Boeing Event Highlights Kennedy Multi-User Spaceport

By  //  June 17, 2014

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ABOVE VIDEO: Boeing anticipates building its CST-100 up from a pressurized crew compartment into a fully operational spacecraft inside the OPF. The company is developing the CST-100 spacecraft in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability agreement (CCiCap).

Boeing Transitioning Orbiter Processing Facility-3 Into A World Class Manufacturing Facility

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA — NASA’s Kennedy Space Center took another step down the path of transformation last week when the Boeing Company unveiled detailed plans to convert a shuttle processing facility into an assembly hub for the company’s next generation of crewed spacecraft.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, center, and former astronaut Chris Ferguson survey a mockup of the CST-100 spacecraft under development by The Boeing Company during a ceremony detailing Boeing's plans to use Orbiter Processing Facility-3 as a manufacturing hub for the capsule-shaped spacecraft. (NASA.gov image)

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, center, and former astronaut Chris Ferguson survey a mockup of the CST-100 spacecraft under development by The Boeing Company during a ceremony detailing Boeing’s plans to use Orbiter Processing Facility-3 as a manufacturing hub for the capsule-shaped spacecraft. (NASA.gov image)

Speaking inside the former engine shop of the spacious Orbiter Processing Facility-3 at Kennedy, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said Boeing’s plans demonstrate that the only place in the nation to have launched people into orbit remains well-positioned to serve the future of space exploration, too.

“This is a celebration of a great public-private partnership,” Nelson said.

“The public sphere in local, state and federal with the private sector. And what you see is the result, which was one of the goals we set in (the) NASA bill in 2010.”

Boeing anticipates building its CST-100 up from a pressurized crew compartment into a fully operational spacecraft inside the OPF. The company is developing the CST-100 spacecraft in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability agreement (CCiCap).

John Mulholland

John Mulholland

“We’re transitioning this facility into a world class manufacturing facility,” said John Mulholland, Boeing’s program manager for the CST-100.

“With a 50,000 square feet processing facility, it’s going to allow us to process up to six CST-100s at once.”

The facility was leased by Kennedy to Space Florida in October 2011, a few months after the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle fleet. The facility was one of three processing halls built to service and maintain the shuttles between missions.

Since then, the ramps, platforms and specialized equipment for the shuttles has been moved out to make room for the machinery needed to ready the CST-100 spacecraft for flight. The main hangar has plenty of room to process several spacecraft at once, with adjoining sections of the building well-suited to process other systems such as engines and thrusters before they are integrated into the main spacecraft.

boeing-logo“I have a tremendous respect for the disciplined culture, the hard work of the people here at the space center,” Mulholland said.

“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of the team that’s building the CST-100.”

Many facilities in addition to OPF-3 have been re-tooled or refurbished with new uses in mind.

John Elbon

John Elbon

Launch Complex 39B and a high bay in the Vehicle Assembly Building have been overhauled for the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, for example.

Nor are the users confined to NASA. Several structures built for the space agency now are being operated by commercial firms.

Boeing’s John Elbon, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space Systems, said the company settled on the OPF-3 for its new generation spacecraft to keep production as close to the launch site as possible and to take advantage of the aerospace-focused work force in the area.


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