Commercial Crew Launch Complex Mods Could Bring 300 New Jobs to Florida

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In a move that could bring 250 to 300 skilled aerospace and construction jobs to the hard-hit Florida Space Coast, United Launch Alliance (ULA) has selected Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Orlando to help plan modifications to Space Launch Complex (SLS) 41 to support commercial crew missions to the International Space Station.

During the 21-month contract, Hensel Philips will work with ULA in the design and development of an access tower and other improvements that will allow the Atlas V to launch human crews for SLS-41.

“Hensel Phelps brings significant experience working major construction projects including the original construction for Atlas V at SLC-41, as well as Atlas modifications at SLC-3 in California,” said Dr. George Sowers, ULA vice president of Human Launch Services, in a press release.

“With 33 successful missions spanning a decade of operational service, the commercially developed Atlas 5 is uniquely qualified to provide launch services for the Crew Transportation System,” Sowers added. “We look forward to working with Hensel Phelps to take the next steps in launching crew from SLC-41 and providing safe and reliable crew launch services as early as 2015.”

NASA is currently funding two competing spacecraft that will use the Atlas V. Boeing is developing the CST-100 spacecraft, and Sierra Nevada Corporation is building the Dream Chaser shuttle. A third competitor, SpaceX, is developing the Dragon capsule that will launch aboard the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.
“Hensel Phelps is excited about teaming with ULA and their partners on the modifications of SLC-41,” said Kirk Hazen, vice president of Hensel Phelps. “It is an honor and privilege to be a part of the next generation of human spaceflight.”
NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Ed Mango issued a statement about Hensel Phelps’ hiring on Thursday.

“One year after the Space Shuttle Program, American companies are making critical progress on modern spacecraft and rockets that will enable the next generation of human spaceflight,” Mango said. “NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is fostering new national capabilities for spacecraft, launch vehicles, flight operations and ground operations to achieve safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

“These advances will enable a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil in the next five years. Companies like ULA and their subcontractors in the Space Coast and around the nation are creating the high-skill, good-paying jobs that will ensure continued American leadership in space and the growth of the greatest aerospace industry in the world,” he added.