walkway that NASA astronauts will soon use to board the SpaceX Crew Dragon
spacecraft for flights to the International Space Station (ISS) emanating once more
from American soil – after a more than 7 year long hiatus – was lifted by a
huge crane this morning, Aug. 20 and installed into place high up the gantry at
NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Access Walkway and White Room from a cradle perched on top of pad 39A starting
at about 9 a.m. today, Monday, Aug. 20.
KSC as the launch base for American astronaut missions to the High Frontier and
the International Space Station (ISS).
near the top of the shuttle era
gantry at pad 39A.
Crew Access Arm walkway for NASA astronauts boarding commercial Crew Dragon capsule
for missions to the International Space Station is lifted with cranes and
installed into position to the top of Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy
Space Center- as seen on Aug. 20, 2018. Credit: Ken
gallery of Space Up Close photos here with men and women actively at work –
taken today, Monday, Aug. 20, as a follow up to my photos from the past few
days after the arm was slung in the hoisting harness and after it arrived a few
2 Men and an Arm!
SpaceX Crew Access Arm walkway for NASA astronauts boarding
commercial Crew Dragon capsule for missions to the International Space Station is
lifted with cranes and installed into position to the top of Launch Complex 39A
at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center- as seen on Aug. 20, 2018. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
astronaut walkway as it reached the point of installation to the gantry – as workers
were stationed at varying points all around the gantry’s top levels.
SpaceX astronaut walkway called the Crew Access Arm is
lifted at Launch Complex 39A in view of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket processing hangar
in foreground at left at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for NASA astronaut launches
of Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS – as seen on Aug. 20, 2018. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
months to pick it up and another giant cherry picker holding another team of technicians
who guided the arm to its attached point and bolted the arm in place.
It was so surreal.
I even saw two guys standing on top of the outside roof of
the arm – standing tall while hanging on from over 200 feet up from the base of
restoring US human spaceflight is now visibly just around the corner!
You can’t fly to space until the walkway is there, and
today they put the walkway up!
Today’s photos include more views
with an apparent peek inside a portion of the White Room which appears to be
open – whereas it appeared to be sealed off last week.
named the Fixed Service Structure (FSS). Pad 39A has been leased by SpaceX for
20 years from NASA.
Historic Pad 39A was used by
NASA to launch Apollo Missions to the Moon – include the first human lunar landing
on Apollo 11 – as well as numerous Space Shuttle missions.
The White Room is located at
the terminus of the crew access arm that serves essentially as the “Walkway
to the Stars’ that NASA astronauts will soon stride along to board the SpaceX
Crew Dragon for its maiden commercial crew flight to the International Space
Station (ISS) – as soon as 2019.
KSC and the US haven’t seen astronauts
boarding a spaceship for launch since 2011 with the blastoff of NASA’s Space
Shuttle Atlantis in July 2011 on the STS-135 mission to the ISS. Two of the astronauts on that flight have been
assigned to the first SpaceX Dragon and Boeing Starliner crewed launches.
The maiden unpiloted Crew Dragon mission known as SpaceX
Demo-1 is currently slated for Nov. 2018 blastoff from seaside pad 39A.
The White Room is designed to swing out and fit snugly
against the exterior side of Crew Dragon and the opened crew hatch, Dragon is bolted in place on top of the
SpaceX Falcon 9 carrier rocket at pad 39A.
It provides a clean room, climate-controlled environment
for space suited astronauts climbing aboard the spacecraft and taking their
designated seats aided by ground technicians to assist them comfortably.
The Shutte era Crew Access Arm was located at the 195 foot
level and removed several years ago. Its now on display at KSC.
the former Shuttle Gaseous oxygen vent near the top of the tower.
earlier views from Saturday, Aug 18 and Friday, Aug. 17, in an accompanying
stories – before and after the walkway was slung up. Several have been featured as well at
Spaceflight Now as well as at Fox 35 Orlando and CBS News 6 Orlando.
Both set of photos were
taken from multiple vantage points around pad 39A after its arrival
atop the ramp at pad 39A a few days ago.
It will be in place for the
first unpiloted SpaceX Crew Dragon mission slated for later this year – as soon
as November 2018.
In the final hours prior to
launch, astronauts will walk down the walkway to enter the Dragon.
So pad 39A will make history again when the first
commercial crew mission blasts off as soon as Spring 2019 – and thereby restore
America’s access to space for American astronauts flying on American rockets
from American soil. And – end US sole reliance on the Russian Soyuz capsule for
rides to space.
The Crew Access Arm for the Boeing Starliner was installed
a few years ago at Space Launch Complex -41 for launches on the United Launch
Alliance Atlas V.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Learn more about the upcoming upcoming/recent
NASA/ULA Parker Solar Probe, SpaceX Merah Putih & Telstar 18 & 19
launches, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-15 launch to ISS, SES-12 comsat launch,
Falcon Heavy, TESS, GOES-S, Bangabandhu-1, NASA missions, ULA Atlas & Delta
launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Kennedy Space
Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings.
Aug 24: “NASA/ULA Parker Solar Probe launch, SpaceX Merah Putih &
Telstar 18v & 19v Launches, SpaceX Dragon CRS-15 resupply launch to ISS,
SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, SpaceX SES-12 comsat. ULA Atlas
USAF SBIRS GEO 4 missile warning satellite, SpaceX GovSat-1, CRS-14 resupply
launches to the ISS, NRO & USAF Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX
Commercial crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex, Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars lander,
Curiosity and Opportunity explore Mars, NH at Pluto and more,” Kennedy Space
Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings. Photos for sale