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  [Discuss] The deconstruction of launch pad 39B (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] The deconstruction of launch pad 39B
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2009 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the topic The deconstruction of launch pad 39B focused on status updates, reader's feedback and opinions have been moved to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss Pad 39B's dismantling as NASA prepares to a "clean pad" for future launch vehicles.

ASCAN1984
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posted 06-02-2009 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What are the plans for the shuttle hardware that will not be used, e.g. the white room?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-05-2009 06:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The white room, orbiter access arm and a few other primary components of the fixed and rotating service structures will be preserved and displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 06-06-2009 09:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On June 3, the oxygen vent hood, called the "beanie cap," and gaseous oxygen vent arm was removed from Launch Pad 39B's fixed service structure and lowered the 227 feet to the ground.
Our own caps are off in tribute to the many services Pad 39B has accomplished in service to the shuttle program.

GACspaceguy
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posted 06-11-2009 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The current fixed service structure was created from the original Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) used during the Apollo Program.
  • Pad 39A has the ML-2 section and was used for Apollo 4, 9, 12, 14 and the Skylab workshop.

  • Pad 39B has the ML-3 and was used for Apollo 10, 13, 15, 16, and 17

Voyager1975
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posted 06-22-2009 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Voyager1975   Click Here to Email Voyager1975     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe STS-51L was the first space shuttle mission to ever use launch pad 39B. So is that the same white room that has been in use since 1986?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-22-2009 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, the STS-51L fallen crew was the first in 1986 to cross that orbiter access arm into the white room and board a space shuttle (Challenger) for their launch.

Fifty-two launches and 20 years later, Discovery's STS-116 crew became the last to cross the walkway before departing for space.

The interim crews (STS-26, 27, 29, 30, 28, 34, 33, 31, 41, 35, 37, 40, 49, 46, 47, 52, 54, 56, 57, 51, 58, 61, 62, 64, 66, 63, 70, 73, 72, 75, 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 87, 90, 95, 96, 93, 103, 106, 97, 102, 104, 108, 110, 112, 114, 121, 115) included the astronauts who flew the maiden launch of Endeavour and the three Return To Flight missions flown on Discovery.

James Brown
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posted 04-12-2010 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now: Launch pad demolition paves way for uncertain transition
Although its once-planned tenant is being scrapped, the servicing towers at the Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39B will be demolished this summer to ready the complex for an uncertain future.

...LVI Services Inc., a New York-based demolition and remediation firm, will begin work in late June or early July, Perez-Morales said.

The demolition will not use explosives like those used on other abandoned launch pads. Perez-Morales said the structures will be dismantled in a "very controlled" process as workers take apart the towers one piece at a time.

The launch pad will not be imploded to protect the facility's concrete surface and lightning towers, which will be reused.

NASA signed the contract with LVI in early March. The agreement stipulates that the pad be leveled within 200 days after NASA gives approval to proceed this summer, Perez-Morales said in an interview Friday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-01-2010 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now: Retired space shuttle launch pad to be dismantled this fall
The agency's $1.3 million contract with LVI Environmental Services Inc., a New York-based demolition and remediation firm, calls for the iconic towers to be removed from the pad perimeter by Jan. 13, 2011, according to Perez-Morales.

The January deadline is 200 days after NASA gave the contractor a notice to proceed with the demolition in late June...

Unlike other launch complex demolitions at Cape Canaveral, pad 39B's servicing towers will not be imploded using explosives. Instead, NASA wants to methodically take apart the structures using cranes to protect the facility's concrete foundation, which the agency plans to reuse.

The first step will be to cover the pad surface with up to 2 feet of sand, protective plates and ribbing. Workers will next move the pad's rotating service structure to a partially-retracted position parallel to the flame trench.

The towers' removal will begin in earnest by the end of September, [launch pad project manager Jose] Perez-Morales said, with the removal of cladding and support metals from the rotating service structure, leaving just a skeleton before workers move in cranes to cut the 13-story gantry from the fixed tower, Perez-Morales said.

