[Satnews] The first of ten new work platforms that will provide access to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket has been installed in High Bay 3 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
An overhead crane that can hold as much as 325 tons was used to lift the first half of the K-level work platforms up from High Bay 4, across the transfer aisle 19 floors up, and then lowered it into High Bay 3. The platform was secured into position, about 86 feet above the VAB floor, or nearly 9 stories high. The K-level work platform halves 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 contains 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 the new work platforms, marking preparations for the agency’s journey to Mars.
NASA awarded a contract to modify High Bay 3 to the Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Orlando, Florida, in March 2014. Steel LLC, of Scottdale, Georgia, is the subcontractor fabricating the huge steel platforms, and Sauer Co. in Oak Hill, Florida, is assembling the platforms.
Hensel Phelps, along with its subcontractors, and Kennedy’s Institutional Services Contract, Engineering Services Contract and safety personnel are supporting crane operations, installation and initial inspection of each of the platforms.