SpaceX Assembly Building at Pad 39A Progresses

SpaceX assembly building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)
SpaceX assembly building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

The exterior skin begins to take shape of what will become SpaceX’s new 300-foot-long horizontal hangar at the base of Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A.

SpaceX assembly building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)
SpaceX assembly building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

Inside, the company will process the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket before being rolled out for launch. The company also is refurbishing the historic complex for Commercial Crew and Falcon Heavy launches.

  • Dennis

    SpaceX released these images two days before Doug 🙂 Please don’t become a Space.com where all the news is a week late 😛

  • Steve Ksiazek

    Actually, there isn’t much to see from the pictures other than a lot of work remains to turn this still unfinished shell of a building into a real integration facility. It’s really not news, Didn’t we see pictures of the steel frame almost a month ago or more ?

  • Dennis

    We did in fact, but that was not my point 😛

  • Hug Doug

    Based on pictures of SpaceX’s operational integration facilities, I don’t think there’s that much more that needs to be done. Install the electrical wiring, lighting, ventilation, and the hammerhead cranes. Bring in the heavy lifting equipment, any other tools needed, and then roll in the TEL. Paint a few SpaceX logos, hang up American flag. Good to go.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/Falcon_9_in_SLC-40_hangar_before_roll-out_-_CRS-2_(KSC-2013-1676).jpg

    http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/spacex.jpg

    http://i0.wp.com/www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/DSC_11311.jpg

  • James

    LOL all of that is the hard part.

  • Hug Doug

    Yup, those SpaceX logos are painted by one guy with a tiny brush. Really, the internet really needs a sarcasm font.

    But even so, it’s not like they’re finishing the walls and such. It should be completed faster than most large building projects. It’ll probably take longer for the building inspectors to come along and sign off that the electrical wiring is all up to code.

  • Matt

    I hope the building is able to restrain next hurricane …

  • Christopher James Huff

    My first thought on seeing the pictures was actually that the sheer quantity of steel in the frame must have been due to hurricane-proofing. Look at it…those beams aren’t sized just to support the weight of the roof.

  • windbourne

    So, has anybody heard when 39A will be used?
    And for that matter, any news on FH?

  • Matt

    Yes, the vertical beams are strong. It may the case that the contrast of the strong beams to the the weak looking sheating produced such a feeling.

  • BeanCounterFromDownUnder

    I doubt it, not large enough but it may have a good chance of ‘withstanding’ one. 🙂

  • Steve Ksiazek

    Actually, the steel beams are to support the cranes that are used to lift the stages onto the rotating work platforms and finally the transporter-erector. From the looks of the building, the first Class I hurricane will strip those steel metal sides off the building. Then SpaceX will need to rebuild whatever clean room facilities were setup inside the facility.

  • Larry J

    SpaceFlightNow’s launch schedule has a TBD third quarter 2015 placeholder for the first flight of the Falcon Heavy. That might be the first flight from Pad 39A. It’s possible they may launch a Falcon 9 from there first to check out the new systems but that’s only speculation on my part.

  • Christopher James Huff

    The heavy beams are not positioned to support cranes, they are instead uniformly spaced throughout the structure, and the complete Falcon 9 first stage dry mass is only about 18 metric tons…rockets may be big, but are not terribly heavy.

    Apart from the main columns, there are many closely spaced smaller but still quite substantial girts that provide a great deal of reinforcement and anchoring points for the metal panels. A quick search shows that the dense framework we see is in fact pretty typical of hurricane-resistant metal structures.