Author Topic: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle  (Read 100598 times)

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Hey there everybody.

I did five years on B Pad working structural steel when it was being converted from an Apollo pad into a Shuttle pad.

I was in construction management, and had a camera permit, and took a lot of photos, many of which wound up in photo albums that have been squirreled away, all these many long years since the early 1980's.

Recently, my son advised me that the nice people who frequent this bulletin board might be interested in taking a look at things, as seen from the inside, as the structural elements of Launch Complex 39-B were erected.

I just took one of the pages from the photo album and placed in on the scanner and scanned it at 300dpi (the maximum resolution that my not-so-wonderful scanner will do), and it actually came out better than I expected it would. The resulting image (OMBUU arm lift) weighs in at a hefty 6megs and I'm going to try to upload it with this message. If it works, and anybody shows an interest, I can upload a lot more.

I've got an amazing amount of additional photos, including all of the swing-arm lifts and a lot of general shots of the pad from on the pad deck and up in the structure of the RSS, and it might be fun to share it with everybody. I've done a little poking around on the internet, and there does not seem to be anything else like these shots that is freely available.

In the top left photograph of the attached image, standing in front of the OMBUU Arm facing the camera, are Howard Baxter, Wade Ivey, and a guy who's name eludes me. I'll try to identify people in shots if possible, and if anybody else can help with identifying anybody in any of these scanned photographs, by all means do so.

So here goes, and if it works, and if you nice people like it, there shall be more to come.

Offline Sarah

  • Shuttle Hugger
  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 268
  • 5 out of 4 people have problems with fractions
  • Iowa
  • Liked: 5
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #1 on: 06/08/2011 03:43 PM »
Thank you for posting these. I would be interested in seeing the rest of them. This is a historic pad.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 03:47 PM by Sarah »
Photo Album
Launches: 51L, 133, 134, 135
Scrubs: 70
Landings: 135

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #2 on: 06/08/2011 03:46 PM »
> Thank you for posting these. I would be interested in seeing the rest of
> them. This is a historic pad.

Your wish is my command. Second image is on its way up.

I'll be at this, on and off, for some time to come, and welcome any input from anyone on anything to do with any of this.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #3 on: 06/08/2011 03:50 PM »
Ok, looks like the first post actually worked.

Tra la la.

And since we started out lifting the OMBUU, let's continue with that lift.

Offline kcrick

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 281
  • Connecticut
  • Liked: 12
  • Likes Given: 1611
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #4 on: 06/08/2011 03:52 PM »
Thank you for posting these. I would be interested in seeing the rest of them. This is a historic pad.

Nice photos !  Can't wait to see some more.
Kevin

Offline Jester

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6996
  • SpaceShip Earth
  • Liked: 3265
  • Likes Given: 116
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #5 on: 06/08/2011 03:54 PM »
by all means, please post more, great stuff !
thanks

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #6 on: 06/08/2011 04:09 PM »
OMBUU Arm lift, third and final page, from up on the RSS.

Top right photograph is Wade Ivey (owner of Ivey Steel) and Rink Chiles (Ivey Steel ironworker general foreman, both facing away from the camera) and a gentleman who's name eludes me who worked for Olson Electric.

It was really cool being able to wander around all over that tower with a camera, in case anybody was wondering what that might have been like.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #7 on: 06/08/2011 04:37 PM »
Ok, that's enough OMBUU. We're just going through the photo album, one sheet at a time, so things may or not be equally as interesting, and may or may not be quite chronologically just so, but in the interests of getting it all, I'm gonna get it all.

This shot includes an image of the Shuttle coming in for a landing (sorry, I cannot remember which mission, but perhaps my son might), as well as images of my son taken with the Pads in the background.

You can't really see it, but the orbiter is in the air, inbound to runway 33 to the right of the VAB in the top left photo. It's a shade below the roof height of the VAB. Find the white trashcan above the top corner of the windshield on the pickup truck, then notice the guy in the light-colored shirt who almost looks as if he's sitting on the trash can. Immediately left of him, farther away, is another person's head that more or less touches the light-shirt guy's head. Left of THAT guy's head, is a gap, before you encounter another head. The orbiter is directly above the center of that gap. Maybe I'll play around with this shot some day, to enhance it somehow. I dunno.

The steel platform my son is standing on in the lower right photo is the "Centaur Porch" and eventually wound up on the FSS where it was supposed to support the Centaur Rolling Beam Umbilical Assembly, or RBUS, (pronounced "arbus"), but the Challenger disaster put a stop to all Shuttle Centaur operations and the porch remained on the FSS, unused.

My son, by the way, was, is, and ever shall be, the light and the rudder of my life.

Just so you know.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #8 on: 06/08/2011 04:49 PM »
FSS Swingarm Strongback lift.

This strongback supported, if memory serves me well, which it may or may not, the latchback mechanism for the GOX arm.

Offline arkaska

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3041
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #9 on: 06/08/2011 05:03 PM »
Thanks for these historical photos and especially for the short stories accompanying them. I love that you give us some background to the photos.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #10 on: 06/08/2011 05:08 PM »
FSS Swingarm Strongback lift.

Ok, here's page two of three, detailing this lift.

Something that shows fairly well in this series is the scale of things out on the pad. In the previous image (FSS Swingarm Strongback Lift 1.jpg), the lower right photograph gives a good sense of the size of this strongback, as it looms over the ironworkers on the ground beneath it. Then, in the lower left photo of this image, that same strongback is now dwarfed by the Fixed Service Structure that it's about to be bolted on to.

Everything out on the Pad is cyclopean in size, and sometimes it's hard to grasp the true depth of that.

The Space Shuttle is often times compared to an airliner, but that doesn't really give a proper sense of its size. Walk around underneath it, while it's sitting on the MLP deck, and you immediately realize that the Space Shuttle is no airliner. It's a high-rise hotel. Or maybe an ocean liner. It's BIG.

And to think it suddenly spits a volcano of fire, and proceeds to lurch directly straight up and away from all of the massive service structure that it was prepared for flight upon ....... well ....... it beggars the imagination to believe such a thing could even be possible.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #11 on: 06/08/2011 05:29 PM »
FSS Swingarm Strongback Lift.

And now, having taken another look at my own pictures (duh, what a concept, eh?), I can see plainly that this strongback had nothing to do with the GOX Arm latchback, but was instead the support upon which the GOX Arm hinges were mounted. So it held up the whole GOX Arm.

Ok, glad we got that cleared up.

Some day I'll tell you a tale of $40,000.00 worth of bolts that we had to eat the cost on. Bolts that held the swing arms to the FSS. Aircraft bolts. Yikes! But not now. There's also a psychotic story involving the GOX Arm hinges, too. But again, not now.

These photos were taken from out on the end of the Hammerhead Crane, looking back toward the FSS.

Helluva view from out there on the end of that crane. Which was nowhere near as sturdy as it might appear in some photographs. You could feel it bounce up and down as you walked on it. Three hundred feet up, over the bottom of the Flame Trench. What fun!

These shots are all more or less self-explanatory, but the bottom right photo is interesting for two reasons:

Reason number one is that a close examination of the headache ball on that crane will cause you to realize that we really didn't have another inch to go on getting that strongback up any higher. We'd done used up all the stick that crane had to give. But it worked, and that's what matters, right?

Reason number two is just that it's a neato angle, looking down the barrel, two-hundred and fifty feet back down to the crane cab on the pad deck. I've always liked this shot.

And thanks for the nice words about these little stories that accompany the images. I'll keep 'em coming, ok?
« Last Edit: 06/08/2011 05:29 PM by 39B »

Offline psloss

  • Veteran armchair spectator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17255
  • Liked: 1676
  • Likes Given: 870
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #12 on: 06/08/2011 05:30 PM »
Thanks for these historical photos and especially for the short stories accompanying them. I love that you give us some background to the photos.
Agree -- really appreciate the photos and the background.  Thanks.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #13 on: 06/08/2011 05:34 PM »
Thanks for the encouragement, everyone.

I'm stopping for now.

Gotta go run errands in a town fifty miles away.

Not sure when I'll be back.

Again, thanks for the kind words, one and all.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Ok, that's enough OMBUU. We're just going through the photo album, one sheet at a time, so things may or not be equally as interesting, and may or may not be quite chronologically just so, but in the interests of getting it all, I'm gonna get it all.

This shot includes an image of the Shuttle coming in for a landing (sorry, I cannot remember which mission, but perhaps my son might), as well as images of my son taken with the Pads in the background.

You can't really see it, but the orbiter is in the air, inbound to runway 33 to the right of the VAB in the top left photo. It's a shade below the roof height of the VAB. Find the white trashcan above the top corner of the windshield on the pickup truck, then notice the guy in the light-colored shirt who almost looks as if he's sitting on the trash can. Immediately left of him, farther away, is another person's head that more or less touches the light-shirt guy's head. Left of THAT guy's head, is a gap, before you encounter another head. The orbiter is directly above the center of that gap. Maybe I'll play around with this shot some day, to enhance it somehow. I dunno.

The steel platform my son is standing on in the lower right photo is the "Centaur Porch" and eventually wound up on the FSS where it was supposed to support the Centaur Rolling Beam Umbilical Assembly, or RBUS, (pronounced "arbus"), but the Challenger disaster put a stop to all Shuttle Centaur operations and the porch remained on the FSS, unused.

My son, by the way, was, is, and ever shall be, the light and the rudder of my life.

Just so you know.

Wow, the photos are excellent, especially from a perspective I've never seen before! Thanks for posting!  :)

By the way, I think I nailed down the mission to STS-41-G (Oct. 1984). The only other pre-Challenger mission that landed on KSC Runway 33 was STS-51-D (Apr. 1985), but judging from the construction progress, it would have been a bit too late to account for pad B's first use a few months later.
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #15 on: 06/09/2011 02:38 AM »
Ok, this one is a hodgepodge.

Top left is a shot by Jack Petty of me standing on top of the Lightning Mast. Go here http://www.16streets.com/MacLaren/Misc/TechnoRedneck.htm to see enlargements of the shot that make me visible (sort of) along with a crazed (but one-hundred percent true down to the smallest detail) story of a near-fatal misadventure at Pad A.

Top right is a shot of John Foster (I hope I got that name right) and James Dixon, who were ironworkers at Ivey Steel. James is still with Ivey as far as I know. Just another day on the job.

Bottom left is unknown, grinding the iron, high above nothing at all, on the 135 level of the RSS, at the orbiter mold line cutout area. The funny-looking cutout corresponds to the orbiter's right OMS Pod, and behind our ironworker is the right orbiter side-seal panel extending vertically up and out of the photo. There was a screw-up with the design of that side-seal panel in that it was originally fabricated and installed as a hinged affair, complete with actuator and all the rest, to allow it to fold out of the way when the RSS was mated or demated with the vehicle. But since this whole area is forward of the RSS hinge column, as the RSS retreats from or approaches the vehicle, this panel is moving away and back, or in and forward, such that it can never interfere with the Shuttle. So they wound up welding it all up solid and it was a nice waste of time and money to do so.

