Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NASA Raises Ares I Launch Tower At KSC

The skyline at Kennedy Space Center is changing as NASA and an Orlando contractor erect an Ares I tower on top of a new mobile launcher that will haul the rockets out to pad 39B from the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Drive down the banks of the Indian River in Titusville or across the NASA Causeway and you'll see the structure looming on the north side of the Vehicle Assembly Building and Orbiter Processing Facility Bays 1 & 2.

Six of 10 tower segments already have been raised on the mobile launcher, which is being built by Hensel Phelps Construction Co. If an option for a second mobile launcher is exercised, the contract could be worth $264 million.

Construction of the tower began in October. Once completed in February, the tower will be 345 feet tall.

NASA is designing and developing the Ares I rocket to ferry astronauts crews and Orion spacecraft on the first leg of missions beyond low Earth orbit. The 327-foot-tall rocket and Orion spacecraft also would provide a back-up crew launch capability to the International Space Station if U.S. commercial providers do not materialize.

Here are the details on the Ares I mobile launcher:

The mobile launcher consists of the main support structure that comprises the base, tower and facility ground support systems, which include power, communications, conditioned air, water for cooling, wash-down, and ignition over-pressure protection, according to a NASA news release issued when the Hensel Phelps contract was awarded.

Hensel Phelps is supplying all labor, materials and equipment necessary for construction of the Ares I mobile launcher. Ground support equipment, such as umbilicals, propellant and gases, instrumentation, controls and communications, necessary to support the Ares I rocket will be provided and installed under a separate contract or contracts.

ABOUT THE IMAGES: Click to enlarge the images of the Ares I mobile launcher, and its launch umbilical tower, being raised at the park site just north of the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building. Click the image a second time to get an even bigger, more detailed view. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann


Anonymous said...

A friend of mine dubbed it "the tower of bable".

Anonymous said...

The program is moving ahead at full speed. But what is its strategic goal?

Sam said...

I was able to see this launch tower when I visited Kennedy Space Center last year.

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Alexis Preatori said...

That's the wrong way to build a strong and livable infrastructure. Why would they put huge frames without even forming the foundations on the corners.
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