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  Grumman's lunar module facilities (Bethpage)

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Author Topic:   Grumman's lunar module facilities (Bethpage)
hlbjr
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From: Delray Beach Florida USA
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posted 07-17-2007 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was wondering if the Grumman buildings in which the Lunar Modules were built still exist (I'm also assuming they were/are located in Bethpage)? I found it fascinating to see the North American Downey buildings in which the CSM's were built still exist but were up for sale or lease. I think they are sacred sites yet I know I'm in the minority.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 07-17-2007 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Harvey, our old North American Buildings here in Downey are starting to fade out also. We have already lost building 288 that was used for structural tests (Apollo and shuttle vertical shake tests) and the Little Joe (Mercury booster) assembly building are gone and more will be demolished in the next few years as Downey studios reshapes itself. The whole north end of the plant (laboratories) are now a shopping mall.

I look forward to hearing what happened to the Grumman buildings there at Bethpage, Long Island.

art540
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posted 07-17-2007 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for art540   Click Here to Email art540     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Atlas missile plant at Kearny Mesa San Diego has also gone the way of development.

Rizz
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posted 07-18-2007 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes the buildings are still there, although they are not doing any 'space related' work in them.

mikej
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posted 07-18-2007 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We were in the area last month, visiting the Cradle of Aviation, and had planned on driving by the Bethpage facility (which is something like 11 miles away from the Cradle). Unfortunately, a flat tire awaited us as we walked out of the museum, causing us to abort the drive-by.

I found a map of the Bethpage facility on page 2-2 (page 25 in the PDF) of Manufacturing plan for Project Apollo Lunar excursion module; there's a good deal of discussion of which parts of the LM were to be manufactured and assembled in the various buildings. Note that South Oyster Bay Road (in the upper left of the map) actually points north/south.

If you page through it some more, you'll also find individual building floor plans.

In addition to the buildings described on page 2-2 and the surrounding pages, I skimmed through the Tom Kelly book, looking for any other references to building numbers. I found out that Building 25 was used for engineering drawings and Building 4 hosted LM-1's acceptance review. Plant 30 housed the offices for LM Engineering. They built a new building in 1965, Plant 35, for additional engineer drawing space.

A building "across the street" from Plant 5 was used for Space/Craft Assembly and Test (S/CAT), although I never determined which building that was (I called the Northrop Grumman History Center a couple of days before I left on the vacation, but that wasn't enough time for them to get me the information).

I found a page on the Northrop Grumman web site which listed the Bethpage facility's address as "600 Grumman Road West", so a quick trip out to Google Maps yielded some imagery which was easy to cross-reference with the map.

Building 5 is the irregularly-shaped building near the upper left of the aerial photo (it looks like they've added on to it since the manufacturing map was drawn up), so that makes it pretty easy to get your bearings.

hlbjr
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posted 07-19-2007 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Mike and everyone else for your help. History was made in those buildings... a history unlike any other time or endeavour.

RocketmanRob
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posted 07-19-2007 07:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Lunar Module assembly buildings are still in existence, however, are currently abandoned. They have been up for sale for some time, but have not been sold.

Recently, (past several years) Nassau county build a new power generation facility very near to the site. A large part of the site has been sold and developed over the years making way to light industry, malls, homes, etc. Northrup Grumman still maintains a small presence at the site.

I've passed the site a few time over the years and have wondered what it must be like inside. One of the main roads passes fairly close to the assembly building so a can get a good sense of the size of these places.

There is a small marker close to the entrance to the current Grumman facility otherwise you would not have any reference to what went on there.

RocketmanRob
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posted 11-22-2007 12:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I took these photos in August of the Grumman facility:

Marker on the main approach road to the facility (just outside of the new - much smaller Grumman facility).

The main Grumman building with its distinctive ball with the Grumman logo on the roof. I do not believe this building was used for LM activities, however, you can see Plant 5 to the right (the brown building with blue doors) where the LM work was done.

The remaining photos are of Plant 5 where the LM work was done. According to "Images of America - Building Moonships The Grumman Lunar Module," this building contained the clean room where three LMs could be built at one time. The white facility behind it is where the ACE (Automatic Checkout Equipment) room was located. According to the book this is where LM testing was done. Comparing my photos to photos from the late 60's the building appears to have been significantly modified over time.

RocketmanRob
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posted 11-22-2007 12:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

As I mentioned on an earlier post, these buildings are currently up for sale. Several parts of the property surrounding the main buildings have been sold off and converted to small industry facilities (e.g., the old landing strip now features a Fed Ex facility, a small power generation facility for the county, and a popcorn manufacturing company.) It will be interesting to see if there is some way to preserve a bit of the history of what happened here when these facilities are sold off. Time will tell.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 11-22-2007 02:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, it is great that some of the LEM places still exist there as ours still do here in Downey - the Home of the CSMs.

It is sad that many of these will soon disappear as time marches on - see the epilogue in French's and Burgess's "In The Shadow of the Moon" to get a better perspective.

At least Long Island has a plaque at their site!

We will in 2009 have a new space education center here though!

RocketmanRob
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posted 12-01-2007 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those of you interested in the development and construction of the LM, I found this site very interesting with some great photos and diagrams.

manilajim
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posted 03-06-2009 06:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for manilajim   Click Here to Email manilajim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was out on Long Island last weekend and drove past the old Lunar Module assembly area of Grumman - Building 5. As it turns out, rather than a vacant parking lot it was jam packed with activity as Building 5 is now being used as a movie set. There inside, sets were being constructed for some film in early production.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 03-07-2009 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's interesting that both the Grumman and North American plants are now Movie studios. I guess now we could make those movies about the fake moon landings!

RocketmanRob
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posted 03-07-2009 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I hear, this is not a permanent transition to a movie studio/production facilities. Apparently this a one time occurance. Local rumor has it the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are somehow involved.

FFrench
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posted 07-20-2009 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found this elegiac article in today's New York Times an interesting read.

gac14
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posted 09-08-2010 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sometime ago, probably 2004 or around there, Northrop-Grumman announced they were going to remove the ball from the building. Everyone (retirees, the community) wasn't happy with that so they left it and added a new one to Plant 25.

From what I remember, Plant 25 was owned by the Navy and eventually was turned over to NG. That's the last building they occupied on that part of the property and houses E-2 offices.

RocketmanRob
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posted 09-09-2010 08:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RocketmanRob   Click Here to Email RocketmanRob     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting to note the ball is now painted red with "Grumman Studios." Last year a few cS'ers took a day trip out there and saw that the Angelina Jolie movie "Salt" was being filmed there. Rumor was it was an one off.

gac14
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From: West Babylon, NY, USA
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posted 09-10-2010 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The studio is open for whatever business that comes their way. Here's the website.

Hard to look at the photos of the empty building they have on the website.

For that Salt movie, there was a large structure built outside the building. Not sure what part of the movie it was for. They also had a few black SUVs, limos and an Army tank. Quite a lot went on there.

The local Bethpage historical society (the Central Park Historical Society, Bethpage's former name) had a tour of the studio & sets for some of its officers. They reported about it in their newsletter. Some of the interior scenes of the White House were made there.

Hopefully they get more business. It's better then the buildings being torn down.

MrSpace86
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posted 09-10-2010 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gac14:
Hard to look at the photos of the empty building they have on the website.

It would be fun to find pics of the lunar module being built inside the facility and compare them to the current "empty" photos they have (sort of like a side by side comparison).

ritad
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posted 09-22-2010 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ritad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thought members would enjoy seeing a 1965 Grumman Bethpage map, showing all the plants and areas in operation at the time. This was issued to my dad when Grumman hired him. Click on the pic below for a larger image:

Below is a Grumman map showing locations in Bethpage and Peconic (flip side of the above). I think the Peconic plant manufactured boats?

Thanks for the great photos on this thread!

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 09-22-2010 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a Lawn Guylander, and seeing the map, I think the Peconic River facility is actually (and better known as) Grumman's Calverton facility, where they made the F-14s.

Grumman also had a smaller building near Great River (I think that's what it's called), what is now Exit 46 or thereabouts on the Sunrise Highway (the so-called "squeeze," where the service and main roads become one, then spread out after intersecting with Montauk Highway.) I seem to remember first a Grumman sign, then a Northrop-Grumman sign. Not sure if it's still N-G or they sold the building.

What's really neat to a map geek like me is realizing that they had to take Route 25 out to Calverton. The Long Island Expressway - Route 495 - didn't get extended that far until 1972 or so....

Fezman92
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posted 09-22-2010 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be nice to see something more than a little sign that shows what happened at this place. I'm adding this place on my 'places to visit' list

Rizz
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posted 09-23-2010 12:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ritad:
Thanks for the great photos on this thread!

I'll second that! Great map too. I grew up right at the end of the Heckscher State Parkway.

I think its pretty cool that 40 years later people still have an interest in the Grumman Facility on Long Island.

gac14
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posted 09-24-2010 08:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting that 1965 map. I didn't realize it until after I looked at it, but my father also started there in 1965. He was at Republic Aviation from 1944 to 64 when they had that big layoff. At Grumman he went to the Syosset plant for some type of LEM support. Then to Bethpage plant 5, Garden City and retired from Great River.

The Great River plants were sold in the early-mid 90s. They're now part of a technology incubator type of enterprise.

gac14
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posted 09-24-2010 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I always heard Calverton referred to as Peconic from my father and other old timers there. When I started in 1983 it was Calverton, so at some point they changed the reference, probably since the hamlet of Peconic is located further east. Final assembly of the F-14 and E-2 as well as other aircraft took place there. They also did engine testing, flight tests, and had a paint shop and anechoic chamber.