Bottom right is Durwood G. (Gene) Lockamy, fooling around for the camera on the catwalk area that runs around behind the RSS at the 135 level. Gene was very low key, one of the nicest people you'd ever meet, and a hell of an ironworker, too. Behind him are girts supporting the insulated metal panels that make up the walls of the Payload Changeout Room. My first ever foray on to high steel, occurred several years prior to this shot being taken, on these same girts, but without any insulated metal paneling attached to them, somewhere around the 190 or maybe 195 foot level. It was scary as hell, but I swallowed hard and stepped out there and did my job. After a while, you more or less get used to it, and it's no big thing. But at first, it's a real attention-getter, and you give it every drop of attention you've got.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #16 on: 06/09/2011 02:55 AM »
Payload Cannister, first lift. Fit check, test of the 90 ton hoist, and just a general rehearsal of things, looking to see if there are any hidden problems or peculiarities. That vehicle that carries the Cannister out to the pad was a really weird critter, and had about a million wheels. Bottom right image is Jack Petty, who took my picture as I stood on the Lightning Mast, and who shared the deranged misadventure with me at A Pad. Jack was the tech rep for BRPH, who were the NASA-side architects and engineers that watched over the construction effort we were involved with on the pad. Jack was a rough tough ex-ironworker with a heart of gold. But don't tell him I said that, 'cause he'd hate it if you did.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #17 on: 06/09/2011 03:11 AM »
Cannister fit check. Fire.

Came down off of the FSS, and just as the elevator doors were opening, we heard a pop, and the doors opened to reveal that one of the electrical panels there on the pad deck at the foot of the tower had caught fire. So since I had a camera on me, I took some pictures of it.

Big excitement.

Shortly after the bottom right shot was taken, a security guy came up and demanded to see my camera permit.

Which I showed him.

And he seemed quite disappointed with that turn of events, and eventually departed to go scrutinize something else somewhere.

Ah well, such is life.

Also, in the bottom right photo, you can see that all the swing arms have been hung on the FSS. And the good old Centaur Porch is up there too, sticking out to the right up near the top of the Cannister.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2011 03:20 AM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #18 on: 06/09/2011 03:23 AM »
Top left: Myself on the left SRB Access Platform, up next to the RCS Room on top of the RSS. The view from up in this area is really nice. Bottom right: myself again, on the Pad Slope, with the Payload Cannister behind me. Top right: Dave Skinner as the PGHM Bridge Beam was worked into position inside the PCR. Bottom left: Steve Skinner (Dave's brother) on the pad deck.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2011 12:27 AM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #19 on: 06/09/2011 03:25 AM »
Ok, that's enough for now.

We'll do the PGHM Bridge Beam lift when I get back, ok?

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 700
  • Likes Given: 728
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #20 on: 06/09/2011 03:32 AM »
Ok, that's enough for now.

We'll do the PGHM Bridge Beam lift when I get back, ok?

Looks like you had good quality beams to work with.  Heard the stuff out of China for a Bridge in CA won't even weld.
 
 
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline arkaska

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3041
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0

Online Galactic Penguin SST

http://www.16streets.com/MacLaren/Misc/TechnoRedneck.htm

That story was hilarious!

A quick search revealed that the story involved Challenger being loaded with the payloads of STS-51-E in February 1985. The mission was canceled following problems with the TDRS, and she was rolled back to the VAB. The crew would eventually fly on STS-51-D.
The adventure must have been a unique pre-Challenger story: I can't imagine such a breach of protocols except for the "Golden Age of the Shuttle"! Maybe Ed could help on the pad works in those days. ;)
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline Mark Dave

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1101
  • Ruined
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #23 on: 06/09/2011 12:34 PM »
Those photos should go on a NASA history site as they are extremely rare. :)

Offline Sarah

  • Shuttle Hugger
  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 268
  • 5 out of 4 people have problems with fractions
  • Iowa
  • Liked: 5
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #24 on: 06/09/2011 05:09 PM »
Go here http://www.16streets.com/MacLaren/Misc/TechnoRedneck.htm to see enlargements of the shot that make me visible (sort of) along with a crazed (but one-hundred percent true down to the smallest detail) story of a near-fatal misadventure at Pad A.

I'm still laughing  :D Great story!
Photo Album
Launches: 51L, 133, 134, 135
Scrubs: 70
Landings: 135

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #25 on: 06/09/2011 08:34 PM »
Kindest thanks to all who have offered further input and information, and apologies for not properly acknowledging those most very excellent efforts, along with individual remarks and replies.

Below, I'll attempt to do what I can, before firing up the scanner and getting into the PGHM lift.


Galactic Penguin SST: I think I nailed down the mission to STS-41-G (Oct. 1984)

That would stand just about perfectly to reason. My son and I were out there to watch the landing when I took those shots.


arkaska: That story was hilarious!

Very glad you liked it.  Thanks for the kind words.


Galactic Penguin SST: A quick search revealed that the story involved Challenger being loaded with the payloads of STS-51-E in February 1985. The mission was canceled following problems with the TDRS, and she was rolled back to the VAB. The crew would eventually fly on STS-51-D

Yeah, that was the one. When they rolled that payload stack back to the O&C Building, or wherever they rolled it to, I had to wonder if the reason didn't have something to do with a couple of idiots contaminating it during an unauthorized access to the PCR. But nobody ever said another word about things to anybody that I know of, and the actual reason remains shrouded in mystery for me. Which is just as well, 'cause it's probably not in your best interests to become known as "The guy who broke the hundred-million dollar satellite."

That TDRSS never had a chance, unfortunately. A friend of mine who worked at Boeing back then said that particular piece of hardware was snakebit from the beginning, and had multiple non-trivial problems during it's brief life, and it wound up on the 51L flight, where it met its ultimate demise along with Seven Good People.


MarkD: Those photos should go on a NASA history site as they are extremely rare.

I've always thought this myself, and even as I was taking them, I was thinking about that angle, 'cause nobody else was EVER out there alongside of me taking photographs of anything. Interestingly enough, about fifteen or twenty years ago I contacted NASA (I think it was the Public Affairs Office, but I may be wrong here), and they went so far as to take possession of all the photo albums along with several boxes of photographs (many of which, now, are damaged, some irrecoverably) for review. They kept the trove for a couple of months, and then, with exacty zero by way of further explanation, requested that I come and reclaim them, as they had no use for any of it. So it's not like they didn't get a chance, or anything like that.


Sarah: I'm still laughing. Great story!

Yaaaaaaaaaaay! Thanks bunches.


Ok, now it's time to pull the scanner out from its hole and get back to work.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #26 on: 06/09/2011 08:57 PM »
PGHM Bridge Beam Lift, page 1

This was one of the most amazing things I ever saw during the whole time I worked out on the pad, and is a sterling example of Ironworker Cunning.

This bridge beam is BIG, and it barely fits into the PCR, and if that's not enough, it sits up on a set of support rails up into the very top of the PCR. And yet, using a plain vanilla Manitowoc crane, the crew with Ivey Steel successfully worked that monstrosity into place, up there just beneath the PCR ceiling. Took 'em all day long, and at one point well after dark had fallen, and the thing was all kinds of twisted and shoved up in there with come-alongs tied to it from every direction and curse words befogging the air, Wade Ivey sent me to the Kentucky Fried Chicken for eats and when I got back we all stopped and took a well-deserved break. They were still going at it hammer and tongs when I departed (I was management and was as useless as tits on a boar hog for the purposes of physically helping with the work), but when I arrived at the pad bright and early the next morning, damned if the thing wasn't right where it belonged! I dimly recall someone saying it took 'em till two or three in the morning, but that may be a bad recollection.

Truly an amazing accomplishment!
« Last Edit: 06/09/2011 09:00 PM by 39B »

Offline Mark Dave

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1101
  • Ruined
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #27 on: 06/09/2011 09:05 PM »
That's odd. Why did they do that? They take your photos for a while, then give them back with no explanation  to why. 


Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #28 on: 06/09/2011 09:12 PM »
PGHM Bridge Beam Lift, page 2

Ok then, on this page you can see how they’re going about it. Lift it up, get it in the PCR Doors opening, and then just kind of suck it on up in there at an angle. Imagine somehow getting your automobile into the hall closet, without so much as scratching the car or any portion of the entire house, and you’ve kind of got an idea of what was involved here. Except, of course, the floor of your house isn’t suspended eighty feet in the air, and your automobile isn’t fifty feet long and doesn’t weigh twenty tons, or whatever the PGHM bridge beam actually weighed.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2011 12:34 AM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #29 on: 06/09/2011 09:27 PM »
PGHM Bridge Beam Lift, page 3

This is the point at which you should be stopping and considering the skill of not just the ironworkers, but also the crane operator. He’s got the boom of his crane up into a confined space with almost zero clearance to work, cannot see his load, and yet somehow is managing to articulate things that weigh more than your house with the skill and finesse of a surgeon.

Amazing!

And the ironworkers are trusting this man with their lives at every moment. One misstep, and the results would be catastrophic. (Someday I’ll tell you about what happened when we cut the UES door loose from its hinges on Complex 41, but not today)

I cannot say enough about the skill, the integrity, the intelligence, and the commitment of the people in these pictures. If you weren’t around to witness it in person, it’s impossible to appreciate, or even imagine, what went down out on the Pad.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #30 on: 06/09/2011 09:40 PM »
PGHM Bridge Beam Lift, page 4

In the top left photo, an ironworker is about to hop across and get onto the bridge beam. That’s a pretty fair gap between him and the bridge beam, and the bottom of that gap is cold iron, two or three stories down.

Ho hum, just another day on the job.

Wade Ivey hovered around the entire time. He started out as an ironworker, and knew just exactly what was what. He’s dressed in a dark blue jacket with white and red at the base of the sleeves.

By the bottom left photo, the bridge beam had begun to come around, into place up just under the ceiling of the PCR. By now it was nighttime, and the interior lights were on. I’m not sure, but I think this shot was taken after I came back with the chicken that Wade had bought for everyone.

In the bottom right photo, it’s getting close to where it belongs. One of the last shots I took before I departed for the day.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #31 on: 06/09/2011 09:57 PM »
Odds & Ends

Top left is the back of the towers, taken from pad deck level behind the RSS. Look closely and you'll see an ironworker gazing back down at you, and another waving to you. You may also notice little squares of wood, sticking out from the steel here and there. These are "floats" and are sheets of plywood about four or five feet square, stiffened with 2x4's, tied to the structure with heavy rope, wherever there's work to be done. Step off on to one, and it will move underneath you. Look over the side, and it's a sheer drop of a hundred feet or more. Totally exposed to the wind and cold. If you work in a cubicle, or perhaps somewhere else, and do not like the environment, maybe take a shot at working someplace where they tie floats to the steel and see if you like that better.

Top right is Jack Petty.

Bottom left is Wade Ivey’s daughter, Tammy, goofing around in the parking lot by our field trailer, with the towers behind her.

Bottom right is the button panel inside the FSS elevator.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #32 on: 06/09/2011 10:09 PM »


Odds & Ends

Top left is Jack Petty on the pad deck with the RSS behind him.

Top right is Harvey Dixon, Wade Ivey’s right-hand man, in the Ivey field trailer out at the pad.

Bottom left is my son contemplating an armadillo out at the Air Force Space Museum on Cape Canaveral.

Bottom right is my son sitting on the Mercury 7 Memorial next to the entranceway to the Mercury Atlas pad (Pad 14) on Cape Canaveral. (This sort of thing is not recommended, but he was a little kid, loved all things spaceish, and what kind of a father would I have been if I'd denied him the opportunity?)

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #33 on: 06/09/2011 10:22 PM »
Intertank Access Arm Lift page 1

The IAA is also known as the Gaseous Hydrogen Vent Arm, and supports what’s known as the “Elephant’s Trunk” which connects to the External Tank, and carries off vented hydrogen that accumulates in the area between the LOX and LH2 tanks inside the External Tank. At launch, the Elephant’s Trunk is blown loose and flops down and away from the Shuttle as it takes off.

This thing always seemed overdesigned to me. It’s a monster, and there seems to be way too much of it for just handling the Elephant’s Trunk. It’s also unnervingly close to the orbiter’s left wing as the vehicle comes up off of the pad, and I’ve heard scary stories about the tip of that left wing coming alarmingly close to the steel structure of the IAA, especially on launch days when the breeze is out of the southeast, pushing the orbiter directly toward the damn thing. But they never hit it, so I guess that’s ok then, right?

