The Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has been a landmark to the technological advancements of sending men to the moon and astronauts into space for more than 45 years. But the VAB, as it is best known, is due for major renovations to continue processing launch vehicles and support the subsequent launching of a new generation of astronauts into orbit and deeper into space than ever before.
"This is home improvement, VAB style," said Jose Lopez, who is managing the effort to refurbish a structure that was once the biggest in the world. "We're going for more flexibility and reliability with modern equipment. That building has many systems that haven't been touched up since it was built (in 1965)."
Although the work is massive simply because of the scale of the VAB, Lopez said now is the time to do it and take advantage of the pause in rocket processing that is to end in a couple years. Before another generation of rocket processing kicks in, Lopez said, the VAB must be outfitted with everything it needs to host these rockets and spacecraft assembly for another 40 years.