Author Topic: Falcon Heavy into production as Pad 39A HIF rises out of the ground  (Read 74584 times)

Offline Lars-J

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Here is some new information about 39A pad modifications to support crew launch, source: http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-114-SY16-WState-GReisman-20150227.pdf

Quote
SpaceXís crew transportation system will launch from the historic Apollo and Shuttle launch location, LC-39A on NASAís Kennedy Space Center. We have made excellent progress renovating the complex over the last year; construction will be completed by mid-2015. SpaceX is investing over $60 million in LC-39A to modernize the complex for Crew Dragon, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Construction on the hangar has begun and will be completed later this year. Taking advantage of the existing launch tower, SpaceX will add a crew gantry access arm and white room to allow for crew and cargo ingress to the vehicle. The existing Space Shuttle evacuation slide-wire basket system will also be re-purposed to provide a safe emergency egress for the Dragon crew in the event of an emergency on the pad that does not necessitate using the Crew Dragonís launch abort system.

Offline dglow

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Can we leave the "what if the rocket blows up" discussion alone?  It was concern trolling.  Don't fall for it.
Can you explain why you consider this to be trolling?  Twice during the last year, a rocket blew up just above the pad, seriously damaging nearby equipment.  So it's not just a hypothetical concern.

Now it is certainly possible that SpaceX deals with this risk by hoping it does not happen, then re-building as quickly as possible if it does.  If that's their plan, and they've said that's their plan, then there is no point in further discussion.

<snip>

So I'm not saying SpaceX was either stupid or smart to build it so close.  There are clearly tradeoffs involved, and potential damage in a launch accident is one of them.  I was asking about their approach to dealing with this risk.

A suggestion...

Given: SpaceX is working under greater constraints at KSC. In contrast, their facility at Boca Chica is a clean-slate design, fully under their control.

Now: Measure the distances between the HIFs and pads at 39A and Boca Chica. Compare and contrast.
Bonus: do the same for 4E at Vandy.
« Last Edit: 02/27/2015 10:24 pm by dglow »

Offline dglow

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Here is some new information about 39A pad modifications to support crew launch, source: http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-114-SY16-WState-GReisman-20150227.pdf

Quote
SpaceXís crew transportation system will launch from the historic Apollo and Shuttle launch location, LC-39A on NASAís Kennedy Space Center. We have made excellent progress renovating the complex over the last year; construction will be completed by mid-2015. SpaceX is investing over $60 million in LC-39A to modernize the complex for Crew Dragon, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Construction on the hangar has begun and will be completed later this year. Taking advantage of the existing launch tower, SpaceX will add a crew gantry access arm and white room to allow for crew and cargo ingress to the vehicle. The existing Space Shuttle evacuation slide-wire basket system will also be re-purposed to provide a safe emergency egress for the Dragon crew in the event of an emergency on the pad that does not necessitate using the Crew Dragonís launch abort system.

Excellent find. Can anybody find a link to video of the congressional testimony?

Offline Lobo

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Here is some new information about 39A pad modifications to support crew launch, source: http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-114-SY16-WState-GReisman-20150227.pdf

Quote
SpaceXís crew transportation system will launch from the historic Apollo and Shuttle launch location, LC-39A on NASAís Kennedy Space Center. We have made excellent progress renovating the complex over the last year; construction will be completed by mid-2015. SpaceX is investing over $60 million in LC-39A to modernize the complex for Crew Dragon, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Construction on the hangar has begun and will be completed later this year. Taking advantage of the existing launch tower, SpaceX will add a crew gantry access arm and white room to allow for crew and cargo ingress to the vehicle. The existing Space Shuttle evacuation slide-wire basket system will also be re-purposed to provide a safe emergency egress for the Dragon crew in the event of an emergency on the pad that does not necessitate using the Crew Dragonís launch abort system.

Excellent find. Can anybody find a link to video of the congressional testimony?

Very interesting but expected.  But good to have some verification.  Thanks Lars.  I think we all figured there'd be a crew access arm attached to the FSS, and the STS emergency egress system would be used. (be sort of silly not to). 



One big question....how will they handle vertical payload integration there?  I'm dying for some details on that. 