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #34 on: 06/09/2011 10:44 PM »
Intertank Access Arm Lift page 2

All self-explanitory.

The bottom right shot gives a nice view of the Flame Deflector and the south end of the Flame Trench, with cars, trucks, and trailers to give it a bit of scale.

You may also note the curving railway that supports the weight of the RSS as it’s rotated into and away from the mate position, supported by a large column that sits in the middle of the south side of the Flame Trench.

I’ve skateboarded on the glass-slick surface of the firebricks (burned that way by Saturn V’s and Saturn 1-B’s) that line the bottom of the Flame Trench that slopes down toward the toe of the Flame Deflector, and that stupid support column always gets in the way, no matter how you try to cut back and avoid it as you switchback down the steep slope. And if you successfully dodge the support column, well then you’re going too fast, and you will crash directly in to the more or less waist-high toe of the Flame Deflector before you can get yourself stopped in time.

So skateboarding in the Flame Trench isn’t really recommended, ok?

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #35 on: 06/09/2011 10:54 PM »
Intertank Access Arm Lift page 3

Fastening the IAA to the FSS.

Me and Steve Parker, who went on to do well in the Ironworker’s Union International, if I was told arightly.

The Orbiter Access Arm, getting prepped down in the bottom of the north side of the Flame Trench.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #36 on: 06/09/2011 11:04 PM »
Orbiter Access Arm Lift 1

This is the swing arm that the crew walks across from the main structure to enter the Shuttle, and is the last thing that remains attached to the Earth which they will touch, until mission’s end. When you walk around on it, and think about that, it can give you a weird feeling.

Online DaveS

  • Shuttle program observer
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7865
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 383
  • Likes Given: 14
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #37 on: 06/09/2011 11:12 PM »
Very nice photos 39B! Thanks for the history link as well! Maybe I missed it, but did you ever find out what that SCAPE tech was doing is the PCR?
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #38 on: 06/09/2011 11:23 PM »
Orbiter Access Arm Lift 2

And up it goes.

In the olden days, if you wanted a panorama, you had to carefully assemble photographic prints together in order to make one.

Which is what I did.

Kind of gives a good look at the labyrinth of steel beams and columns that make up the RSS & FSS.

Every last bit of it is there for a reason, had to be designed for its job, fabricated, shipped to the job site, inspected, lifted into place, fastened to the growing structure by ironworkers, and inspected again. And it all had to be kept track of, on its own, and as an integral part of the overall assembly. My job was to keep track, inspect, write paper when things did not go as planned, and generally ride herd on things in a sufficiently organized manner that would permit other agents and agencies to also keep track and ride herd on things. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes it was excruciatingly tedious, and sometimes is was extraordinarily frightening (after they lost Challenger, which was the very first Shuttle flight off of Pad 39-B, nobody knew anything for weeks and weeks, and the very real possibility that a piece of our launch pad had come loose and hit it on the way up was everpresent in the back of my mind).

It was nice while it lasted, but I’d never do it again for all the money in the world.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #39 on: 06/09/2011 11:39 PM »
Orbiter Access Arm Lift 3

Fastening the OAA to the FSS using outrageously expensive aircraft bolts that cost us a bundle, and did not make a lick of sense, as the structure upon which the OAA was fastened to, was itself assembled with plain old garden-variety A-325 high-strength structural bolts, and they seemed to be holding all of the rest of the tower together just fine without any help from the aircraft industry. Some of those bolts (just the bolt, not the nut or washer) cost upwards of a hundred bucks apiece(!) and this was back in the 80’s when a hundred bucks was actually worth a little something.

Oh well.

Top left photo is Wade Ivey (white hard-hat facing camera) and his son Kevin (brown hard-had facing camera) on the OAA Lower Hinge Access Platform. I’m not sure about Wade, but I think Kevin is still running Ivey Construction.

These are the guys who build the launch pads, in case you were wondering.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #40 on: 06/09/2011 11:47 PM »
Steely-eyed missle men, hanging out on the GOX Arm Beanie Cap at Pad 39-A.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2011 12:44 PM by 39B »

Offline Rocket Science

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8617
  • NASA Educator Astronaut Candidate Applicant 2002
  • Liked: 2666
  • Likes Given: 6855
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #41 on: 06/09/2011 11:53 PM »
These are wonderful, thank you for sharing them.:)
Robert
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #42 on: 06/10/2011 12:05 AM »
MarkD: That's odd. Why did they do that? They take your photos for a while, then give them back with no explanation  to why.

It's a giant bureaucracy. A huge tentacular machine, staffed by swarms of anonymous humans, not all of whom share in having a well-developed sense of history or vision. I would presume that some functionary or other looked things over, could not see a proper use for any of it as regards his or her own vision (or lack thereof) of how much effort should be put into documentation, and summoned an underling to notify me to come and get my pile of junk. Or maybe my stuff wasn't "official" enough, and not to be trusted because it didn't go through proper channels. Or maybe they were busy that week and didn't even look at it at all. Who can know?


DaveS: Very nice photos 39B! Thanks for the history link as well! Maybe I missed it, but did you ever find out what that SCAPE tech was doing is the PCR?

Glad you like the shots. They're different, that's for sure.

According to the Incident Report that's framed and hanging on the wall behind me, they were working on a hydrazine system in SCAPE, when a burst disk in a pressurized nitrogen line failed. I would suppose that rather than going to all the time and trouble of getting out of SCAPE (it's a big contrapted deal) fixing the burst disk, and then getting back into SCAPE (another big contrapted deal), they just decided to tell the tech who was there in SCAPE to stay in SCAPE and fix the damn thing while everybody else went down to the PTCR or somewhere to have a smoke or something. Or at least that's what it says on the paper. What do I know for certain? Nothing. Not one damn thing.


Ok peoples, I've about had it for the day with this stuff. Gonna knock off work until the mood strikes once again.

Thanks again for the interest, encouragement, and kind words.

Offline kcrick

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 281
  • Connecticut
  • Liked: 12
  • Likes Given: 1611
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #43 on: 06/10/2011 01:24 AM »

Really like the photos and the stories !

Very interesting...
Kevin

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 700
  • Likes Given: 728
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #44 on: 06/10/2011 01:42 AM »
39B do you still have the negatives on these photos?
 
The pics are great and might be even better.  You can get the negs scanned and make some great pics on your printer.
 
Do you have any other cape work pics?
 
 
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Mark Dave

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1101
  • Ruined
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #45 on: 06/10/2011 01:50 AM »
I still think these photos should  be put somewhere with the rest of the LC-39 images. Capcomespace.net has a lot of the LC construction photos, the official NASA photos seen on all their sites. Your stuff could help add more to that site. :) Like I said as rare as your photos are, they deserve to be placed in the history books of spaceflight.

Odd that seeing the OAA of LC-39B on the ground level as not long ago it was back in that same spot as the complex was being dismantled.  It and the Lox vent arm will go to the shuttle exhibit at KSC.  your photos should get put there.  Turned into big posters for people to see  it being assembled. "This is the access arm being hoisted  during LC-39 B construction." I also think that perhaps a wreath  should go next to the arm as Challenger did launch from 39B on her fatal 51L mission.  To think, Challenger's crew touched those rails on this arm on that day. It really makes you think.

These photos also gave me ideas for building my own 1/72 scale LC-39 for my shuttle kit. Revell/monogram recently re-released their famous 1/72 scale space shuttle ET/SRB kit. This kit is worth getting too. :)

Do you have more photos of the LoX vent arm and beanie cap?

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #46 on: 06/11/2011 07:21 PM »
Prober: 39B do you still have the negatives on these photos? The pics are great and might be even better.  You can get the negs scanned and make some great pics on your printer.

Yes, I have the negatives, but the last time I looked at 'em, it broke my heart to see that they have not aged very well. Many of them look to be irretrievably damaged. I may look into getting them scanned one day, but it will take an equipment upgrade, and for the time being that's not going to happen on my very limited budget.


MarkD: I still think these photos should  be put somewhere with the rest of the LC-39 images. Capcomespace.net has a lot of the LC construction photos, the official NASA photos seen on all their sites. Your stuff could help add more to that site.  Like I said as rare as your photos are, they deserve to be placed in the history books of spaceflight.

They're now on the internet, and are at the mercy of whoever encounters them. It would be nice to be given credit, should anyone choose to use them, but I'm not about money, and I'm not about exclusionary actions. If any legitimate party was to want to come by and take physical possession of the shots for the purposes of reclaiming and enhancing these images, I would welcome them to it, under the proviso that I get my shots back. Upon my demise they become the possession of my son, so it's not like I'm going to be giving them away on a permanent basis or anything like that.

Odd that seeing the OAA of LC-39B on the ground level as not long ago it was back in that same spot as the complex was being dismantled.  It and the Lox vent arm will go to the shuttle exhibit at KSC.  your photos should get put there.  Turned into big posters for people to see  it being assembled. "This is the access arm being hoisted  during LC-39 B construction."

Whosoever would contract such an undertaking is welcome to do so. My blessings are hereby given.


Ok, now let us get back to work with the scanner, shall we?

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #47 on: 06/11/2011 07:41 PM »
Challenger on B Pad

Bittersweet.

These shots were taken, if I recall correctly, in the week between Christmas and New Year's, very late 1985.

This was the first Shuttle launch off of our brand-new tower.

All work had more or less come to a stop for the holidays, and it was cold this week. There were large masses of ice on the tower, here and there, and up in the air, exposed to the strong northwest wind, you could really feel the cold cut right into you. They say Florida is warm, but that's not always the case, and an examination of record low temperatures during December, January, and February will show that every once in a while it gets pretty cold.

I had the entire tower to myself. Not a single other soul around.

Top left is from just beneath the RCS room, looking at the left side of the orbiter, right where the body first begins to taper down to the nose.

Top right is from the decking between the Hoist Equipment Room and the RCS room, looking north toward the top of the right SRB, which is the one that got them.

Bottom left is from the vicinity of the OMBUU arm, looking at the root of the right wing of the orbiter. (And why they called the OMBUU arm, an arm, I never really could figure, as it was more or less just part of the general structure of the RSS.)
« Last Edit: 06/11/2011 09:13 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #48 on: 06/11/2011 07:56 PM »
Challenger on B Pad

The top photograph is taken from the FSS, showing the left SRB.

Bottom photograph is from the RSS, in the area of the accessway to what was called the PBK & Contingency Platforms, if fallible memory serves me well, showing the top of the right wing.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #49 on: 06/11/2011 08:07 PM »
After Challenger.

I probably shouldn't even be putting this one up on the internet, but oh well.

All these years later it still breaks my heart to think about it, and writing these words is not easy.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #50 on: 06/11/2011 08:41 PM »
Mixed images.

Top left is the rollout to Pad A of STS-2. (Note the white external tank)

Top right is the same, from inside the RCS room on top of the RSS.

Bottom left is a view of the towers from our field trailer. Note how spare and bare things look. A lot got added on to both towers after this shot was taken.

Bottom right is looking down into the structural skeleton of the RSS.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2011 08:42 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #51 on: 06/11/2011 08:50 PM »
Mixed Images.

Top left has an FSS that it still red.

Top right is looking at the shadow of the towers, cast all the way to the LOX tank.

Bottom left is the Flame Trench with Side Flame Deflector and Sound Suppression Water Spray Headers, North Piping Bridge, and cabling crossover platforms on the Hinge Column of the RSS.

