Friday, October 10, 2008
Ares/Orion Lightning Protection System
Yesterday afternoon I went to pad 39B to help work an issue with Endeavour, which is currently scheduled for launch (STS-126) on November 14.
Pad 39B is undergoing modifications to support the Constellation Program's Ares I rockets. One of the major additions to the pad is the lightning protection system which is designed to reduce the probability of a direct lightning strike to the vehicle and associated launch equipment during processing and other pre-flight activities.
The three steel towers are going to be 595 feet (181.4 meters) in height and after talking with some of the guys out at the pad, they said a gigantic crane is going to be shipped over to KSC around November to help stack the tower segments. The crane is going to be so huge that it is being shipped disassembled. Estimated completion date is March of 2010.
The is an artist's conception of the final construction of the three towers.
Click here for an animation of the lightning protection system.
Walking back to the car, I stopped to take an overall picture of the pad and to my left...was this guy....