SpaceX Builds Integration Facility at Pad 39-A

SpaceX vehicle integration building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)
SpaceX vehicle integration building at Pad 39-A. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX is deep into construction of a new horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39-A. The 300-foot-long structure is being built at the base of the pad on Kennedy Space Center’s historic crawlerway to process the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket for Commercial Crew flights. The pad facilities also will be used for launches using the Falcon Heavy rocket.

  • windbourne

    How many at a time can it handle?
    Iow, what is the max launch rate that they will do?

  • Zed_WEASEL

    The Horizontal Interrogatory Facility appears to be sized for one Falcon Heavy stack. So in theory you could ready one Falcon Heavy stack or three Falcon 9 stacks on site.

    As to launch rate, it depends on the cargo and how many payload processing units SpaceX will installed at KSC & CCAFS. My guess is that SpaceX will try to ramp up to about one launch per month at LC-39A And re-valuated from there after they reach that pace. Provided there is enough payload waiting to go up.

  • Dennis

    Apperently they can store/process 5 cores at once in this facility.

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    What exactly are they hoping to find out?.

  • Zed_WEASEL

    Auto-correct strikes again. Sigh.

    Edited. Thanks.

  • Hug Doug

    has anyone ever tried to waterboard a rocket before?

    omg wait, is THAT what the Rainbirds / deluge systems are really for??


  • Michael Vaicaitis

    “My guess is that SpaceX will try to ramp up to about one launch per month at LC-39A…”
    Sounds plausible. Something like once a month from each pad or site might be a 5-10 year goal.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Doesn’t look like a 1000 million dollar building. Better call the neighbourhood association. Kidding aside. It looks like this building can come down as fast as it goes up. It both uses the old crawlway road and preserves the option of hauling from the VAB to this pad again in the future. Not to mention it looks like a minimal design. Well done all around balancing cost, functionality, and future uses of existing infrastructure. Hat’s off to Space X and NASA for doing a good job of balancing what could have been conflicting interests.

  • windbourne

    They are headed to 1 launch / month right now at 40, and that is a shared pad.
    As such, it would seem that 39 should be capable of much more since it is only for them. That is why I was asking about the max launch rate.
    I get the feeling that they could jump to 1 / week just at 39, assuming that the range can handle it.

  • windbourne

    That would allow them to do quite the rate on this.

  • therealdmt

    I liked it better the first way. Sounded ominous.

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    SLC-40 is not shared. They can fly crew and heavy from 39A and F9 with cargo/sats from 40. Add to that VAFB and Boca Chica and there is no need to flood any single pad with launches.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    I think the VAB was built to survive a CAT 4 or 5 hurricane. Obviously, this building looks like it is designed to be re-built quickly if it gets hit with a major storm. I don’t know if the Cape has been hit with a hurricane since SpaceX has been located at their other pad, so it’s probably OK. It’s probably easy to expand this building later if necessary, like they did with the other 2 to add spacecraft integration facilities.