Bottom right is looking along the length of the boom of the Hammerhead Crane, out toward the ocean.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #52 on: 06/11/2011 09:01 PM »
RCS Room, interior looking out, from below. The nose of the orbiter fits snugly into these platform cutouts, and when mated, when you're on the platform just beneath the RCS Room which supports the bottom end of the Rolling Ladder, there’s really not a whole lot of room to maneuver around up in there, and you’ve really got to be careful to avoid contacting TPS tiles. The two very sturdy-looking shackles are what suspends the Payload Canister when it’s hung up in the mated position with the PCR and they’re extracting (or, once in a while) inserting payload hardware from it or into it. The funny-looking ladder rolls around suspended on top by a curved monorail (which was lots of fun to fabricate and install, owing to the weirdness of the curve and the tightness of the tolerances for that curve), and is what's used to access the orbiter's cockpit windows.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 05:34 PM by 39B »

Offline Sarah

  • Shuttle Hugger
  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 268
  • 5 out of 4 people have problems with fractions
  • Iowa
  • Liked: 5
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #53 on: 06/11/2011 09:15 PM »
After Challenger.

I probably shouldn't even be putting this one up on the internet, but oh well.

All these years later it still breaks my heart to think about it, and writing these words is not easy.

I feel the same way. This was my first launch in 2nd grade. It took me a long time to go back to see another one. Thanks again for sharing these.
Photo Album
Launches: 51L, 133, 134, 135
Scrubs: 70
Landings: 135

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #54 on: 06/11/2011 09:18 PM »
Panorama shot of the FSS & RSS taken from the end of the boom on the Hammerhead Crane. Look close, and you can see a guy against the handrail on the FSS, contemplating the drop beneath him.

Stairs of Doom To Nowhere. This shot was taken from the right-hand stairway, below the 112 level of the RSS, looking back toward the RSS Hinge Column and the foot of the FSS. These stairways go all the way down to the 100 elevation. Only problem being, is that beneath the bottom riser, it’s just air between you and the concrete down there. When the RSS is in the demate position, you stay the hell away from these stairs (even though they do have gates that have to be opened at their tops and their bottoms) and if there’s no MLP parked over the flame trench, you do the same when the RSS is in the mate position. But when the MLP is there, you just step off onto it as if you were stepping onto your living room floor after coming down the stairs from your bedroom. This sort of thing can be alarmingly disorienting every once in a while, and you have to mind where you’re at. Something as enormous as the RSS just does not register in the human brain as being as mobile as it is. You just assume anything that big and solid will remain wherever it is that you’re used to it being. But it doesn’t. Once in a while, it’s somewhere else, and things are different, and you’d best mind your step. Distractedly walking around with a clipboard in one hand, and an F-sized drawing flapping around in the other, considering how you’re going to get out of the hundred-thousand dollar hole you’re in, only serves to make things worse, and once in a great while you’ll catch yourself, whistle under your breath, and hope nobody saw you, and then get back where you belong.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #55 on: 06/11/2011 09:24 PM »
Sarah: Thanks again for sharing these.

That is sweet, Sarah, thank you for those words. I wonder if I'm doing the right thing sometimes, and this is what tells me I am, and tells me to keep going.

Again, thanks.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #56 on: 06/11/2011 09:34 PM »
Top left: Monorail beam and doors, just under the RCS Room floor. There’s a story with this thing, and basically it was a whole lot of trouble and effort to fabricate and install this stuff, all jammed up underneath here, with a pair of doors that opened inward and had an unpleasantly weird fit, and right after we’d gotten it all in there, nice and pretty, they decided they didn’t want the damn thing anymore, had us weld those doors shut, and that was that. Ah well.

And by the way, as you're shinnying along against the unyielding steel of those doors, with the loose floppy handrail safety chains brushing against you on the other side, it's a sheer drop to the pad deck. So you don't really want to be looking down as you work your way along this too-narrow bit of platform decking. The first time I ever set foot on a float was right here, several years before this photo was taken, going down about six feet of roped-up ladder which was resting on the float at its bottom end, beneath the too-narrow platform you see in this picture. The whole rig, ladder, float, and all, swayed alarmingly when you touched it, and swayed even more alarmingly when you put your full weight on it. But I went, and I did, and I survived, so I guess it's ok, right? Survive, I may have, but forget, I will not.

Top right: RCS Room interior platforms. Technically, this thing should have been called the FRCS Room, because it provided access to service the FORWARD RCS Thrusters, and there was a pair of ARCS platforms down on the bottom of the RSS to service the AFT RCS Thrusters, but for whatever reason, the RCS Room was the RCS Room and not the FRCS Room. Nobody ever got the two places mixed up that I ever heard of, so I suppose all’s well that ends well, right?

Bottom left: Looking up toward yellow sheave block of the Hammerhead Crane. Lots of platforms and framing all over the place, including the curiously-shaped Crossover Platforms that surrounded the Hinge Column at various elevations.

Bottom right: Left OMS Pod cutout at the 135 level, with the left-hand PBK & Contingency Platform silhouetted against the sky to its immediate right.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 05:16 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #57 on: 06/11/2011 10:02 PM »
Top left: VAB in the distance, as seen from the top of the RSS, between the back of the RCS Room and the front of the Hoist Equipment Room.

Top right: The field trailers for all the construction firms that were working the pad. If you look close, you can see my boss’s car, parked in the parking lot. It’s a white four-door with a black top, right in front of a shorter trailer that has a darker roof. I worked in the trailer when I wasn’t hanging by my tail from high steel up on the towers. And my boss, by the way, was one of the best human beings I’ve ever met in my entire life. I cannot express my thanks to him for all he did for me when I was working out there. Thanks, RW, thanks for every last bit of it.

Bottom left: Pad A in the distance, as seen from inside the Payload Changeout Room, with the top level of the PCR Extensible Planks fully extended on either side, butted together, filling the gap. The KU Band Antenna Access Platform support haunch that’s mentioned in my psychotic misadventure story referenced previously, lived directly beneath the right-hand set of these extensible planks, up under this top platform level. As you might be able to see, the planks come out at an angle and do not butt together squarely. And it was this angle that got us. The drawing showed the extensible planks, and their support framing, as being without that angle. It’s quite amazing what can ensue from such microscopically trivial first causes.

Bottom right: Looking down at the pad deck through the OMS Pod cutout on the RSS.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2011 10:11 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #58 on: 06/11/2011 10:23 PM »
Top: VAB and last LUT with Milk Stool, seen through the Stair Tower and Primary Structural Framing of the RSS.

Center: More Stairs of Doom.

Bottom: Flame Trench and Flame Deflector. The Flame Deflector, by the way, was coated in a sort of refractory gunite called Fondue Fyre. What a perfectly wonderful name! I’ve always love it just because it sounds so weird.

Also, down under that Flame Deflector is a whole weird and wonderful dark world. The interior of the pad is not solid all the way through. There are catacombs down there, complete with growing stalactites up in dim corners, the occasional cornered raccoon, or who knows what else, spooky, echoey, creepy dim halls and mystery rooms, and in the middle of it all, around a perfectly nondescript corner, there’s a little door, that you can stoop through, and come out up inside of the Flame Deflector. I always loved spelunking in the catacombs, and did so at every opportunity.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2011 11:58 PM by 39B »

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 700
  • Likes Given: 728
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #59 on: 06/12/2011 04:05 PM »
Prober: 39B do you still have the negatives on these photos? The pics are great and might be even better.  You can get the negs scanned and make some great pics on your printer.

Yes, I have the negatives, but the last time I looked at 'em, it broke my heart to see that they have not aged very well. Many of them look to be irretrievably damaged. I may look into getting them scanned one day, but it will take an equipment upgrade, and for the time being that's not going to happen on my very limited budget.



You might be surprised how cheap you can do this now.  Years ago it would be in the thousands of dollars for a decent digital conversion system. Now dirt cheap.  Two ways to do it. First off we are talking about around 2400 dpi transfers. Once you get it digital some of even the free software that comes with the scanner, can help you clean up any issues.

Epson makes scanners that transfer from paper or the lid becomes a backlight film scanner. The other type does film, negs only.  If youdo the research you can buy dirt cheap on ebay. 

Wish you all the best.

2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Downix

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7087
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #60 on: 06/12/2011 04:26 PM »
Prober: 39B do you still have the negatives on these photos? The pics are great and might be even better.  You can get the negs scanned and make some great pics on your printer.

Yes, I have the negatives, but the last time I looked at 'em, it broke my heart to see that they have not aged very well. Many of them look to be irretrievably damaged. I may look into getting them scanned one day, but it will take an equipment upgrade, and for the time being that's not going to happen on my very limited budget.
I have a negative scanner and the tools for repairing damaged negatives, holdovers from my younger days in filmmaking.  If you need any help, let me know.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #61 on: 06/12/2011 09:47 PM »
Prober: You might be surprised how cheap you can do this now ...... Wish you all the best.

Thanks for the kind thoughts.


Downix: I have a negative scanner and the tools for repairing damaged negatives, holdovers from my younger days in filmmaking.  If you need any help, let me know.

This is an astounding offer, and I do not quite know how to reply. Just so you know, I'm living on Merritt Island, none too far from where these photographs were taken. I'm sure I could use help, but I do not know exactly how to go about things. A part of me does not even believe that I actually own these shots. From the beginning, they've sort of just been using me as a conduit to get themselves taken, and then follow an unknown road to somewhere else, wherever that may be. My son shall be their ultimate steward, but how the road may twist and turn to that point I cannot know. A thousand and one thanks, no matter how it shakes out.


Ok, after a morning of surfing in surprisingly nice waves (especially for around here in the month of June), and an afternoon of computer repair with a very happy customer taking possession of a newly revitalized machine, it's time to get back on the scanner. So here I go.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 09:49 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #62 on: 06/12/2011 09:58 PM »
Top: STS-2 rolled out and sitting on Pad 39-A

Middle: RCS Room and RSS below, skeletal framing. These are shots I took before I worked at Ivey Steel, when I was working for Sheffield Steel, who was the supplier for the primary structural elements for the RSS. A look at the pad deck reveals a lot of steel in the “shake out” area. Trucks would come down from Palatka (which is where Sheffield’s fab shop was) with 25,000 pound loads of all kinds of stuff, and it would be deposited in the shake out area. Part of my job was to take a list of each delivery, and then physically go and locate each piece, and then scratch through it on the list to indicate it was actually delivered. Then I would return to the field trailer, and go find the same pieces on the bill of materials on each of the detail drawings, and highlight them with a yellow highlighter to indicate the same thing. Then, after each of these pieces was lifted into place and attached to the growing structure, I’d go up on the iron, verify that the pieces were in fact installed, and then go back down to the field trailer with yet another list and then highlight the piece on the erection drawings to indicate that it was up and in place. Now, please go back through these photos and take another look at the welter of beams, columns, diagonals, braces, platforms, handrails, and all the rest of it, and you’ll get an idea of how much work was involved.

Bottom: My desk in the Sheffield Steel field trailer. This was in the days before there were any pagers or answering machines, and I was originally hired to just sit there like a sack of potatoes and answer the phone whenever my boss, Richard Walls, was out of the trailer.

Sum and total, that was my entire job.

But RW saw that I was interested, and began to hand me things to do, and in a surprisingly short time, with exactly zero by way of previous training for anything even remotely resembling this kind of work, we discovered that I had an innate aptitude for reading structural steel blueprints, and a lot of other stuff, too. And before too long, I was doing things I'd never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd be doing.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 10:08 PM by 39B »

Offline Downix

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7087
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #63 on: 06/12/2011 10:04 PM »
Prober: You might be surprised how cheap you can do this now ...... Wish you all the best.

Thanks for the kind thoughts.


Downix: I have a negative scanner and the tools for repairing damaged negatives, holdovers from my younger days in filmmaking.  If you need any help, let me know.

