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  Fates of space shuttle mobile launch platforms

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Author Topic:   Fates of space shuttle mobile launch platforms
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27674
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-20-2013 07:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Florida Today reports NASA is seeking uses for its three mobile launch platforms:
Commercial rocket launcher? Museum exhibit? Artificial reef?

All are potential uses for three historic mobile launch platforms from which NASA's moon rockets and space shuttles leapt toward space, but which now sit idle.

If those don't pan out, the two-story, 8.2 million-pound structures could be bound for the scrap heap.

...NASA hopes private companies will claim one or more of them as bases for commercial rocket launches, either borrowing the equipment as needed or buying it at auction. Potential costs were not disclosed.

Those proposals will get the greatest consideration, but the agency also is collecting information from companies that could demolish MLPs for recycling and disposal, like the shuttle service towers that were dismantled at pad 39B.

A third option invites "alternative and innovative solutions for divestment," uses that might not be space-related but could benefit the public.

Examples: a museum exhibit, artificial reef or oil rig structure.

Proposals are due by Sept. 6. Any modification or deconstruction plan will need to come before the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for consideration, as all three platforms are on the National Register for Historic Places.

(The platform built for Ares I is being modified for the Space Launch System.)

Jim Behling
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Posts: 579
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 08-20-2013 08:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the Request for Information.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 554
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 08-20-2013 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would be a pity if those were done away with and just cut up. Maybe they can put a museum exhibit (like rockets/missiles) on top of the MLP, no?

garyd2831
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Posts: 468
From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 08-20-2013 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, put a replica shuttle stack on one and a Saturn V replica on the other

dabolton
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Posts: 237
From: Round Lake, IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 08-21-2013 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can they even be delivered somewhere intact without the crawler moving them?

Ronpur
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Posts: 265
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 08-22-2013 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cut one up into tiny pieces and sell them to us!

cspg
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Posts: 4168
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 08-22-2013 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ronpur:
Cut one up into tiny pieces and sell them to us!

My thought exactly!

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 579
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 08-22-2013 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dabolton:
Can they even be delivered somewhere intact without the crawler moving them?

No, too large. And no place for them to go.

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 554
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 08-22-2013 03:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cut some into small pieces, put in acrylic, and sell at auction for the ASF .

cspg
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Posts: 4168
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 08-22-2013 03:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe J.L. could go on a covert mission to recover bits and pieces and sell them as acrylics.

Rob Joyner
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Posts: 1295
From: GA, USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 08-22-2013 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MLP drag races!

Ronpur
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Posts: 265
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 08-22-2013 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't want mine in acrylic, thanks. I want to feel the steel!

They are so big, I think there would be enough for everybody, if that were to happen.

I am surprised that none of Pad 39B was cut up and sold as souvenirs.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27674
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-22-2013 11:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ronpur:
I am surprised that none of Pad 39B was cut up and sold as souvenirs.
NASA's contract with the demolition and disposal company that deconstructed Pad 39B included a prohibition on parts being made available to the public, in part due to ITAR concerns (your guess is as good as mine) and in part due to the laws that require any available artifacts to be provided to educational organizations (which would have created an expense for the space agency).

Similar prohibitions are in place with most of NASA's other disposal and recycling agreements, regardless of what is being trucked away.

As such, I wouldn't get your hopes up for metal souvenirs from the mobile launch platforms (though it would be interesting if an organization responded to the RFI with the specific proposal of disposing of an MLP by distributing pieces, however economically infeasible that would be).

johntosullivan
Member

Posts: 134
From: Cork, Cork, Ireland
Registered: Oct 2005

posted 08-23-2013 05:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would these platforms not be useful for SLS?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27674
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-23-2013 06:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A new platform, built in 2010 for the Ares I rocket, is being readied to support the Space Launch System (SLS).

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2223
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 09-08-2013 12:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
A new platform, built in 2010 for the Ares I rocket, is being readied to support the Space Launch System (SLS).

Wasn't that particular pad made from elements of one of the MLPs that NASA transferred over to the Constellation program? I know the tower was all new, but I seem to recall some MLP elements were used in the base.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 579
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 09-08-2013 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That MLP is all new. You're using "pad" and "MLP" interchangeably but they aren't.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2223
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 09-09-2013 01:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, if my "pad" you mean the fixed area at 39A and B that the MLP sits on after being dropped off there by a crawler transport, you are correct in that it is different from how I used "pad" in my previous post. I guess I just wanted to save a few letters and not type out "platform".

My use of the term not all that different from the terms "shuttle" and "orbiter" being used interchangeably by some even though technically an "orbiter" is but one part of the whole "shuttle" system (which includes the ET and SRBs).

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27674
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-09-2013 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photos documenting the construction of the new mobile launch platform can be found here. Photos documenting its first rollout to the pad are here. And here is our discussion thread about the SLS mobile launcher.

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