Monday, July 18, 2011

Vehicle Assembly Building #NASATweetup Tour

Thursday afternoon after we watched the RSS Retraction, we were taken on a tour of the Vehicle Assembly Building, better known as the VAB. IMG_5635


The VAB is  the first buildings you will notice when driving up to Kennedy Space Center. The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) is one of the largest buildings in the world. 
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It was originally built for assembly of Apollo/Saturn vehicles and was later modified to support 
Space Shuttle operations.


According to NASA's website: 
    The VAB covers 3.25 hectares (8 acres). It is 160 meters (525 ft) tall, 218 meters (716 ft) long and 158 meters (518 ft) wide. It encloses 3,664,883 cubic meters (129,428,000 cubic feet) of space. IMG_5397
    • Flag & Bicentennial Emblem: Added in 1976, required 6,000 gallons of paint. The flag is 64 x 33.5 meters (209 x 110 ft) in size. Each strip on the flag is as big as the tour buses used to transport visitors around KS IMG_5747
    • Steel: 89,421 metric tons (98,590 tons)
    • Concrete: 49,696 cubic meters (65,000 cubic yards)
    • Piling: 4,225 open-end steel pipe piles, 0.4 meters (16 inchs) in diameter were driven 49 meters (160 ft) into bedrock.
    • Air Conditioning: 9,070 metric tons (10,000 tons), 125 ventilators.
    • Lifting Devices: 71 cranes; two 227 metric ton (250 ton) bridge cranes. IMG_5660
    • The orange pieces on the side of this picture are original to the building and were used to build the Saturn V during the times of ApolloIMG_5661
    • Siding: 100,800 sq meters (1,085,000 sq ft) insulated aluminum panels; 6,503 sq meters (70,000 sq ft) plastic panels.
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    • Doors: There are 4 High Bay doors. Each opening is 139 meters (456 ft) high. The north entry to the transfer aisle was widened 12.2 meters (40ft) to permit entry of the Orbiter, and slotted at the center to accommodate its vertical stabilizer.
    • IMG_5835

    Comparisons:

    • Height: VAB - 160meters (525 ft) <--> Statue of Liberty - 93 meters (305 ft)
    • IMG_5701
    • Volume: VAB - 3,665,013 cu meters (129,428,000 cub ft) <--> Pentagon 2,181,117 cu meters (77,025,000 cu ft).
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    • VAB equals 3.75 Empire State Buildings
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This is the nice man that gave us our tour, he has worked for NASA since around the time of Challenger, as has his wife. I took the picture to show how tall the picture was.
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Everyone that has worked on the Shuttle program has been invited to sign this wall.
IMG_5683 Reading the names can give you chills.
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After the Challenger the crews started posting banners for the shuttle crews
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There was a sample of what the external tank is made of
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This sign made me giggle, just so you know.
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The mobile launch platform is Positioned on 6 steel pedestals 7m (22ft) high when in the VAB, these are those platforms
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As a side note, all of the recovered remains of Columbia are stored in the VAB.

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