This is an astounding offer, and I do not quite know how to reply. Just so you know, I'm living on Merritt Island, none too far from where these photographs were taken. I'm sure I could use help, but I do not know exactly how to go about things. A part of me does not even believe that I actually own these shots. From the beginning, they've sort of just been using me as a conduit to get themselves taken, and then follow an unknown road to somewhere else, wherever that may be. My son shall be their ultimate steward, but how the road may twist and turn to that point I cannot know. A thousand and one thanks, no matter how it shakes out.


Ok, after a morning of surfing in surprisingly nice waves (especially for around here in the month of June), and an afternoon of computer repair with a very happy customer taking possession of a newly revitalized machine, it's time to get back on the scanner. So here I go.
I'll go dig the tools out, been sitting in storage for awhile.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #64 on: 06/12/2011 10:16 PM »
Downix: I'll go dig the tools out, been sitting in storage for awhile.

I am flabbergasted. You are too kind, sir.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #65 on: 06/12/2011 10:23 PM »
Top: STS-2 rolled out and sitting on Pad 39-A

All others: RSS still sitting on falsework.

When I first arrived at the pad, there was no RSS, and Wilhoit (who was the steel erector for the steel that Sheffield had fabricated) had only put up a single line of falsework. A total of five lines were put up and the first major thing that happened next was the setting of the RSS 135 level Bottom Truss upon it. Imagine an enormous cats-cradle of steel, well over a hundred feet long, made of 36 inch diameter structural pipe, being lifted by a pair of cranes, until it was suspended with its lower members above the falsework. Then imagine both cranes, in synchrony, booming down, letting this cycloptic pipe truss down onto the near edge of the five falsework frames.  Pretty radical, right? But it gets even more radical. On each falsework frame was an ironworker with a come-along and a bit of rigging, which was tied to that bottom line of structural pipe which was now resting across all five falsework frames, supported from above by the two cranes, still hooked to the top of the truss. And then, using nothing more than those five ironworkers with come-alongs, they started dragging that bottom line of pipe across the falsework, toward the rear of where the RSS would soon appear, and as the cranes let out on their runners with exquisite slowness, they come-alonged that damned truss all the way across the falsework and by the time they’d gotten it to the far side, the cranes had let down to the point where the top of the truss was now resting as pretty as you please, right where the bottom of the truss had been a few hours before. Cut it all loose, get the cranes out of the way, and thank you very much, you now have yourself an RSS Bottom Truss right where it belongs. Five guys and two cranes. To this day I marvel at the simplicity, economy, and elegance of it all.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 10:32 PM by 39B »

Offline Mark Dave

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1101
  • Ruined
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #66 on: 06/12/2011 10:32 PM »
I see in the photos of the RSS above part of the FSS access arm strong backs included in part of the lattice work. If I had to guess, probably taken from an unused section of the former LUT of Saturn V.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 11:58 PM by MarkD »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #67 on: 06/12/2011 10:45 PM »
OMS Pod Heated Purge Cover lift from bottom of Flame Trench.

These things were a bear. Really contrapted shape, with foam-in-place insulation, and temperature probes, and who-knows-what-else. Fabbed by a subcontractor (SMCI, I think) and delivered to the pad. Hung up on either side of the RSS down at the 135 level, on a weirdie smooth haunch that they could be maneuvered around a little bit on using actuators in several places, because of the ridiculously tight clearances with the OMS Pods on the orbiter they were there to “protect.” As I recall, one of these took a fall to the pad deck after I had departed (cannot remember if it was Pad A or Pad B this happened on), and by blind dumb luck, nobody got killed in the process, and they didn’t break an orbiter, either. Shortly thereafter, the damned things disappeared and they were not missed by anyone except maybe the folks who went to all the horrendous work involved in designing and fabricating them.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 10:52 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #68 on: 06/12/2011 10:51 PM »
MarkD: I see in the photos of the RSS above part of the FSS access arm strong backs included in part of the lattice work.

If you're referring to the photograph: STS-2 on A Pad, RSS still on falsework.jpg, then no, that's just part of the falsework under the RSS. Sometimes different jobs will result in surprisingly similar structural solutions to a given problem.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #69 on: 06/12/2011 11:02 PM »
Me and my son, just because I can.

Has nothing to do with Pad 39-B, and I do not care.

Kai had a blast growing up here, with a father who was into space and space hardware just as much as he was, and he well-appreciates every last bit of it, to this very day. We did this kind of stuff every chance we got, and we got an awful lot of chances. And, by the way, that’s a real Atlas that he’s standing inside the motors of. Never flew, but it was a flight article. Real Stuff. Lucky kid, huh?

And I was lucky beyond belief to get such a neato kid.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 11:03 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #70 on: 06/12/2011 11:15 PM »
Top left: OMS Pod Heated Purge Covers installed on B Pad.

Top right: Gene Lockamy and I wish I remember the name, but I cannot. Sigh. But I remember the person. Both of these guys were straight-shooters. Really good people.

Bottom left: Up under the RSS 135 level, getting ready to hang the Purge Cover. Note the goofy turnbuckle “actuator” system that the engineers had cooked up to tweak the location of the Purge Cover to account for slight variances in where the orbiter actually wound up when the MLP was set down on its support pedestals (which is just a wee bit different, each time they did it). It must have looked good on paper, I suppose.

Bottom right: Purge Cover installation.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 11:16 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #71 on: 06/12/2011 11:24 PM »
FSS and RSS panorama as viewed from one of the MLP access stairtowers on the east side of the Flame Trench.

Note the difference in the gray paint on the FSS. That darker gray, down near the bottom, is because there’s no topcoat of paint in this area. Blast from the SRB’s and SSME’s impinges on the structure here, and they realized there was no hope in keeping a finish-coated paint system on the steel in this area. Just let it get blown away and repaint to suit after the launch.

And please do not get me started on the idiocy and psychosis of some of the “corrosion control” codswallop that we had to swallow at the behest of certain people who, to judge from their behaviors, had never, and never intended to, go outdoors where there are things like weather lurking about, and where people actually get their hands dirty touching things.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 11:26 PM by 39B »

Offline Mark Dave

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1101
  • Ruined
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #72 on: 06/12/2011 11:28 PM »
Yeah, I noticed the false work with what it looks to be part of the strong back in the bottom left photo below STS-2's photo.


Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #73 on: 06/12/2011 11:41 PM »
Flame Trench panorama from east MLP access stair tower.

The Flame Deflector, in the middle of the trench, has a nice new coat of Fondu Fyre on it, but the rest of the trench shows the effects of the beatings it took from Saturn V’s and Saturn 1-B’s, pretty well. Especially the south end of it. The fire bricks had a slick glassy surface which was produced by the accumulated effects of the exhaust from each launch. Almost like volcanic glass or something. Not quite obsidian, but it was thinking about it.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 11:42 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #74 on: 06/12/2011 11:53 PM »
GOX Arm lift 1.

Top photographs show the ironworkers hooking things up, and in the bottom two shots the lift gets underway. Note that the Vent Hood, or Beanie Cap, is not installed. That went on later as a separate operation. The GOX Arm was a nightmare for us, and some of the stuff that went on during our attempts to assemble the thing down in the Flame Trench were almost beyond belief. Suffice it to say that the arm went up and was hung on the tower, and then it came back down again. I'm pretty sure this is the first lift, but I cannot be absolutely certain. Cost us a bundle in wasted time and effort, as a result of less-than-sterling engineering. I wound up writing what a few people took to calling “The pitchfork letter” and in the end we got compensated. But it was, shall we say, interesting, while it was going on. Fortunately, the lift itself went as smooth as silk.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2011 11:57 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #75 on: 06/13/2011 12:09 AM »
GOX Arm lift 2.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #76 on: 06/13/2011 12:20 AM »
GOX Arm lift 3.

Notice how in the bottom right photo, I had to be standing directly beneath the suspended load to get this shot.

Don't do that, ok?

It didn't happen this day, but every once in a while they lose something during a lift.

You don't want to be under something when they lose it. It's not good for your complexion.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #77 on: 06/13/2011 12:28 AM »
GOX Arm lift 4.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #78 on: 06/13/2011 12:36 AM »
GOX Arm lift 5.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #79 on: 06/13/2011 12:38 AM »
Ok, this looks like a pretty good stopping place.

Hope everyone is enjoying this stuff.

More to come, later.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #80 on: 06/16/2011 06:45 PM »
Very well, let's finish off the GOX Arm, ok?

GOX Arm Vent Hood (Beanie Cap) lift.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #81 on: 06/16/2011 07:03 PM »
RSS Anteroom Extension installation.

They eventually decided that the room you enter the PCR through was too small, and so they ran framing all along the back side of the RSS and made the whole area the new RSS Anteroom. Whereas before, there was hardly enough room for a desk with someone sitting behind it to check your credentials and let you open the door and walk into the air shower, now they had themselves a capacious volume that could accommodate numerous people and a variety of paraphernalia. This occurred after the pad had become active over at A, but before the pad became active on B. When I had my misadventure with the live payload stack over at A Pad, we’d entered through the old, small and cramped, anteroom. We departed, needless to say, through the emergency exit doors, skipping the anteroom in our haste to get the hell out of there.

Here in these photos, you see a gang of ironworkers doing their thing, as nonchalantly as you or I might get up out of a chair and walk into the kitchen to get something out of the refrigerator. There’s nothing at all beneath the beams and columns these guys are putting into place and walking around on. Sheer drop to the pad deck.

In the top right photo, you can see Gene Lockamy (I sure hope I’m spelling your last name right, Gene) directing the crane operator with hand signals, while a pair of ironworkers employ a spud wrench to force the column they are setting to properly line up with the bolt holes in the piece it sits on top of.

This is how the iron gets hung.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 09:45 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #82 on: 06/16/2011 07:27 PM »
RSS Anteroom Extension installation.

More views of this iron getting hung.

In the top right image, an ironworker gets from here to there across a steel beam.

In the bottom right image, looking straight down from above, you get a pretty good look at what our ironworker, in the shot above, is walking across. A couple of men can be seen in this image, walking high steel, and a look at the gentleman on the left gives a fair impression of just how narrow those beams are (although these guys would probably call beams like this a “sidewalk” and routinely walk much narrower pieces than these).

Top left image is unrelated to the Anteroom job. You are looking directly up toward the hook of the 90 ton hoist, which is directly above the platforms of the RCS Room, from the ground, exactly straight down underneath it. A different perspective that you don’t see very often, of the RSS.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 09:46 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #83 on: 06/16/2011 07:40 PM »
Mixed images.

Top left: LOX Tank water spray test.

Right, top and bottom: Hanging the LH2 Flare Stack.

Bottom left: Unknown and Steve Parker.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 07:40 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #84 on: 06/16/2011 07:45 PM »
By the way, I may as well stop here and ask that if there's anybody out there who was either directly involved, or knows anyone who was a member of Ironworker's Local 808 out of Central Florida back in the early 80's, who may be able to give some names to any of the unknowns in these pictures, I'm pretty sure that not only would I be happy to include the additional information, but also the people themselves, and/or their family members would be even more happy.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #85 on: 06/16/2011 07:47 PM »
Left: FSS panorama, viewed from the north. Note that the RSS is still up on its supporting falsework.

Right: RCS Room framing panorama, viewed from the FSS.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 07:48 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #86 on: 06/16/2011 07:55 PM »
Top: Danny Sheffield, in the Sheffield Steel field trailer. Danny was the owner’s son. I do not know what became of Sheffield Steel (other than it no longer exists), nor do I know what became of Danny. He was good people.

Middle: Skip box, beside the Flame Trench.  Need to take a quick look at something up on the tower that’s a little hard to get to? No problem. Hook this thing to the crane, get in, and take yourself a little ride. It was always fun to ride in the skip box, but looking at this thing now, I’m guessing that the safety people would throw everyone in jail for using it. And never forget, boys and girls, it’s the Safety Man who will kill you.

