Sign up FAST! Login

NASA's VAB: a Garage for the Saturn V | Popular Science


Stashed in: NASA, Florida!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Big Rockets Arrive at the Cape

The first step in turning Cape Canaveral into a Moonport was to expand the site. In 1962, NASA purchased 80,000 acres of land on Merritt Island on which it would establish the ground equipment and launch pads. But there was more to launching a Saturn V than a launch pad.

NASA contracted each stage of the Saturn V to a different company: the first stage went to Boeing, the second stage to North American Aviation, and the third stage to Douglas aircraft. Spacecraft contracts, too, were awarded to multiple contractors. The command and service module to North American and the lunar module to Grumman. Since the mission would be leaving from Florida it made sense to test and assemble all the pieces — the rocket stages and spacecraft — on site.

Assembling the Apollo stack directly on the launch pad was out of the question. There were too many prelaunch tests to run. Having the pieces of a rocket sitting on the launch pad exposed to the elements throughout the pre-launch phase of a mission was asking for trouble, particularly with Florida’s salty air and hurricane seasons. What NASA needed was a building that would shield the Apollo stack from the elements until it was ready for transfer to the launch pad.

The need for the full 363 foot Apollo-Saturn assembly site begat the Vertical Assembly Building; the name was changed to Vehicle Assembly Building on February 3, 1965 in anticipation of a future where rockets and spacecraft would be assembled, not necessarily vertically.

So are they no longer interested in a Moonport?

Or is this still running to this day?

The Moonport exists in the past for NASA, and it exists in the future for TMNT.

In between, enjoy the pics and history.

http://www.space.com/16054-complex-39-vap-construction.html

NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building under construction in 1965

You May Also Like: