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  Toppling of Complex 40's launch tower

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Author Topic:   Toppling of Complex 40's launch tower
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-25-2008 11:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
45th Space Wing release
Launch tower at complex 40 to be toppled April 27

quote:
More than 6,500 tons of steel will crash to the surface at Space Launch Complex 40 on Sunday, April 27 when the old mobile service tower (MST) here is toppled as part of the ongoing project to demolish the historic site.

Just over 200 pounds of various types of high explosives and explosive-initiating materials placed at approximately 500 locations from the 1st through 9th levels will be detonated between 9 and 11 a.m. to knock the 265-foot-tall tower down.

Complex 40 was built for the Titan IIIC program and was operated from the program's first launch in 1965 until the last TITAN IV launch on 30 April 2005. It hosted a total of 55 historic missions over the years including the Mars Observer interplanetary mission in 1992, the Cassini mission to Saturn launched in 1997, six MILSTAR communications satellite, and numerous Defense Support Program payloads.

"For almost four decades, Complexes 40 and 41 were the backbone of the Air Force's heavy-lift capability at Cape Canaveral," said Mark Cleary, 45th Space Wing historian.

Previously considered the largest moving structure in the world, Complex 40's Mobile Service Tower was replaced in 1992 and included a state-of-the-art satellite processing facility for Department of Defense and National Reconnaissance Office payloads. It housed one of the largest class 100,000 clean room facilities in the industry and when rolling to the launch position, it moved at a stately pace of 40 feet per minute.

AMEC Earth and Environmental is managing the demolition of the SLC-40 MST under a base-wide demolition program following the end of the Atlas and Titan rocket programs.

"There is a significant amount of recyclable metals in the MST, and with the recycled values recovered from this demolition, the Air Force is able to fund this demolition and other demolitions as part of the Titan deactivation" said project officer Jonathan Vanho of the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron.

The explosives sequence, from the time of initiation, is expected to take approximately 6 seconds through impact of the structure to the north, away from the facility being renovated for use by Space X.


Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-27-2008 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The mobile service tower was toppled Sunday morning, as shown in this still from a NASA webcam:

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-27-2008 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photographs from today's toppling, courtesy Ben Cooper with Spaceflight Now.

Though Complex 40 has been in use since 1965, this particular mobile service tower was erected in 1992 to specifically support the Titan IV. Eighteen rockets were supported by the MST, including the launches of Mars Observer in 1992 (its only Titan III), the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn in 1997 and the final Titan IV to launch from Cape Canaveral in 2005.

music_space
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Posts: 1050
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 04-27-2008 09:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The sight of some tower collapsing on itself with a thick dust cloud at its base makes me ill at ease... I can't help thinking of the WTC towers...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-27-2008 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now: Old Titan launch pad gantry at Cape knocked down
quote:
The landscape of Cape Canaveral is changing, a fact illustrated Sunday when a Titan-era gantry was blasted to the ground to clear the historic Air Force launch pad for new commercial rockets.

With Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, a former astronaut and now commander of the 45th Space Wing at the spaceport, calling a ceremonial countdown, 200 pounds of explosives detonated at 9 a.m. to topple the Complex 40 mobile service tower.


Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-28-2008 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA TV aired video of the demolition, which was archived by space-multimedia.

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