WATCH: Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center Home to 209-Foot-Tall American Flag

By  //  May 11, 2020

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One of the largest buildings in the world by area

ABOVE VIDEO: The Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is the only facility where assembly of a rocket occurred that carried humans beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon.

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – The Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is the only facility where assembly of a rocket occurred that carried humans beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon.

For 30 years, it also served as the final assembly point for space shuttles to external fuel tanks and solid rocket boosters.

The iconic facility serves as the central hub of NASA’s premier multi-user spaceport, capable of hosting several different kinds of rockets and spacecraft at the same time.

Whether the rockets and spacecraft are going into Earth orbit or being sent into deep space, the VAB will have the infrastructure to prepare them for their missions.

The VAB was constructed for the assembly of the Apollo/Saturn V moon rocket, the largest rocket made by humans at the time. The last structural beam was positioned in the VAB in 1965.

The interior construction, including the construction of the extensible work platforms, was completed in 1966. The building is located 3.5 miles from Launch Pad 39A and 4.2 miles from Launch Pad 39B.

Seen to the right of the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, crane positions the Orion crew access arm (CAA) so it can be attached to the mobile launcher (ML). (NASA image)

The tallest portion of the VAB is called the high bay. There are four high bays, two on the east side, and two on the west side of the building. Each has a 456-foot-high door, enabling rockets to be stacked vertically and then rolled out to the launch pad.

Combining established capabilities with modern needs is the primary goal as the world’s most famous landmark of space exploration is being upgraded to support NASA’s 21st-century launch complex.

Fun Facts

■ One of the largest buildings in the world by area, the VAB covers eight acres, is 525 feet tall and 518 feet wide.

■ The VAB high bay doors are the largest in the world at 456 feet high and take about 45 minutes to completely open or close.

■ The building is home to the largest American flag, a 209-foot-tall, 110-foot-wide star-spangled banner painted on the side of the VAB.

■ It is made up of 65,000 cubic yards of concrete and its frame is constructed from 98,590 tons of steel. It stands atop a support base of 4,225 steel pilings driven 164 feet into bedrock.

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