Author Topic: Possible High Bay 1 Reactivation Study?  (Read 4165 times)

Offline jadebenn

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Possible High Bay 1 Reactivation Study?
« on: 01/01/2020 07:31 am »
Do we know anything aside from the following snippet that appeared in this article?

Quote from: NSF
Although construction of an additional ML will begin in the next year, there is still only one SLS integration cell in the VAB, High Bay 3. Given the goal of one launch per year currently planned for SLS, Bolger said there are no plans to make use of High Bay 1, which is the only remaining unused integration cell in the VAB. (Northrop Grumman is using High Bay 2 for OmegA and SLS is using High Bay 4 as a staging and pre-integration area for High Bay 3.)

“We’ve taken a look at it,” he said. “Today the manifest doesn’t demand that we bring High Bay 1 back online.”

“It’s possible that future manifests would require spacing of two launches in very short time between a Block 1 and a Block 1B, so if the manifest were to change it could drive us to want to do upgrades. We have some of the preliminary designing but at this time there aren’t any plans to upgrade High Bay 1.”
« Last Edit: 03/07/2020 07:46 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline jadebenn

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New bill asks NASA to look into re-activating High Bay 1
« Reply #1 on: 01/27/2020 03:18 pm »
I noticed the House NASA authorization bill includes the following passage:
Quote from: The Bill
(c) VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING.—Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall transmit to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate an assessment of requirements for concurrently processing 2 or more Space Launch System vehicles, [emphasis mine] including Space Launch System vehicles with an exploration upper stage.

While it doesn't explicitly state "study reactivating HB1 for SLS," there's really no other way the requirement for concurrent processing of two SLSes (needed for the dual-launch architecture of the integrated lander Boeing and the House favor) could be done. HB4 is used for SLS pre-staging and lacks a crawlerway (would need its connection restored and those tasks moved to another part of the VAB) and HB2 is already reserved for OmegA.

If HB1 were to be equipped and reactivated for SLS, this would mark the first time the VAB has been at 75% utilization since the high-water mark of the Apollo program.

While there are many parts of the House bill that are likely to change, I would not be surprised if this language survives to passage.
« Last Edit: 01/27/2020 03:18 pm by jadebenn »

Offline faadaadaa

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Re: New bill asks NASA to look into re-activating High Bay 1
« Reply #2 on: 01/27/2020 03:48 pm »
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I thought each of the shuttles called a separate HB home.

Offline jadebenn

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Re: New bill asks NASA to look into re-activating High Bay 1
« Reply #3 on: 01/27/2020 04:12 pm »
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I thought each of the shuttles called a separate HB home.
That is incorrect.

During the Shuttle program, only high bays 1 and 3 were used for vehicle stacking. The crawlerway was removed from the side of the VAB HB2 and HB4 were on, and rail connections to each HB were constructed. During the early years of the Shuttle these high bays were used for SRB rotation in addition to ET checkout.

SRB rotation moved to the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF) when that came online in 1984 (though some SRB tasks were and still are performed in the VAB prior to stacking - I don't know the details there).

Later, sometime around the year 2000, both of the now-unused rail connections were torn up and the crawlerway to HB2 was restored to enable it to be able to serve as a "safe harbor" for a Shuttle stack that needed to move back from the pad. All SRB activity was now limited to HB4, but the ET checkout cells in HB2 remained (though I am unsure if they were still in-use). HB2 at that point could accommodate a Shuttle stack, but it could not make one, as it still lacked work platforms. It's only with the lease to OmegA that HB2 will once again be fully-equipped for vehicle stacking.

In summary: Apollo used HB1, HB2 and HB3 in active roles, with a reduction down to HB1 and HB3 after the peak years. Shuttle used HB1 and HB3, with HB2 and HB4 acting in support roles. SLS currently uses HB3 with HB4 acting in support, and OmegA uses HB2. HB1 is still in Shuttle configuration and would need to be converted, and HB4 has never been used to stack a rocket and likely won't be unless NASA somehow manages to attract another tenant.

Attachments:
(1) Apollo missions by VAB high bay
(2) Initial STS configuration
(3) Final STS configuration
« Last Edit: 01/27/2020 04:13 pm by jadebenn »

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: New bill asks NASA to look into re-activating High Bay 1
« Reply #4 on: 01/27/2020 11:11 pm »
Here's a picture of the restored HB2 crawlerway.

https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/gallery/photos/2000/high/KSC-00PP-0726.jpg

Photo Number: KSC-00PP-0726

Release Date: 02-Jun-2000

Description: This aerial photo captures many of the facilities involved in Space Shuttle launches. At center is the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), with the Launch Control Center at its right. The curved road on the left in the photo is the newly restored crawlerway leading into the VAB high bay 2, where a mobile launcher platform/crawler-transporter sits. The road restoration and high bay 2 are part of KSC's Safe Haven project, enabling the storage of orbiters during severe weather. The crawlerway also extends from the east side out to the two launch pads, one visible close to the road on the left and one to the left of the VAB. In the distance is the Atlantic Ocean. To the right of the crawlerway is the turn basin, into which ships tow the barge for offloading new external tanks from Louisiana.

Tags: SLS VAB 
 

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