The first of five architecture and engineering contracts to modernise NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) facilities for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) has been awarded to US infrastructure company Reynolds, Smith and Hills (RS&H).
An unmanned test flight of the CEV’s Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) could take place in 2009, but KSC’s infrastructure is incompatible. The first contract is for work on non-conventional buildings such as launch pads, test stands, mobile platforms and support facilities needed at KSC to support NASA’s space exploration plans. Changes will have be made to the vehicle assembly building and crawler, which have serviced both Saturn rockets and the Space Shuttle.
Rumours suggest that launch pad 40 will be upgraded for the CLV, and the first step for the centre’s redevelopment is to remove the Shuttle and Spacelab materials from the operations and checkout building. “The magnitude of work expected to be involved with each of the five contracts is between $1 million and $10 million a year,” says KSC, which awarded the first contract on 15 March.
Under its contract, RS&H will test and analyse existing and planned structural and support systems and report on recommended actions and designs. The four other areas in which NASA will place contracts are specialised fluid systems, conventional structures, civil and mechanical work, and electrical and plumbing systems.
ROB COPPINGER / TOULOUSE
Read Rob Coppinger's view on the NASA's attempts to please everyone during the great change from Shuttle to CEV