Author Topic: Launch Complex 39-B Construction Photos - Space Shuttle  (Read 96197 times)

Offline Prober

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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.
 
 
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Offline arkaska

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Offline 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

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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

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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!
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Offline 39B

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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

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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

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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

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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 theyíre 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 youíve kind of got an idea of what was involved here. Except, of course, the floor of your house isnít suspended eighty feet in the air, and your automobile isnít fifty feet long and doesnít weigh twenty tons, or whatever the PGHM bridge beam actually weighed.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2011 12:34 AM by 39B »

Offline 39B

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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. Heís 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 Iíll 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 werenít around to witness it in person, itís impossible to appreciate, or even imagine, what went down out on the Pad.

Offline 39B

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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. Thatís 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. Heís 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. Iím 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, itís getting close to where it belongs. One of the last shots I took before I departed for the day.

Offline 39B

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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 Iveyís 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

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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 Iveyís 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

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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 whatís known as the ďElephantís TrunkĒ 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 Elephantís Trunk is blown loose and flops down and away from the Shuttle as it takes off.

This thing always seemed overdesigned to me. Itís a monster, and there seems to be way too much of it for just handling the Elephantís Trunk. Itís also unnervingly close to the orbiterís left wing as the vehicle comes up off of the pad, and Iíve 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 thatís ok then, right?

Offline 39B

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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 itís 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.

Iíve skateboarded on the glass-slick surface of the firebricks (burned that way by Saturn Vís and Saturn 1-Bís) 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 youíre 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 isnít really recommended, ok?

Offline 39B

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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 Ironworkerís 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

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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 missionís end. When you walk around on it, and think about that, it can give you a weird feeling.

Online DaveS

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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?
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Offline 39B

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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 Iíd never do it again for all the money in the world.

Offline 39B

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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 80ís 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. Iím 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.

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