 Also, in the background, you can get a fairly good look at both Side Flame Deflectors.  They were moved into and out of position on a set of rails that ran right down the edge of the Flame Trench on both sides, and in this shot, the near one is the launch position, and the other is retracted position, to the north.

Bottom: What I’d see if I decided to stop on the way to work and check the surf. I missed a lot of waves while working out at the pad, and in Florida, waves are a rare and precious commodity.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 08:02 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #87 on: 06/16/2011 08:09 PM »
Left: Predawn.

Top right: RSS Falsework, viewed from the foot of the FSS, looking toward the southwest with the RSS in the demate position, which is where it was built.

Bottom right: Column Line 7 stair tower, from a little ways down on the pad slope, looking more or less directly back in the opposite direction as the above photo. The RSS primary structure had seven column lines with the Hinge Column as line 1, and the far side, where the drive trucks would be located, being line 7. Column Lines A, B, and C, I think, ran from the back of the RSS forward, toward where the orbiter would be sitting. Later, as they encrusted more and more stuff onto the RSS, I think (again with the think business, ahh…fallible memory) they added a few more column line designations. You would find your way around on the structure, and/or locate things on drawings and paperwork, via the alphanumeric column line designations along with an elevation.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 08:12 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #88 on: 06/16/2011 08:24 PM »
Top: Eugene Hajdaj (pronounced Hay Jay), one of the best human beings I’ve ever encountered in my life. Hanging out at the Sheffield Steel field trailer.

Middle: Mom & Dad.

Bottom: Me at the Sheffield Steel field trailer.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 08:25 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #89 on: 06/16/2011 08:32 PM »
Top left: My son.

Right: What I believe to be the two earliest photographs I took of the RSS. The bottom truss was laid down upon the falsework, and then very large structural pipe weldments were then welded down and added onto, piece by very large piece. Of interest, in the bottom right photo, please notice that the diagonals going down toward the 135 level truss at column line 7 do not actually connect at their lower ends. When the vertical members of line 7 arrived, they would have “stub clusters” that would butt up against the existing pipe framing which would then be full-penetration welded to the existing steel. Those stub clusters were a certified nightmare to cut, fit, and weld. This was pre-computer, and it was all done by hand. It’s hard to even imagine the trickiness that’s involved where six or eight separate cylindrical structural pipes all come together. And in at least one case, things weren’t done quite right on the shop floor, and slipped past the QC inspection, and were only discovered to be bad when they failed to mate with the adjacent pipe framing, up in the air, on the tower. And as a result, we were serenaded by the Infamous Wilhoit Air-arc down in the field trailer, as the ironworkers removed the offending stub, and had to weld on a new one. I’ll never forget that sound as long as I live. Lotta time and money down a hole with that kind of thing.

Bottom left: Me under the RSS, with Column Line 7 in the background. The interestingness with this shot revolves around the little yellow drive cab behind me. The RSS is driven around on its track between the mate and demate positions. Somebody sits inside of that cab, and drives the RSS. The truly psychotic thing about it is that the seat they sit on HAS A SEATBELT. What were they thinking when they spec’ed out that?!? Here’s this gillion-pound steel structure that moves at less than a walking speed, on a rail, and they decided to put a seatbelt on the seat? How, exactly, is that going to make anything in the world safer? Were they expecting the RSS to suddenly lurch forward at sixty miles per hour and wind up in a ditch somewhere? Did they think that if the whole thing fell down that the seatbelt would keep its wearer safe?  Personally, I think it’s because they wanted the driver to go down with the ship if anything ever happened. “Yeah, we’ll tie him in there. He’ll never get out in time. That’ll serve him right.”
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 09:54 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #90 on: 06/16/2011 09:09 PM »
FSS/RSS panorama from across the Flame Trench.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 09:09 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #91 on: 06/16/2011 09:17 PM »
Left: North end of Flame Trench pad deck panorama.

Lotta stuff going on in this panorama. Across the way is the 9099 Building, which sits just north of the FSS. Beyond that, is the west end of the North Piping Bridge (nasty story about getting shafted by NASA with that thing, but not now). Directly in front of you, in the middle of the picture, is one of the access stair towers for the MLP. Struts for one of the MLP Support Pedestals can be seen partially blocked behind it. And on the far right is the east end of the North Piping Bridge and the stair tower that accesses it.

Right: My little yellow VW beetle. The story here is that I drove the RSS Hurricane Locks up to the pad deck in this car. They almost went through the floor of the car when I put ‘em in there. Look close, and you can see a couple of the locks already installed next to the rail, peeking out above and left of my left rear fender. They’re kind of a dead gray color. The gang of ironworkers is getting ready to weld the new locks I just delivered, into place. I believe the ironworker dressed in brown, facing away from the camera is Elmo McBee, and the shorter ironworker facing the camera (but looking down to his right at the work) is Ray Elkins. Both of these guys took pity on me for being the greenhorn that I was, and were careful at all times to ensure that I understood what was going on, and, even more importantly, to ensure that I did not kill either myself, or anyone else, as I blundered around on the launch pad. Thanks guys, it was, and is, appreciated.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 09:26 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #92 on: 06/16/2011 09:36 PM »
RSS, First Rotation.

This was a Big Deal. First time that the Rotating Service Structure was actually set into motion and rotated. When dealing with mobile objects of this size and weight, you really REALLY do not want anything to go wrong. So the first time you roll, there’s a lot on the line. I snapped these shots from in front of the Sheffield field trailer.

I had wanted to go up on the pad deck to get a look at things from close range, but my boss was up there, and somebody had to stay back in the trailer and man the phones, and that somebody was me. Turned out to be a lucky thing. Otherwise, I would not have gotten this sequence of photographs of the rotation.

A friend of mine took a quarter, dime, and penny I gave him, and placed them on the rail, one on top of the other. The RSS smashed the stack flat, all smeared out of shape and with each coin’s impression embedded into each other. It was my thirty-six cent sandwich. Somehow, along the intervening years, I managed to lose it somewhere. But it was fun to show people while I still had it.

Everything worked fine with the rotation, just like it was supposed to.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2011 11:18 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #93 on: 06/16/2011 09:43 PM »
Ok then, enough for now. More later.

Offline Jose

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 176
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #94 on: 06/16/2011 10:55 PM »
...You don't want to be under something when they lose it. It's not good for your complexion.

Haha, I bet. Ruin your whole day.


Offline dougforest

  • Member
  • Posts: 1
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #95 on: 07/05/2011 06:20 PM »
Hi 39B,

I just joined this forum and thought that I'd introduce myself.

I've been interested in space flight, since the days of watching the moon landings, live on TV. Over the years, I've collected a fair collection of books and models on the subject. I was one of the founding members of the team that tried to save the last Apollo Saturn V LUT, between 2001 and 2004, which occurred after I wrote a paper for the British Interplanetary Society's magazine: SpaceFlight. In it, I recorded a previous preservation attempt on the tower, when the Space Shuttle program was getting started. For more information on that, you can still see the website that was set up for the campaign: www.savethelut.com

I enjoyed looking at your photos of the pads. It's great to see some of the more candid shots from the period. I'm always on the lookout to find ones that I haven't seen before, but I did notice that they are showing quite a color cast. Is that just the scan, or is that the way the prints are?

If you still have the negatives, or if they were originally slides and you're interested in preserving them, I can help you, or indeed anyone on the group that has film photographs that they'd like to keep as new.

As a sideline, I operate a scanning business from my home in Los Angeles - www.photoreplicate.com - which allows me to produce very high resolution scans. I am able to correct the color casts and contrast levels to bring the photographs back to life.

Have a look at my website and see if it's something that would interest you. My contact information is on the PhotoReplicate website.

At the very least, keep the photos like this coming:)

Regards to all,

Doug Forrest

Offline dantdbv

  • Member
  • Member
  • Posts: 41
  • Frederikssund Denmark
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #96 on: 07/11/2011 04:16 PM »
I have to thank you 39B, not only for these exciting pictures, but also for having allowed me to get a breakthrough, that did not expect to get.

I am talking about your pictures of the premodification Sound Suppression Water System pipes. Your pictures has made it possible for me to ask the questiens i have posted here:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=14430.msg772224#msg772224

Should you know any of the answers or know someone who does and could point them in my direction, then i would be very gratefull.

I very much appreciate the look into the past, you have offered us and i am eagerly awaiting your next instalments. It is people like you who makes this place as good as it is.

Respectfully yours
DanTDBV
DanTDBV (The Droid Building Viking)
Dan Nielsen
Frederikssund
Denmark

Offline TFGQ

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 180
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #97 on: 07/11/2011 08:13 PM »
Ok 39-B thank u very much for your sevice and for the record you were my favorite Launch Pad
Life is a magical thing -- Laurel Clark

Offline dvsmith

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
  • North Carolina
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #98 on: 07/10/2012 04:02 AM »
Ok then, enough for now. More later.

39B, are you still around?

I love this thread and would love to see more.

Offline robertross

  • Canadian Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17801
  • Westphal, Nova Scotia
  • Liked: 462
  • Likes Given: 4081
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #99 on: 07/20/2012 04:09 PM »
There isn't a 39-A thread that I could see, but I thought this might interest people. I just received it via e-mail from KSC-VC:

Quote
For the first time in 50 years, NASA is opening its gates to public visitors to tour the main launch pad. The new KSC Up-Close: Launch Pad Tour, the latest to open of the three special behind-the-scenes tours, takes visitors from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to the inside of Launch Pad 39-A, the location of space shuttle and Apollo Saturn V moon rocket launches.

The tour travels nearly a quarter-mile within the perimeter security fence of Launch Pad 39-A. Visitors can enjoy close views of the 350-foot-high fixed service structure, rotating service structure, propellant storage containers, water tanks, flame trench and other aspects of the launch pad complex. The highlight of the tour is the photo opportunity during the stop at the pad. The tour also includes drive-by views of Launch Pad 39-B, the Vehicle Assembly Building, mobile launch platforms and culminates at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

This tour is offered for a limited time only!


Also:
Quote
See Atlantis Up-Close!
Celebrate the "Year of Atlantis" with a firsthand look of the orbiter.
For a limited time, visitors who take the special behind-the-scenes tour of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) have an opportunity to get an up-close view of space shuttle Atlantis. On November 2, space shuttle Atlantis rolls over to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as part of the "Atlantis Homecoming: The Celebration." Click here for more information. 
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #100 on: 01/28/2013 03:37 PM »
Back from a long absence. More pictures shall be coming. Here's the first scan.

Top is a V2(!) sitting out at Pad 34, shot taken during the early 80's. Somebody or other was making a movie, and the Air Force obliged them. Was the movie "Marooned"? I do not recall. I quit watching movies when I was a kid. Apologies.

Middle is Joe Pessaro (electrical tech rep for BRPH [Briel, Rhame, Poynter, & Houser, Architects and Engineers]), Can't Remember Name (Gary?), Can't Remember Name (Olson Electric Field Boss and a nice guy), Jack Petty (structural tech rep for BRPH) in the PRC (Planning Research Corp) field trailer out at 39B.

Bottom is a shot of the innards of the catacombs, down inside the bowels of the pad. I did not scan and post this picture before, and I do not know why. So here it is now, with a snippet of words from a previous post that had a shot of the Flame Deflector.

"The interior of the pad is not solid all the way through. There are catacombs down there, complete with growing stalactites up in dim corners, the occasional cornered raccoon, or who knows what else, spooky, echoey, creepy dim halls and mystery rooms, and in the middle of it all, around a perfectly nondescript corner, there’s a little door, that you can stoop through, and come out up inside of the Flame Deflector. I always loved spelunking in the catacombs, and did so at every opportunity."

