The structure of the mobile podium of NASA’s Space Launch System came out from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday when it returned to the seaside launching facility for completing necessary tests. Hurricane Dorian had put a pause to the tests last week.
The validation and verification testing of the 380 ft (115 meters tall) structure was nearly 80 % done when the team had to return the SLS mobile launcher back to the VAB on August 30, following reports of the incoming hurricane that threatened to lash on the Space Coast of Florida. The launch tower is designed to take on 110 mph wind speed while the VAB can withstand 125 mph wind speed.
The SLS mobile launchpad comprises of a square3 base structure as long with a tower, which contains retractable umbilical arms, elevators, propellant plumbing, toilets, and other necessary systems. The mobile launcher underwent a 9-month long test campaign inside the High Bay 3 of the VAB this year, following which it has rolled out on June 28 for the other checkouts at pad 39B. This was prior to the arrival of the SLS rocket components for stacking.
The mobile launchpad, weighing 10.5 million lb completed a 4.2 mile (6.8 lm) journey back to the pad 39B atop a diesel-powered crawler-transporter that has been in operation since the Apollo era. The platform stopped for the night at the pad39B main entrance before resuming its crawling journey up to the ramp the following morning.
After the launch pad has come back to the pad 39, the engineers will continue with the testing and checkouts for the few following weeks for the Artemis 1 mission. It is going to be the first SLS launch which is scheduled for the year 2021.