Bay 3 was awarded to Hensel Phelps in March 2014.
A total of 10 levels of new platforms, 20 platform halves altogether, will be used to access, test and process the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft in High Bay 3. In addition, 20 new elevator landings and access ways are being constructed for the platform levels. The high bay also will accommodate the 355-foot-tall mobile launcher tower that will carry the rocket and spacecraft atop the crawler-transporter to Launch Pad 39B.
The platforms are being fabricated by Steel LLC of Scottdale, Georgia, and assembled by Sauer. The GSDO team at Kennedy is overseeing upgrades and modifications to the high bay to prepare for NASA’s deep space exploration missions.
The first three sets of platforms, H, J and K, were delivered to the center last year.
The Center Planning and Development (CPD) Directorate hosted its fifth roundtable discussion Feb. 4 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Government and industry representatives toured facilities, including the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Pad 39B, and other facilities that have been upgraded to make the center a multi-user spaceport.
Scott Colloredo, CPD director, presented an overview of the center’s core strategies and the partnerships forged with commercial aerospace and industry companies. He led a panel discussion to receive panelists’ feedback on continued development of the center, how to get the message out to potential partners, and thoughts on the future of the center.
Participants for this roundtable included, Keisha Rice, former director of the Florida Office of Trade, Tourism and Economic Development; Mike Powell, CEO of the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority; Bill McCollum, former congressman and state of Florida agriculture commissioner; Marshall Heard, retired Boeing senior executive; Lee Solid, retired Rockwell senior executive; Louie Laubscher, Enterprise Florida; Frank O’Dea, Florida Department of Transportation, District 5; and Jesse Panuccio, former director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
The Orion crew module pressure vessel for NASA’s Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) has been secured in an upgraded version of a test stand called the birdcage in the high bay inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The pressure vessel is the underlying structure of the Orion crew module. It arrived at Kennedy on Feb. 1 aboard NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft at the Shuttle Landing Facility operated by Space Florida at Kennedy. It was offloaded and transported to the O&C.
In the high bay, NASA and Orion manufacturer Lockheed Martin will prepare the vehicle for its mission. Over the next 18 months, more than 100,000 components will arrive at Kennedy and be integrated with the spacecraft by the team. It will be outfitted with its systems and subsystems necessary for flight, including its heat-shielding thermal protection system.
The Orion spacecraft will launch aboard NASA’s Space Launch System rocket on EM-1, a test flight that will take it thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of about a three-week mission.
The Orion crew module pressure vessel for NASA’s Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) arrived today at the Shuttle Landing Facility operated by Space Florida at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Arrival of the module marks an important milestone toward the agency’s journey to Mars.
The crew module arrived aboard the agency’s Super Guppy aircraft from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Welding work on the pressure vessel, which is the underlying structure of the crew module, was completed at Michoud.
The crew module was offloaded from the Super Guppy and readied for transport to the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay for processing. In the high bay, NASA and Orion manufacturer Lockheed Martin will outfit the crew module with its systems and subsystems necessary for flight, including its heat-shielding thermal protection system.
NASA’s Space Launch System rocket will be the largest rocket ever built. It will carry the Orion spacecraft on EM-1, a test flight scheduled for 2018. During EM-1, Orion will travel thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of a three-week mission.
An aft skirt similar to one that will be used on a solid rocket booster (SRB) that will help launch NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket into space was transported from the Booster Fabrication Facility to the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF) at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The aft skirt will remain in the RPSF and be readied for simulated stacking operations with a pathfinder, or test version, of a solid rocket booster. February 1 will mark the official start date for booster pathfinder operations after the aft skirt is inspected and undergoes limited processing.
Segments of the pathfinder SRB will arrive from Promontory, Utah, to Kennedy in mid-February and will be transported to the RPSF.
Engineers and technicians with NASA and industry partners will conduct a series of lifts, moves and stacking operations using the aft skirt and pathfinder SRB to simulate how SRB will be processed in the RPSF to prepare for an SLS/Orion mission.
The pathfinder operations will help to test recent upgrades to the RPSF facility as the center prepares for NASA’s Exploration Mission-1, deep-space missions, and the journey to Mars.