This image does not show the "little door" but instead depicts one of the large Sound Suppression Water pipes, right where it takes a turn and dives into the structure of the pad. If memory serves, those SSW pipes were either five or six feet in diameter and shoved a hell of a lot of water up under the Shuttle through large headers on the sides of the flame trench and into the MLP itself, just prior to ignition. Look on the floor, and you can see standing water, with what appears to be a caged ladder, laying down in it. Mystery equipment was always strewn here and there, in random places inside the catacombs, and you'd see it, and wonder to yourself, "Ok, how'd that get here?" but you'd never know the story. Above, running the length of the hallway on the left is a cable tray.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #101 on: 01/28/2013 03:50 PM »
Top left, and bottom: Discovery, initial rollout onto Pad A. We just drove over there early in the morning from B Pad, and went around on the perimeter road to the east side, and then took the interior pad road toward the high-pressure gas tanks, and I was blazing away with my camera as we did so. Completely non-official. Interestingly, you can see the Orbiter Access Arm midway between being mated with the shuttle, and retracted back into the latchback position against the tower. We found out later that they had ever so slightly mispositioned the MLP on its support pedestals initially, and had to lift it up, put the crawler into reverse, and then go back forward to reposition it correctly and set it back down. We had, by complete random luck, arrived just as they were operationally backing out from the initial setting of the MLP, and the OAA was in the process of being retracted when these shots were taken.

Top right: Later, when all was well and the RSS was mated to the Orbiter.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #102 on: 01/28/2013 04:16 PM »
I've decided to expand the scope of this little project a bit, and let people see a few "slice of life" images, too. Hope it's not a waste of time and some of it is of some small use or interest to somebody out there in internetland.

This page shows a "day in the life" view of what it's like for a kid growing up with a father who works out on the Cape.

Open House at KSC. Columbia. My son. Kai always wished he could have been around to see things like Alan Shepard going up for the first time and the launches of the Saturn V's with his own eyes like I did. So now, his children will be able to repay him the favor by telling him that they wish they could have been around to see the Space Shuttles with their own eyes. One of these days, somebody is going to be pestering their parents, wishing they could have been around and seen THE EARTH with their own eyes. The day must come.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #103 on: 01/28/2013 04:28 PM »
Top and bottom: Open House KSC.

Top: Mate/Demate device out by the SLF (Shuttle Runway [Shuttle Landing Facility]).

Bottom: Kai on the centerline of the Shuttle Runway.

Middle: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Museum.

Top middle, Kai, nonchalantly perched in the nozzle of a Titan I.

Bottom middle: Kai admiring the Delta pads (Complex 17 A&B) from the deck of a LARC. The LARC's were used to drive around amphibiously on the Cape back when things were still falling out of the sky in pieces and setting the place on fire fairly often, back in the 50's and early 60's. I grew up immediately south of Patrick Air Force Base (the administrative center for the Cape) and would occasionally see these things come growling through the palmettos, spewing black diesel smoke, and then jusk keep on going, down the beach and into the ocean on calm waveless days (which Florida is very well endowed with). As all-terrain vehicles go, nothing beats a LARC.
« Last Edit: 01/28/2013 04:30 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #104 on: 01/28/2013 04:34 PM »
KSC Open House

Kai running toward the 747/Orbiter parked at the SLF.

Oh the joys of being a little kid when there's oodles of cool stuff to check out!

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #105 on: 01/28/2013 04:43 PM »
Picture I.D. extra images of myself they let me keep.

Me measuring the opening for the Centaur piping in the new security fencing that was being installed on B Pad.

Me standing on the pad deck without a hard hat on.

Discovery on A Pad.

Construction crew "beehive" sticker for the work on 39B (which I also had one of on my hard hat).

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #106 on: 01/28/2013 04:55 PM »
Driving to pad 39B along the beach road takes you right past 39A. One day, not too long after Columbia had first rolled to the pad, I surreptitiously stuck my camera out the car window and snagged these shots. Notice the white external tank. Only the first two launches had that white tank. After that they decided that they could save the weight of the coat of white paint and from then on, the tanks flew au naturale, bare and unpainted.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #107 on: 01/28/2013 05:15 PM »
Growing Up With Rockets.

Top left: Shuttle Launch from the Titan III I.T.L. causeway (I had a pass and brought Kai along at the ungodly hour of 3am which he was totally up for doing, 'cause he LOVED watching launches from up close).

Top right: Kai in front of flown Gemini capsule heat shield at the KSC Visitors Center. While other kids wanted to do Disney and other kiddy stuff, Kai had no use for any of it, and it seemed as if almost every weekend the two of us would run off to KSC or CCAFS or Patrick Air Force Base and hang out at the museums (which were free at the time) or watch fighter jets on the flight line and play around, near and sometimes on, all that supercool stuff they had laying around all over the place. Good times.

Bottom left: School days, Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Bottom right: Kai, "driving" the "stretcher" that carried the Atlas missile. This was out at the Space Museum on CCAFS, and in more than just a few of these kinds of shots, it was me that was the instigator, not Kai. I'd try the door handle, discover it worked and the door opened up, and then I'd say "Go ahead, get in there and drive it and I'll take your picture," and he'd gigglingly get in and "drive," and I'd take his picture. The gray metal Atlas above him was pressurized just enough to keep it from collapsing. Real flight hardware. We did all kinds of crazy stuff like this together, and the standing joke between us was that (and remember, we're talking about a little six-year-old here) he was the "adult" and I was the "kid." We never got caught, never got in trouble, never hurt or damaged anything, and always had a blast.

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #108 on: 01/28/2013 05:42 PM »
Growing up with rockets.

Top left: Kai with flown Gemini capsule at KSC Visitors Center.

Top right: Kai's feet showing from beneath the nozzle of the Delta at the Air Force Space Museum at CCAFS. I do not know where else to tell this story, so I guess I'll tell it here.

I took Kai to the Air Force Space Museum for the first time, when he was TWO, and just toddling around. Even at that very early age, he knew how rockets worked. He'd been gobbling up picture books about it from day one. Anyway, I went out there with him and his mother, and we parked the car, and got out.

He gleefully ran a few steps from the car, and then stopped, looked directly up at, and considered the business-end of, a Rascal air-to-surface missile perched horizontally on its stand, right there next to him.

He then realized that this is the end of things that all of the fire comes out of, and then he further realized that the whole place was littered with lots more stuff that fire would come out of and he very reasonably freaked out and began wailing and crying in abject fear of his lethal surroundings.

For unknown reasons, I somehow figured all of that out with no real communication between the two of us, and then picked him up, and with him screaming and fighting me the whole way, I marched him out into the center of all those horrifying rockets, walked over to the same Delta (actually it's a Thor-Able, the precursor to the Delta) in the abovereferenced picture, grabbed his struggling little hand, and laid it firmly upon the exhaust nozzle.

For a second it was Pure Terror, but then it dawned upon him that no fire was coming out, nobody was getting burned, and things were actually perfectly safe for him to be around.

And in a twinkling, the wails ceased, the look on the face went from panic-stricken to gleeful realization, and he squirmed to be put down, which I did.

As soon as his feet touched the ground, he was off and running, and he ran like the wind from one rocket to the next, touching them all, laughing out loud, and in the end he more or less had to be dragged back to the car when it was time to go home.

Two-year-old kid.

How he knew, and how I knew, I'll never know. But he did, and I did, and a great love affair with real space hardware was kindled that day and neither one of us have ever regretted the least grain of it ever since.

Bottom: Kai leaning against the foot of the gantry at Complex 26, at the Air Force Space Museum. This is the pad that launched America's first satellite into orbit on a Jupiter-C back in 1958, and right next to it is the pad that Alan Shepard and then Gus Grissom took their first suborbital rides into the American history books.
« Last Edit: 01/28/2013 07:34 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #109 on: 01/28/2013 05:51 PM »
Growing up with rockets.

Kai, Air Force Space Museum, CCAFS.
« Last Edit: 01/28/2013 06:04 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #110 on: 01/28/2013 05:57 PM »
Growing up with rockets.

Sometimes when you take your son with you, when you go surfing up at Canaveral Jetty Park, a boat will come by with an SRB being pulled behind it. The waves at Jetty Park are pretty small and weak, but that's ok. There are other compensations.
« Last Edit: 01/28/2013 06:04 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #111 on: 01/28/2013 06:02 PM »
Growing up with rockets.

SRB, Port Canaveral. Looks a little burnt around the bottom end, eh?

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #112 on: 01/28/2013 06:43 PM »
Ok, back to work.

Top, middle, bottom, all left side: Steve Parker and James Dixon working on the E.T. access basket support monorail installation. It was a very windy day this day, and shortly before I took the shot of Steve down at the bottom, a strong gust blew his hardhat off. I do not think it survived the three hundred foot fall to the ground, out in the grass away from the pad.

Another story: This piece of equipment consisted of a long structural pipe bolted to the underside of the hammerhead crane, which carried an extensible monorail beam beneath it, which in turn supported a trolly that rolled along the bottom flange of the monorail beam with rigging to carry a spider basket on a wire rope that could be raised or lowered for a technician to inspect the foam insulation on the side of the external tank that faced away from the RSS when the RSS was mated with the Orbiter.

More than just a little contrapted.

But it gets better.

This rigamaroo was hurriedly designed and implemented after it was discovered on one of the first cryo tanking operations over on A Pad, that foam insulation had popped off of the tank due to thermal expansion and contraction. And they had no way to access the area without rolling the whole stack back to the VAB. Which was a Big No-No, 'cause it would impact the schedule and Make People Look Bad.

So this goofy thing was cooked up.

But it could not possibly work in the real world, despite Looking Good On Paper.

Imagine a heavy spider basket, with a heavy technician and his tools in it, waving around suspended by a wire rope in the same kind of wind that removed Steve Parker's hardhat from his head. Now imagine that same heavy device banging into the exposed skin of the E.T.

Yikes!

Never gonna happen.

Anybody who's spent any time in Florida is well aware that even the calmest of windless days can go to a roaring gale in an alarmingly short period of time.

Which they figured out eventually, and after installing this nightmare on Pad A, they came to their senses, instructed that it never be used, took it down, cut it up, and scrapped the pieces.

Ok, fine.

Except that, as all this is going on over at A, we're receiving delivery of the exact same kludged hardware, where we were working on B.

And I myself kicked an RFI (Request For Information) into the system in behalf of my boss, Dick Walls, offering a credit to NASA, for not installing this piece of junk on B Pad.

And after due consideration, the wise operatives at NASA replied to our RFI with instructions to mind our own business, leave the engineering to the engineers, and install the damn thing like it shows on the drawing.

We were stupefied at the lunacy of this reply, but did as we were told, and were duly paid for the work, as specified in the original contract.

Shortly after which time we were issued a change order, from the very same people at NASA who denied our original RFI, instructing us to remove the whole thing, cut it into pieces, and scrap it!

Which we did, and which we were paid extra for, since it was not in the original contract.

Is this not insane?

Yes, it is insane.

I marvel that the rockets even fly at all, considering some of the things I've seen out there.

Middle right: Unknown, working just beneath the floor of the RCS Room, on one of the Payload Bay Kit platforms that sit on the exterior of the main doors on the Payload Changeout Room, climbing from the platform up onto a float. I do not remember what precisely was being worked on at this time.
 
« Last Edit: 01/28/2013 06:45 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #113 on: 01/28/2013 06:55 PM »
Top left: One of the Skinner Brothers. I think it's Dave, but it might be Steve, working along an orbiter mold line fixed platform.

Top right: Mystery framing. I do not know why I took this picture or exactly where it is on the RSS.

Bottom left: PBK & Contingency Platform framing iron going up on the RSS.

Bottom right: Pretty girl.


