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NASA Space Transportation Science

NASA's Giant Crawler-Transporter Is Getting an Upgrade 135

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Transportation Nation: "Retired space shuttles are being readied for museums, but there's one piece of equipment at the Kennedy Space Center that dates back to before the moon landing and it's not going anywhere. NASA's giant crawler transporter is the only machine with enough muscle to move Apollo rockets and space shuttles out to the launch pad, and after nearly 50 years on the job the agency's decided there's still no better way to transport heavy loads. It's about as wide as a six lane highway, higher than a two story building, with huge caterpillar treads at each of its four corners. ... Crawler two is being upgraded from its current lifting capacity of 12 million pounds — the combined weight of the shuttle and mobile launcher — to 18 million pounds, for NASA’s new heavy lift rocket."
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NASA's Giant Crawler-Transporter Is Getting an Upgrade

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  • For what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:08AM (#41260291) Homepage Journal

    If NASA thinks they are going to have a heavy-lift rocket, or even a manned space program, ever again, they obviously have not been reading the newspapers. For the next decade at least, they aren't going to do anything beyond a few GPS and communications satellites. And Elon Musk is going to grab most of that business. Joyrides are being handled by two other companies and the Russians are providing the lifts to the ISS, until that too, is deorbited for lack of funds.

    Short of a "Pearl Harbor" style incident that forces us back into space in a big way (say, the Chinese land on the moon, or a chunk of falling rock wipes out LA), the government is as committed to NASA as the average Slashdotter is committed to becoming the Pope.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:09AM (#41260317)

    I suspect they like they prefer to build rockets indoors (controlled environment, etc) and launch them outdoors (slight fire hazard, etc).

  • by Ogive17 ( 691899 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:10AM (#41260321)
    Would you want a "temporary building" housing a billion dollar investment in an area prone to hurricanes?

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