NASA has selected Orbital ATK Inc. of Dulles, Virginia, to begin negotiations on an agreement to use High Bay 2 in the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The prospective property use agreement, which also will include a mobile launcher platform, reflects Kennedy’s transformation to a multi-user spaceport supporting both government and commercial organizations.
“Over the past few years, the people of Kennedy have worked diligently to transform the center. We are now a true multi-user spaceport supporting a variety of different partners successfully,” said Bob Cabana, Kennedy director. “We look forward to working with Orbital ATK in the future to help expand the capabilities of this unique, historic asset.”
NASA will remain the primary user of the VAB for the Space Launch System and Orion programs. If an agreement is negotiated, NASA will act as the overall site operator for the facility.
The potential agreement is the result of a competitive Announcement for Proposals the agency released in June 2015.
The VAB, a national landmark, was completed in 1966 for the assembly of the Apollo/Saturn V moon rockets. For 30 years, it acted as the final assembly point for all space shuttle missions. The building is 525 feet tall and 518 feet wide.
Essentially a large steel box, a mobile launcher platform measures 160 by 135 feet. The platform’s surface features wide openings that align with a space-bound vehicle’s engines and direct the rocket’s blast into the flame trench below.