Later this year, the contractor's attention will turn to the 25-story fixed service structure. Divided into 12 levels, the tower will be removed piece-by-piece as it was constructed.

"They're going to go to each floor, disconnect each floor all around, and then take each floor down," Perez-Morales said.

The contractor will move the remains of the structures to a parking lot outside the pad, where teams will cut the metal into smaller pieces for shipping to a recycling center.

"The equipment will come in and do the final cutting and go to the parking lot, where they will sort the metals to decide what they're going recycle and what's going to the garbage can," Perez-Morales said.

Rob Joyner
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posted 10-01-2010 12:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The equipment will come in and do the final cutting and go to the parking lot, where they will sort the metals to decide what they're going recycle and what's going to the garbage can," Perez-Morales said.
When I read that last part I almost felt sick to my stomach. Is there any talk of using what metals that are not recyclable to make into presentations for enthusiasts to perhaps generate funds for NASA and charities instead of just dumping it in "the garbage can"?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-01-2010 12:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to NASA, there are currently no provisions in place as part of this contract to transfer discarded debris (which may include hazardous materials) to the public or to outside organizations.

Fezman92
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posted 10-01-2010 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...there are currently no provisions in place as part of this contract to transfer discarded debris
That would explain why when I emailed the company doing the deconstruction asking if it was possible to get a small part of it, they never got back to me.

Rob Joyner
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posted 10-02-2010 08:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per the contract, does the remaining metal belong to NASA or the deconstruction company?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-02-2010 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would appear that LVI will own the material, in so much they will retain the funds collected from recycling the metal. From the Spaceflight Now article linked earlier:
LVI Environmental Services will collect money from the recycling, reducing the cost of the demolition to NASA.

"The reason why is because the contractor will get a lot of advantage because of the amount of steel, the copper, all the metals on the tower that he's going to recycle and get dollars for," Perez-Morales said.

Leon Ford
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posted 03-23-2011 02:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Leon Ford   Click Here to Email Leon Ford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Deconstruct = Scrap

Call it what it is.

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-23-2011 05:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Weren't the FSS towers built from segments of the Launch Umbilical Towers (LUTs) built for the Apollo program? As such, there is a lot of history in those structures.

I hope at least a couple of the segments can be preserved for future display and not left to rot (and risk leaching leaded paint into the water table) like what happened to the last Apollo era LUT to get dismantled. Because of the paint lead risk, NASA ended up totally scrapping that tower except for a couple of the arms (including the white room).

Of course, if NASA has no budget for preservation, they can't do it.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-23-2011 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An earlier post shares the Apollo-era mobile launcher/LUT breakdown for pads 39A's and 39B's fixed service structures.

Perhaps because of the lessons learned from NASA's attempt to retain/reserve LUT-1 and its subsequent EPA-forced disposal, and most certainly due to the space agency's budget constraints, all of Pad 39B's fixed service structure, with the exception of two of its swing arms and some smaller but historically notable parts, will be removed off-site and processed as scrap metal.

NASA's contract with the company managing the dismantling and removal of the material specifically requires the metal be recycled.

Fra Mauro
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posted 03-28-2011 07:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps this is progress but this is still a little sad.

capoetc
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posted 05-04-2011 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When is the deconstruction process scheduled to be completed?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-04-2011 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe (but will need to go back and check my notes) that NASA has said the removal of the RSS and FSS will be completed by the end of June.

Jay Chladek
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posted 05-05-2011 05:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Considering the launches I've witnessed from STS-121 (which went off pad B) to Ares 1-X (which was the last to fly from pad B), if I make it down for STS-135, it will be quite unusual to look towards the pads and see only 39A standing. Personally, I've always preferred Pad 39B launches as at least you could see the orbiter on the stack from the press site. Pad 39A by comparison has the orbiter obstructed by the RSS when viewed from the press area (while both pads had the RSS obscuring when viewed from the VIP area).

capoetc
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posted 05-05-2011 10:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmmm ... end of June ... I suppose once 39B is done they can start the deconstruction of 39A as well.

Fra Mauro
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posted 05-13-2011 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps they will hold off on that if a proposed HLV is Shuttle-derived.

Jay Chladek
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posted 05-13-2011 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The main reason why the pads were done with FSS had to do with the need to load some payloads at the pad (such as those with hypergolic and/or otherwise toxic propellants). A new design HLV, if it is shuttle derived (unless it is like the shuttle C concept) will likely have the payload installed while the vehicle is in the VAB, as such I don't see the need for an FSS if a launch umbilical tower can be reinstalled on a mobile launch platform.

One of the knocks against shuttle was the amount of time required to get a vehicle ready for flight as the MLP with the stack had to be delivered to the pad, have the FSS attached to it, then have the RSS rolled over to put the payload in. As such, NASA wants to try to cut that preparation time at the pad down. So if a fair amount of work can be done before the vehicle is rolled out to the pad, it could theoretically cut the time needed to have the vehicle exposed at the pad.

Fra Mauro
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posted 05-16-2011 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Still hard to imagine an empty VAB, a quiet LCC and no launch pads down the crawlerway.

OV-105
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posted 05-16-2011 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is sad.

dogcrew5369
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posted 05-16-2011 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Still hard to imagine an empty VAB, a quiet LCC and no launch pads down the crawlerway.

"All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves."
Amelia Barr

OV-105
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posted 05-16-2011 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by capoetc:
Hmmm ... end of June ... I suppose once 39B is done they can start the deconstruction of 39A as well.
Let's wait till STS-135 flies first.

ASCAN1984
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posted 05-17-2011 12:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Still hard to imagine an empty VAB, a quiet LCC and no launch pads down the crawlerway.
Me too. Even after Apollo-Soyuz the pads fell silent, but they knew the shuttle was coming. Now it is a different story. There is nothing after Atlantis. Just makes you so angry. The hardware was there and it was just thrown away. Really annoyed about the way it has happened. The program deserves more and the people who dedicate themselves and give their all every day deserve more.

Fra Mauro
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posted 05-17-2011 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It says something about the U.S. The blame falls on the politicians, from both parties, and from we space enthusiasts, who don't put enough pressure on public officials. Imagine the morale at NASA, at least those who work in the manned spaceflight sections, or the astronauts who remain.

I saw Mike Massimino on TV the other night, they spoke to him during the Mets-Astros game. He was trying to sound optimistic about the future. Maybe there is a champion out there for NASA.

jr-transport
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posted 05-21-2011 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jr-transport   Click Here to Email jr-transport     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also e-mailed them to try and secure a piece of the tower also with no response.

Perhaps we could petition them to sell a section to a museum or even just to sell us a few small pieces.

ilbasso
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posted 05-21-2011 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The usually-cited reason that pieces of the tower are not sold to the public is that they have hazardous chemicals (PCBs etc.) and are not "safe."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-21-2011 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to NASA, the official reason why the pad parts are restricted from public disposition is the State Department has the gantries protected under ITAR.

GACspaceguy
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posted 05-21-2011 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ITAR??? I do ITAR training every year and I do not remember a hunk of steel being on the list. Sand blast the special ITAR paint off of it and let someone do a Lucite. I think someone is hiding behind some obscure regulation in order to not do something.

Fezman92
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posted 05-21-2011 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jr-transport:
Perhaps we could petition them to sell a section to a museum or even just to sell us a few small pieces.
I don't know how much a petition will do. We could try. It would be nice to see parts of the 39B pad for sale. I would buy a part of it. Considering they are selling some of the Unabomber's stuff...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-21-2011 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The time to petition — if there was a time to petition — was before the scrap contract was awarded; it's too late now. NASA isn't going to break its contract with LVI Services.

OV-105
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posted 05-21-2011 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder if they practiced with taking apart one of the Revell models.

ASCAN1984
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posted 06-09-2011 03:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The last images posted are too heartbreaking for words

Tykeanaut
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posted 06-09-2011 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They are dismantling part of my childhood!

tegwilym
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posted 06-09-2011 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hate those photos. Makes you wonder how long until something else stands on those pads?


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