vabthen-andnow

Despite its closure in 2011 the Vehicle Assembly Building (or VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre still holds the distinction of being one of the largest single story buildings in the world thanks to its mammoth size at over one million cubic feet. To give you a sense of just how big that is, the interior can form rain clouds below the ceiling on exceptionally humid days. The building as a result has not only a moisture reduction system to minimize the gathering of condensation, but over ten thousand tons of air conditioning equipment and if absolutely necessary can completely recycle the building’s air in just one hour. Built to withstand the storms that frequent the Florida coast, the most extensive damage it has so far withstood came in 2004 when three successive hurricanes battered the building for over $700,000 in repair costs. Originally built in 1966 to accommodate the vertical assembly of the Apollo program’s Saturn V rocket, once the Shuttle program was a reality it would become the storage facility for the external fuel tanks and flight hardware and where the Space Shuttle would be mated to these platforms, before being finally transported to one of the launch pads. Maintenance and overhauls on the shuttle were also performed here. In the future the Vehicle Assembly Building is intended to continue assembly of space vehicles which will now include commercial launches, and as of 2013 has begun a $140 million renovation of the VAB in preparation as the specific vehicle requirements are being developed.

vab-exterior

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vab-interior