FREE Shipping in USA

   |    Subscribe our Newsletter
0

Your Cart is Empty

SpaceX plans to build an enclosed mobile tower for rockets to meet U.S. Air Force requirements

by Evelyn Arevalo February 29, 2020

SpaceX plans to build an enclosed mobile tower for rockets to meet U.S. Air Force requirements

Featured Image Source: SpaceX

SpaceX is competing against three other aerospace companies to earn the United States Air Force's National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 service contract. Later this year, the military will only select two companies to launch important national security missions. The Phase 2 contract will be composed of 30 Pentagon space missions that are slated to take place over a 5 year period, beginning in the year 2022 through 2026. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said:

"We bid to meet every requirement. The only modifications we need are an extended fairing on the Falcon Heavy, and we are going to have to build a vertical integration capability. But we are basically flying the rockets that they need. [...] There are more data requirements they’re asking for, some additional inspection, some additional stuff that’s new to Phase 2."

One of the requirements to potentially win the NSSL contract is to have the capacity to do a vertical payload integration at their launch site. Currently, SpaceX integrates their payload into the rocket's fairing vertically. To meet the U.S military's requirements and earn the contract, the rocket company plans to build a new Mobile Service Tower (MST) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The payload in the Phase 2 missions, could involve launching top secret military spy satellites that will require vertical accommodation when inserting them inside the fairing of their Falcon Heavy rocket.

A recently published environmental assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), revealed SpaceX's request to make modifications launch facilities at Kennedy Space Center and how the Mobile Service Tower will look. The document also offers insight other about how the company plans to accommodate their launch services for national security missions.



The document reveals an artist's rendition of the 11-floor mobile tower which will be able to move the rockets vertically to launch Pad 39A. It will also be capable of providing a safe environment for SpaceX crews to insert very large satellites inside the rocket's fairing vertically. The tower will be 86.5 meters tall (281 feet), 36 meters wide (118 feet), and feature an enclosure to completely encapsulate a rocket. So, it will be capable of protecting the rocket with payload during hurricane season. Shotwell described the tower to reporters:

"It comes up and kind of circles around. It’s got to be out there during a Category 5 hurricane, fully enclosed. The whole rocket has to be encapsulated. It’s got huge hurricane clamps on it that clamp it to the ground."

To move, the MST tower will have rails on the pad that will be utilized to move it from "Integration Position" the area where crews will insert the payload, to "Launch position" at the pad that will be approximately 40 meters away (pictured above). Shotwell previously shared that they might also add a similar mobile tower at their other launch site located in California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, "If it ends up being required at Vandenberg, we will put one in at Vandenberg. It depends on the mission manifest that we have," she said.

Another modification detailed in the FAA documents is SpaceX's plan to also accommodate their Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rocket's fairing to fit larger Category C military payloads -which is another requirement to earn the Air Force's National Security Space Launch contract.





Also in Tesmanian Blog

Tesla-Model-3-Long-Range-Giga-Shanghai
Tesla Giga Shanghai Long Range Model 3 May Enter China Market This Week

by Ma. Claribelle Deveza April 07, 2020 0 Comments

Tesla Giga Shanghai’s Model 3 Long Range RWD may enter China’s auto market as early as this week.
Read More
Tesla-OTA-Update-2020.12.5
Tesla Update 2020.12.5 Dashcam Viewer Video With Full Release Notes

by Ma. Claribelle Deveza April 07, 2020 0 Comments

Footage of Tesla’s new Dashcam Viewer feature from OTA update 2020.12.5 was recently shared by a Model 3 owner.
Read More
SpaceX Dragon returns from the Space Station tomorrow, its final splashdown will mark the end of an era -Watch It Live!
SpaceX Dragon returns from the Space Station tomorrow, its final splashdown will mark the end of an era -Watch It Live!

by Evelyn Arevalo April 06, 2020 0 Comments

After a decade in operation, SpaceX's original Dragon spacecraft will be retired soon. 
Read More

Previous  / Next