SpaceX Tests Technology at Pad 39A

Credit: SpaceX
Credit: SpaceX

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — A critical piece of large equipment is being tested at Launch Complex 39A this week as SpaceX raises and lowers the transporter erector that will be used to move the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket to the launch pad for missions. Standing 212 feet high – more than 20 stories – the TE, as SpaceX calls the machine, will move launch-ready rockets and spacecraft from the processing hangar at the base of the pad up to the pad surface and into a vertical position over the flame trench.

The lift and lowering of the transporter erector are part of routine tests conducted on the pad to ensure all ground systems are prepared to launch astronauts to the International Space Station. The TE is a much larger and stronger version of the erector the company uses at Space Launch Complex 40, as it will also be used for processing and launching future Falcon Heavy rockets.

  • PK Sink

    Wow! Pad abort…rocket recovery…hover…parachutes..TE…Yippee Ki Yay.

  • windbourne

    it really is incredible the work that SpaceX, Tesla, and Solar City are doing.

    I look forward to Bezo’s Blue Origin joining the space effort. I just wish that Bezo had also gone after an electric car as well.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    Bezos is only funding Blue Origin, right ? He is letting the rocket scientists do their work. This is completely opposite of Musk, who needed to add an extra title just to tell people that he was really in charge of every minute detail of the design. I don’t see an electric car as something he needs to do. I wouldn’t mind expanding the Echo / Alexa ecosystem however. That seems like it could be much more fun / useful than Apple’s Siri.

  • Tom Billings

    “This is completely opposite of Musk, who needed to add an extra title
    just to tell people that he was really in charge of every minute detail
    of the design.”

    Well, no. The situation actually evolved from politics of NASA’s turf warriors. It seems that no one would take the job of Chief Technical Officer, The supposition was, and never been disproved, was that people were being told, “Accept that job, and you’d better be there a long time, but you’ll never get another in this business.” So, Musk ended up taking it himself, and hiring Gwynne Shotwell as CEO to keep things on an even keel generally.

    Remember, they started the company before the Columbia disaster, when private companies that were not members of the Cost+ Contractor’s Club were sneered at openly between 1979 and 2005, and the subject of whispering campaigns with their investors as the targets. 2005 is when Bush laid down the law that private contractors without Cost+ experience or interest *would* be used by the new commercial space office, first for cargo and then for people. It seems that for investors to have another place to do their “due diligence” after getting a call from a “concerned brother-in-law”, who happened to work at NASA, has made a huge difference, even though the whispering campaigns have begun again since 2009.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    “Chief Technology Officer” is a stupid title. My company just recently created that position after operating without one for over 75 years. You know why it was created ? So that they could find someplace for the former VP of Engineering to sit without actually throwing his useless ass to the curb. Other companies I have been at create a “VP of Special Projects” position. Their duties are to sit in a office and polish their resume. Gwynne Shotwell is NOT CEO, she is President, and my outsiders view is she seems almost powerless. Her only real duties seem to be trying to put a better political spin on stuff Musk says / tweets.

  • Tom Billings

    My, …you are a bitter little man, aren’t you, …well that is *your* choice.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    I am not bitter. My job has gotten easier now that the new VP of Engineering isn’t trying to micro manage each and every detail of our designs. Engineers are able to complete designs without having his red pen mark up each and every print. And I do not subscribe to your conspiracy theories about some supposed bias against SpaceX.