Vehicle Assembly Building

2009 Kennedy Space Center Visit


Various pieces of space hardware and infrastructure at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Vehicle Assembly Building

04 Aug 2009 38
Fresh as new, thanks to extensive post-hurricane work on the skin of the building.

Vehicle Assembly Building

04 Aug 2009 42
Fresh as new, thanks to extensive post-hurricane repairs to the skin of the building. From outside it really does look like a brand-new building, while from the inside...well, not so much, but surprisingly not as old as it is.

Mate-Demate Device

04 Aug 2009 33
The gantry used to load and unload orbiters from the back of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 747s.

Orbiter Hangar

04 Aug 2009 52
The hangar at the Shuttle Landing Facility. Note the skinny garage door at the top for the empennage.

Orbiter Servicing Equipment

04 Aug 2009 39
The servicing trucks and jetbridge at the Shuttle Landing Facility, used for servicing a returning orbiter after landing.

Orbiter's Eye View

04 Aug 2009 57
The VAB as seen from the road over which returning orbiters are towed back from the Shuttle Landing Facility following a mission (note the blue line in the center of the road).

Ares-I MLP

04 Aug 2009 84
The brand-new mobile launch platform being built for the (probably doomed) Ares-I launch vehicle, which the Constellation program will use to send the Orion spacecraft into orbit (assuming Ares doesn't get cancelled). Note the truss segments to the left - these are parts of the launch umbilical tower which will be built atop the platform. Like Apollo and unilike Shuttle, Ares-I will carry its service tower on the launch platform with it, instead of it being built into the pad. Behind the truss segments to the left are the tail service masts from a Shuttle MLP.

Mobile Launch Platform

04 Aug 2009 80
I think this is MLP-3, which should be getting moved into the VAB in the next few weeks to begin stack operations for Atlantis' next flight. The MLP is parked in the maintenance area behind the VAB and OPFs, next to the brand new MLP being constructed for Constellation's Ares-I rocket. The two mailbox-like bumps on the top are the tail service masts, through which the propellant lines and various electrical connections are mated to the back end of the Orbiter until takeoff. Each contains a large plate loaded with fluid and electrical quick disconnects, which at liftoff is released from the Orbiter and retracted into the mast at high velocity and with great force, at which point a heavy door slams shut behind the plate to protect it from the Shuttle's plume. It's not apparent from this picture just how large the masts are, or how big the plates are, or just how impressive that operation really is. IIRC, the building in the background on the right is the Saturn V Center.

Discovery

04 Aug 2009 51
This was about as close as we could get to LC-39B without special access and an escort, given that Discovery had just been rolled out to the pad.

Modifications

04 Aug 2009 53
LC-39B undergoing modifications for Constellation use. Note that the top of the Shuttle fixed service structure and the oxygen vent arm appear to have been removed, along with (I think) the white room arm.

Modifications

04 Aug 2009 49
LC-39B undergoing modifications for Constellation use. Note that the top of the Shuttle fixed service structure and the oxygen vent arm appear to have been removed, along with (I think) the white room arm.

Modifications

04 Aug 2009 57
LC-39B undergoing modifications for Constellation use. Note that the top of the Shuttle fixed service structure and the oxygen vent arm appear to have been removed, along with (I think) the white room arm.

Modifications

04 Aug 2009 50
LC-39B undergoing modifications for Constellation use. Note that the top of the Shuttle fixed service structure and the oxygen vent arm appear to have been removed, along with (I think) the white room arm.

Lightning Tower

04 Aug 2009 51
One of the new masts at LC-39B, which has recently started conversion for the upcoming Ares-IX test flight and later Constellation use.

Discovery

04 Aug 2009 48
Discovery at LC-39A. Note that the rotating service structure has not yet been closed around the stack (it would be all enclosed two days later when I visited the pad).

Discovery

04 Aug 2009 60
Discovery at LC-39A. Note that the rotating service structure has not yet been closed around the stack (it would be all enclosed two days later when I visited the pad).

Modifications

04 Aug 2009 50
LC-39A undergoing modifications for use with Ares-I. Assuming Ares-I doesn't get cancelled first.

Discovery

04 Aug 2009 47
Discovery at LC-39A. Note that the rotating service structure has not yet been closed around the stack (it would be all enclosed two days later when I visited the pad).

183 items in total