Offline Jdeshetler

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Here is some new information about 39A pad modifications to support crew launch, source: http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-114-SY16-WState-GReisman-20150227.pdf

One of the last photo catch my attention, a submerged foundations for tracks to support the middle core and no outer tracks for boosters inside the new HIF?

I wondered how can they rotated the boosters while it is on the side for accessing and installing legs when there is no support track? Maybe they are installing and accessing while it is on middle track then move aside when it was done?

Offline cscott

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I see three trenches in that photo.

Offline TomH

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I see three trenches in that photo.

So do I.

Offline deruch

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I see three trenches in that photo.

In the bottom photo it looks like it uses 2 rails for a single core.  There are 3 footings about to be poured in the upper picture, is that for 3 rails?  6 rails?  Are they changing the system slightly to only need 1 rail per core?  I'm not sure we have enough information yet to know what's what there.

edit: I just looked closer at the top picture.  I wasn't seeing it properly.  While we see 3 footing trenches in the center foreground, that's only for the upper stage area.  In the areas where the side boosters would be located, a little bit deeper into the picture, you can see that there are additional footings for them out to the sides as well.  They are out by where the series of dark posts stick up. 
« Last Edit: 02/28/2015 08:44 pm by deruch »
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline Damon Hill

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The former Titan 3/4 launch infrastructure used dual standard gauge railroad tracks to move the mobile launch platforms (and bring in the solid fuel booster segments and liquid fuels).   Nearly all of that facility and the tracks are gone now, but the surviving tracks are still used to transport the assembled rockets to the pads.  Of course, the  Soviet N-1/Energia used a very similar system.

I can't tell for certain how many rails will be used here, or if the tracks will be standard gauge.  The transporter/erector might use only two rails to form a super broad gauge track.  But I'm guessing from the rebar that it'll be four rails.

Offline Zardar

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In the bottom photo it looks like it uses 2 rails for a single core.  There are 3 footings about to be poured in the upper picture, is that for 3 rails?  6 rails?  Are they changing the system slightly to only need 1 rail per core?  I'm not sure we have enough information yet to know what's what there.

edit: I just looked closer at the top picture.  I wasn't seeing it properly.  While we see 3 footing trenches in the center foreground, that's only for the upper stage area.  In the areas where the side boosters would be located, a little bit deeper into the picture, you can see that there are additional footings for them out to the sides as well.  They are out by where the series of dark posts stick up.

The SpaceX 39A HIF can allegedly accommodate 5 cores (according to tweet from last week that i can't currently find. I think it was a florida today journalist).
So they would need 5 sets of internal rails to hold the 5 cores. (and 3 up the ramp externally)
That would give them the capacity to process multiple F9 campaigns in parallel. (although elbow room might get a bit tight!)
They could possibly also 'swap' F9 missions/cores if they wanted to (if they needed to delay the next mission), but if a F9H was in the hanger, it would have to go out first since it would block the center track. (unless the HIF is constructed 'off-center' relative to  the launch mount - I can't tell for sure from any of the construction photos seen so far?)

Edit: found the reference:
https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/568850459991142400



« Last Edit: 02/28/2015 09:32 pm by Zardar »

Offline Robotbeat

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They needn't have the cores on rails all the time. Just some non-mobile supports would work, and of course the trucks the bring in new cores.

The ability to hoist cores over other cores is probably part of the reason for the taller building.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline woods170

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They needn't have the cores on rails all the time. Just some non-mobile supports would work, and of course the trucks the bring in new cores.

The ability to hoist cores over other cores is probably part of the reason for the taller building.

Bingo!

Offline Carl G

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You can see how far along it has got already from the image Chris had used from the continually updated L2 thread in the latest SpaceX article.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/03/spacex-falcon-9-debut-dual-satellite-mission/


Offline StuffOfInterest

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You can see how far along it has got already from the image Chris had used from the continually updated L2 thread in the latest SpaceX article.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/03/spacex-falcon-9-debut-dual-satellite-mission/

Although more visually impressive the structural frame is probably the quickest part of the whole hangar construction.  Ground works take a lot of time to prepare but then the frame comes in on trucks and goes up over a couple of weeks.  Fitting out the inside will probably be the longest part.

This is kind of like watching the house being built up the street from mine.  A month to prepare the site and form the foundations.  A week to put up the framing.  Finally, three more months to skin it and do all the interior outfitting (HVAC, elec, plumb, drywall, etc).

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