Offline Ares67

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12125
  • Oliver
  • Remscheid, Germany
  • Liked: 37
  • Likes Given: 20
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #114 on: 01/28/2013 06:55 PM »
It's really great that you're continuing with this incredible thread. Thanks for the unique views and interesting background stories.

I like the 39 "bee" badge... and Kai was a lucky kid for sure!

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #115 on: 01/28/2013 07:05 PM »
Ok folks, that's it. That's the last of the 39B shots in my collection.

I hope you've had some fun with it and I hope even more that perhaps a smidgen of missing information has been restored to the greater realm of common knowledge that may be of some small use to someone some day.

I also have shots (but not as many) of the work at Complex 41 for Titan IV, and also shots (even less) of the modifications to CX 36, Atlas Centaur, that followed the return of the expendable vehicle programs following the Challenger Disaster.

And if anyone is interested in more "day in the life" stuff of those of us who grew up with, and worked, out at KSC and CCAFS, I've got that too.

Thanks, one and all, for taking the time to view my humble efforts.
« Last Edit: 01/28/2013 07:22 PM by 39B »

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #116 on: 01/28/2013 07:07 PM »
It's really great that you're continuing with this incredible thread. Thanks for the unique views and interesting background stories.

I like the 39 "bee" badge... and Kai was a lucky kid for sure!

Kai did pretty good for himself, and has grown up into the exact Honest, Intelligent, Kind, and Strong, human being that I always hoped he would. And what parent in this world could ever ask for more than that?

I am truly one of the luckiest people on earth.

Offline brad2007a

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 110
  • Clifton Park, NY USA
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #117 on: 02/01/2013 07:14 PM »
"Top is a V2(!) sitting out at Pad 34, shot taken during the early 80's. Somebody or other was making a movie, and the Air Force obliged them. Was the movie "Marooned"? I do not recall. I quit watching movies when I was a kid. Apologies."

V2, early 80's....Could it possibly be the filming of the "Space" (as in James Michener's book) TV miniseries?

Love all the pics, BTW.
« Last Edit: 02/01/2013 07:19 PM by brad2007a »
Democrats haven't been this mad at Republicans since the Republicans took away their slaves..

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #118 on: 02/06/2013 07:39 PM »
Amazing photos. It all started with a photo trying to correct the discoloration, and the results are pretty good. Here are the photos I've processed so far in Photoshop. I hope to finish up the rest soon.

Right click in the upper right corer of the photo to view in full size.
Enjoy. ;D

http://imgur.com/a/rb5Z3


I'll post the images here, as the image site will delete the photos after 6 months.
« Last Edit: 02/17/2013 04:51 PM by Chris-A »

Online DaveS

  • Shuttle program observer
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7865
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 383
  • Likes Given: 14
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #119 on: 02/06/2013 08:07 PM »
Excellent work!
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #120 on: 02/08/2013 05:49 AM »
Would there be any objections to not have them posted here?
Here is OMBUU Arm Lift #1 set from Page 1.

All of these photos have been color corrected, I'll only post the page 1 photos for now.
« Last Edit: 02/08/2013 03:45 PM by Chris-A »

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #121 on: 02/08/2013 03:35 PM »
OMBUU Arm Lift 2 set from Page 1
« Last Edit: 02/08/2013 03:45 PM by Chris-A »

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #122 on: 02/08/2013 03:44 PM »
OMBUU Arm Lift 3 from Page 1
(Quite of an improvement with this set)

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #123 on: 02/08/2013 03:52 PM »
FSS Swingarm Strongback Lift 1 from Page 1

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #124 on: 02/08/2013 04:21 PM »
FSS Swingarm Strongback Lift 2

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #125 on: 02/08/2013 04:23 PM »
FSS Swingarm Strongback Lift 3
I'll hold on posting more, if feedback allows.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11237
  • Liked: 2711
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #126 on: 02/14/2013 02:57 AM »
Amazing photos. It all started with a photo trying to correct the discoloration, and the results are pretty good. Here are the photos I've processed so far in Photoshop. I hope to finish up the rest soon.

What did you do in Photoshop to get such an improvement? I need to fix some badly faded photos myself.

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #127 on: 02/16/2013 03:11 PM »
Amazing photos. It all started with a photo trying to correct the discoloration, and the results are pretty good. Here are the photos I've processed so far in Photoshop. I hope to finish up the rest soon.

What did you do in Photoshop to get such an improvement? I need to fix some badly faded photos myself.

I'm using some of the automatic corrections, Auto Color, Auto Contrast. They will provide satisfactory results some of the time, but not always.

Edit: I'm starting to notice the blue color channel information on a handful of photos are degraded.
« Last Edit: 02/16/2013 05:32 PM by Chris-A »

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #128 on: 02/16/2013 03:16 PM »
Lightning Mast from Page 2.

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #129 on: 02/16/2013 03:38 PM »
There wasn't much to improve with the two sets.
Left SRB Access Platform from Page 2.

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #130 on: 02/17/2013 04:30 PM »
STS-2 Rollout, Page 4, I managed to get the color back. :)

Offline Ronpur50

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2015
  • Brandon, FL
  • Liked: 828
  • Likes Given: 1641
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #131 on: 07/28/2013 03:31 AM »
This is an amazing thread!  Thanks so much for posting these!

Offline dawei

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 955
  • Liked: 34
  • Likes Given: 121
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #132 on: 08/03/2013 05:02 PM »
Just coming across this thread now.  Thanks for the photos and stories.  It breaks my heart that all of this labor has now been literally scrapped.  I know, I know ... that is the way things are and no man-made structure lasts forever and I don't have the financial or political means to preserve historic structures.  Still breaks my heart. 

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #133 on: 03/09/2014 12:31 AM »
Chris-A I just took a look at this thread after a too-long absence, and just wanted to stop and offer my undying thanks for the work you've done to enhance my unworthy images.

It's really appreciated. More than you might imagine.

And thanks once again to everyone, for all the kind words and interest.

Those were the days.

Offline brad2007a

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 110
  • Clifton Park, NY USA
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #134 on: 04/08/2014 06:19 PM »
Chris-A I just took a look at this thread after a too-long absence, and just wanted to stop and offer my undying thanks for the work you've done to enhance my unworthy images.

It's really appreciated. More than you might imagine.

And thanks once again to everyone, for all the kind words and interest.

Those were the days.

There's nothing "unworthy" about them. Thanks for the originals.

Thanks to Chris-A for the enhancements, as well.
Democrats haven't been this mad at Republicans since the Republicans took away their slaves..

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #135 on: 09/24/2015 12:08 AM »
Shuttle Hugger's rejoice. I have returned to give page two a attempt.
PGHM Bridge Beam Lift, page 1

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #136 on: 09/24/2015 12:09 AM »
PGHM Bridge Beam Lift, page 2

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #137 on: 09/24/2015 12:10 AM »
PGHM Bridge Beam Lift, page 3

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #138 on: 09/24/2015 12:11 AM »
PGHM Bridge Beam Lift, page 4

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #140 on: 09/24/2015 12:20 AM »
Intertank Access Arm Lift Pages 1, 2, and 3

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #141 on: 09/24/2015 12:25 AM »
Orbiter Access Arm Lift - Pages 1, 2 and 3


Offline roma847

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1594
  • Be part of it
  • Germany
  • Liked: 504
  • Likes Given: 18
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #142 on: 09/24/2015 01:23 PM »
Hello Chris,
wow, what a nice suprise after my inquiry of yesterday!!!
You have begun already with the color correcting of the remaining photos, what James (39B) will make very happy too.
Please continue, that's fantastic.

***************
Regards from Germany

Manfred

Under construction:
1:144 Launch Pad 39A with Challenger STS-6

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #143 on: 09/25/2015 04:35 PM »
Thread Page 3:
Jack Petty and Me on the FSS and GOX Vent Hood
« Last Edit: 09/25/2015 04:35 PM by Chris-A »

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #144 on: 09/25/2015 04:41 PM »
They came out nice.
Challenger on B Pad - Pages 1 and 2
« Last Edit: 09/25/2015 04:42 PM by Chris-A »

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #145 on: 09/25/2015 04:43 PM »
Challenger aftermath

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #146 on: 09/25/2015 04:46 PM »
The first batch did not work out well.
Mixed Images. - Pages 1 and 2

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #147 on: 09/25/2015 04:49 PM »
RCS Room

Offline Chris-A

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 28
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #148 on: 09/25/2015 04:51 PM »
Panorama of the FSS & RSS, Stairs of Doom To Nowhere



Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #151 on: 09/25/2015 05:55 PM »
Outstanding!

A thousand and one thanks for the stunning recovery work.

I cannot repay you.

I shall remain in your debt.

I thank you.

Offline roma847

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1594
  • Be part of it
  • Germany
  • Liked: 504
  • Likes Given: 18
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #152 on: 09/25/2015 10:02 PM »
Thanks Chris,
what I've said, James is also excited, just like me.

***************
Regards from Germany

Manfred

Under construction:
1:144 Launch Pad 39A with Challenger STS-6

Offline Ronpur50

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2015
  • Brandon, FL
  • Liked: 828
  • Likes Given: 1641
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #153 on: 09/27/2015 05:28 PM »
These are awesome!  Thank you!

Offline 39B

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Liked: 125
  • Likes Given: 6
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #154 on: 07/07/2017 04:45 PM »
Greetings, one and all. It is I, 39B, the one who originally posted the photographs.

I've decided to hedge my bets against any dark day that I earnestly hope shall never come, wherein the internet chooses to move in a way that causes this site to disappear, and I'm going to be placing the images on a web page elsewhere, which I manage, called 16streets.com.

16streets.com updates very irregularly, sometimes not at all for weeks, sometimes daily, is mostly vignettes of life in Cocoa Beach, Florida, centers around surfing, but can encompass most anything I choose to put in there. I tend to post photographs of launches as see from here locally, and that goes double for anything with a first stage that returns to the Cape.

Once I got going with things, I realized that I would be able to include a lot of additional commentary with things, and would be free from any restraints of speaking plainly, thus allowing me to speak in my own irreverent and profane vernacular without having to worry about what some bluenose or other might think about such things, or any people they might see fit to complain to about it. When people complain about the contents of 16street.com, they're complaining directly to me. Best of luck with that one, bluenoses.

So I decided to recognize the kind and wonderful help and encouragement from everyone at nasaspaceflight.com, post the images in the exact same order as they appear in this forum, and then place any and all new comments below those images, and I'm now two whole pages into things.

Lately my work as a free-lance computer repair guy has been slow, the waves have been flat (which is par for the course in Florida, alas), and I find myself endowed with the requisite time to do this work.

That may or may not last, and since it seems to be taking me just about one day to do one page, the pace will be slow when it's fast, and it will become glacially slow when my other lives intrude.

Wish me luck. And I do hope that the additional words might be of some small use, entertainment, or wonder, for those of you who find them.

All of you, one and all of you, have my utmost thanks for all of the support and encouragement which you have so kindly bestowed upon me, and I appreciate both the thanks and yourselves, more than you might imagine.

We shall begin with page one, HERE.

Offline roma847

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1594
  • Be part of it
  • Germany
  • Liked: 504
  • Likes Given: 18
Re: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle
« Reply #155 on: 07/08/2017 09:01 AM »
Hi James,
that must have been thought transmission, unbelievable but true.

Just today I was back on your site 16streets.com and was totally surprised by your new own site

B Pad Construction Photos - Space Shuttle.

What a brilliant idea, my friend, which perfectly matches with the intention of my

NSF Thread: Back to the Beginning of NASA's Space Shuttle Missions

and all of us lots of fun.

I'll stay tuned with greatest interest.

« Last Edit: 07/08/2017 09:09 AM by roma847 »
***************
Regards from Germany

Manfred

Under construction:
1:144 Launch Pad 39A with Challenger STS-6

Tags: