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Now’s Your Big Chance To Use NASA’s Shuttle Launcher Platforms

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Posted August 23, 2013

If you’ve got a new use for the mobile launcher platforms NASA used for the shuttle program, the agency is all ears.

NASA invited government and commercial entities to submit their ideas for the platforms, which used to ferry the space shuttles and the Apollo rockets from the Vehicle Assembly Building to their launch pads.

Atlantis begins the slow journey to Launch Pad 39A from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in preparation for the launch of STS-79 in 16 September 1996. This dramatic view looking directly down onto the shuttle stack atop the Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) and crawler-transporter was taken from the VAB roof approximately 525 feet (160 meters) above the ground. In view are the Orbiter, orange External Tank and twin white Solid Rocket Boosters. Credit: NASA

Atlantis begins the slow journey to Launch Pad 39A from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in preparation for the launch of STS-79 in 16 September 1996. This dramatic view looking directly down onto the shuttle stack atop the Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) and crawler-transporter was taken from the VAB roof approximately 525 feet (160 meters) above the ground. In view are the Orbiter, orange External Tank and twin white Solid Rocket Boosters. Credit: NASA

The ideal for NASA is to make them available for commercial launch activity. “Interested parties are requested to provide the following … estimated annual launch manifest, plans for retrofitting, storing, transporting, estimated schedule for acquiring use of the MLP(s), and the length of time the MLP(s) would be required for a particular activity,” the agency stated in a request for information.

Other options for the platforms could include modifying them for use in oil rigs, artificial reefs or even museum exhibits. Deconstruction is also being considered.

Each of the three platforms is two storeys tall, weigh 8.2 million pounds, with a platform of about 160 feet by 135 feet.

Responses are due Sept. 6 and you can check out the RFI here.

Source: Universe Today, story by Elizabeth Howell

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