Feeds

NASA's Ares V may crush Kennedy crawlerway

Heavy lifter too heavy for road to the stars?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The budget for NASA's Constellation programme - comprising the Orion and Ares vehicles - looks like it may have run to a few billion cubic metres of road surfacing after the agency admitted the Kennedy Space Center crawlerway over which spacecraft are trundled to their launchpads could collapse under the weight of the Ares V heavy lifter.

According to Flight Global, the 40-year-old crawlerway comprises at its thickest point "200mm of river gravel that is on top of 900mm of compacted limerock, which is in turn on top of two layers of 'select fill' that is up to 1.1m deep in total".

While this is more than adequate to support the crawler-transporter, mobile launcher and Space Shuttle, weighing in at 7.7 million kg (16.9 million lb), or indeed a Volvo S70 loaded with a full crew of 13, it could feel the pressure once the 10.9m kg Ares V hits the road.

A Constellation "vertical integration element risk assessment" admits: "Given the projected weight of the Ares V vehicle, mobile launcher and transporter, the total weight is about 33 per cent higher than the crawlerway has ever supported. There is a possibility that the crawlerway could fail to support the load, resulting in severe impacts to the Constellation programme."

Since NASA administrator Michael Griffin in July said that budgetary constraints on the Constellation programme mean the agency doesn't have enough cash to "tear down all our buildings and build new ones to fit a new architecture", it has decided to deploy a "mitigation plan" designed to "collate data and analysis to establish 'confidence levels' on the effects of loading [the crawlerway] beyond 8.1m kg and perform loading tests". ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.