IMAGE OF THE DAY: NASA’s Crawler-Transporter 2 Moves to Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center

NASA & SPACE NEWS

A pair of behemoth machines called crawler-trans­porters have carried the load of taking rockets and spacecraft to the launchpad for more than 50 years at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA image)
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(NASA) – A pair of behemoth machines called crawler-trans­porters have carried the load of taking rockets and spacecraft to the launchpad for more than 50 years at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Each the size of a baseball infield and powered by locomotive and large electrical power generator en­gines, the crawler-transporters stand ready to keep up the work for the next generation of launch vehicles to lift astronauts into space.

The crawlers are unique in the world, having been built in 1965 to move the massive Saturn V rocket from Kennedy’s Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39.

After the Moon landing and Skylab programs ended, the crawlers continued their work, taking space shuttles to their launch pads for 30 years.

With the shuttle fleet retired in 2011, the crawlers are envisioned as critical elements of future launch operations at Kennedy. Crawler-Transporter 2 will be integral to the Artemis program, sending the first woman and the next man to the Moon.

Fun Facts

■ Weight: Approximately 6.6 million pounds (or the weight of about 15 Statues of Liberty or 1,000 pickup trucks).

■ Height: Varies from approximately 20 feet to 26 feet, based on the position of the jacking, equalization, and leveling cylinders.

■ Load Capacity: Able to transport 18 million pounds (or the weight of more than 20 fully loaded 777 airplanes).

■ March 1963 – Fabrication began on the crawler-transport­ers in Ohio.

■ Jan. 23, 1965 – The crawler moved under its own power for the first time.

Aug. 26, 1967 – The first Saturn V rocket was moved to the launchpad for the unmanned Apollo 4 mission.

May 1, 1979 – A crawler transported space shuttle Enterprise, with an external tank and two inert solid rocket boosters, to LaunchPad A for a fit check.

Nov. 16, 2011 – Moved Space Launch System’s (SLS) mobile launcher from the park site beside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39B.

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