After Grumman moved out one of the hangars was used to rebuild the TWA Flight 800 wreckage. There are various businesses there but the latest grand scheme is an indoor ski park. Also, the LIRR is currently rebuilding the spur that ran into there.

gac14
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posted 09-24-2010 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a link to some other photos from Bethpage and the maps.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 09-24-2010 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I still have family on Long Island. It's been a while, but last time I drove east on Route 25, they had an F-14 mounted on a pedestal there.

ritad
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posted 09-24-2010 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ritad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the added info, fellow former and present Lawn Guylanders! I grew up in Freeport during the 60s and 70s and left for Brooklyn in 1984. Dad also worked at Republic from about 1952-1964 before moving to Grumman. Loved seeing all the photos and later maps as it brought back some great memories. I haven't been in that area in many years, and now feel it's time for a field trip in the near future. I also remember the huge Bethpage Farmer's Market nearby in the late 60's-early 70's. It was a big Friday night must-do for my family.

My husband and I used to pass the Peconic facility during our many drives out East to Greenport on Route 25. After reading the above posts, I now recall that at the time it was called Calverton and I have a hazy memory of a plane outside.

Thanks again!

gac14
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posted 09-30-2010 07:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's now a small park at Calverton on Route 25. There's an F14 on a pedestal and an A6 on the ground, plus a guard shack and a memorial brick walkway. It's a nice place to take a stop at if anyone's out that way. BTW, there are now 3 F14s preserved on LI- this one, one in Bethpage & one at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

gac14
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posted 10-05-2010 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I forgot I had this link to the Grumman Amateur Radio Club website. It has photos, articles and a short video on the Blue Ball. Check out the video, it's good and shows the blue ball in use for the LEM program.

Apollo Redux
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posted 10-09-2010 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo Redux   Click Here to Email Apollo Redux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, such nondescript , but eminently historical buildings. Thank you for posting those pictures.

gac14
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posted 10-11-2010 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, you would never know what went on in those buildings over the years, just by looking at the outside. I had to go into Plant 5 once when I was working in Plant 14, back in the mid-80s. The last pair of Shuttle wings were being made and were in the large jigs holding them. Something you'd never know from the outside, like when the LEM was being made.

I happened to go in there a couple of weeks ago and the part of the building I was in was empty. The only thing inside was the overhead crane and some workers rebuilding the restrooms. No sign of movie studio activity in that part either.

gac14
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posted 10-20-2010 07:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just read in Newsday that the new Marvel Comics Avengers movie will be starting production in the Plant 5 studios next month. They'll be using the entire Grumman Studios until at least next spring.

hlbjr
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posted 11-28-2010 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I visited Bethpage and Farmingdale yesterday and was amazed at the lack of knowledge about the facilities located at each airport respectively. I asked a couple of the McDonald's employees (just across the street from Grumman LEM Plant 5 at Bethpage) if they knew anything about the history of those big buildings across the street. They did not so I told them. They were almost incredulous. They thought it was pretty cool and had no idea of the history made right across the street! It was fun "clueing them in".

gac14
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posted 12-06-2010 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gac14     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It sounds kind of funny what people know and don't know about local history or aerospace in general, especially if they never had a connection or interest in it. I was at Republic Airport a couple years ago for the annual Jones Beach airshow and a couple were wondering between themselves why the planes weren't blue. I asked what they were questioning, and they said they thought the Blue Angels had blue planes. I told them these weren't them, these were the Thunderbirds. They asked what they were. So I enlightened them. They seemed happy to have learned something new. Always good to share info with others.

ro1105
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posted 06-06-2012 05:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ro1105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I worked in plant 25 in mid 80s, and twice a day visited plant 5 — breakfast and lunch each day. It was a ritual of the old lunar and shuttle era engineers and test pilots to have two meals a day in plant 5 and walk past the back up lunar control rooms and clean rooms, with many 60's era swivel chairs preserved for history.

Seeing the current state of external buildings — it follows exactly what Grumman Aerospace decided around 1987 — that Boeing, MD and Northrop were beating us too often by having lower cost operations off LI — so Grumman divisions were relocated to Florida, Arizona, VA/MD/DC and other places far — just to find lower OPEX.

As far as I know, the last Space Systems Division employee remaining was B. Roberts who was ended his GAC career in the Dulles VA building — as part of our law suit against NASA with regards to ISS into the late-mid 90's.

BethpageGirl
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posted 02-27-2014 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BethpageGirl   Click Here to Email BethpageGirl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My husband works in what was formerly Grumman Building #16. It is now a US Postal facility. When he first started working there in 1990, Building #11 was still in use by Grumman, and a man who worked there told my husband that both buildings were used for part of the LEM project. What cool history!

Growing up in Bethpage in the 1960's, I clearly remember Tracer test flights (I used to think the radar was a swimming pool on top of the plane), and quite often, sonic booms. THAT WAS COOL!!!

Fra Mauro
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posted 02-28-2014 06:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I live near the plant and I would love just to walk around the place.

BethpageGirl
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posted 02-28-2014 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BethpageGirl   Click Here to Email BethpageGirl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Plant #11 still exists also. It is now the offices for Kozy Shack Pudding. I believe this housed the plaster operation, but I don't know what was done in Plant #16. Anyone know?

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