Monday, September 19, 2011
LC-39B Renovation Completed
Click on the arrow to watch a time-elapsed film of LC-39B renovation. Video source: NASA.
CollectSPACE.com producer Robert Pearlman writes about the completion of service tower demoliton at Launch Complex 39-B.
Started in 2009 in support of NASA's now-canceled Constellation program and its Ares rockets, work to clear the towers was focused on converting 39B to a "clean pad," capable of launching different types of crewed and uncrewed boosters. The pad may now be leased by NASA to companies providing commercial rockets to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Or, together with its yet-to-be-cleaned twin pad 39A, Pad 39B could also be used to support NASA's recently revealed Space Launch System heavy-lift launch vehicle.
Future rockets launching from Pad 39B will arrive with their own mobile gantries, similar to how the pad got its start more than 40 years ago.
The flexibility of the "clean pad" concept was illustrated last week when two press conferences announced potential rockets to fly from LC-39B — the commercial ATK/Astrium Liberty and the government's Space Launch System.
An artist's concept of the Liberty launcher rolling out to LC-39B. Image source: ATK via Space.com.
An artist's concept of the Space Launch System on LC-39B. Image source: NASA.