Tag Archives: VAB

Orbital ATK negotiating lease for part of VAB

The competition heats up: Orbital ATK has begun negotiations with NASA for possibly leasing part of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for use in connection with a military rocket.

Virginia-based Orbital ATK is one of two rocket companies that launch resupply missions to the International Space Station, but this deal would not involve those missions or that rocket, the company’s Antares. The Antares launches from NASA’s space port at Wallops Island, Va., carrying the Orbital ATK Cygnus capsule.

The new rocket that Orbital ATK hopes to develop and one day assemble in the VAB would be a medium- to heavy-lift rocket.The planned rocket currently referred to by the name the Air Force set for it, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class rocket.

It sounds like Orbital ATK is putting together a bid to compete for the Air Force rocket contract, and needs to get a handle on the costs for using the VAB at Kennedy in order to make the offer credible.

If you want to see the inside of NASA’s gigantic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), you better hurry. Tours cease in February.

If you want to see the inside of NASA’s gigantic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), you better hurry. Tours cease in February.

Tours into the VAB have only occurred during gaps in the American space effort. I was lucky to visit Florida back in 1977, after the end of the Apollo program and before the start of the shuttle program, so my tour went inside the VAB. For the last few years, since the shuttle’s retirement, interior tours resumed.

The tour is worth it. If you can find the time and money, get down there now!

VAB to be opened to tourists for the first time in years

The Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral is going to be opened to tourists for the first time in years.

Back in around 1977 I was down in Florida for that year’s science fiction Worldcon convention. At one point we went out to the space center to take the tour. Since this was after Apollo but before the shuttle, the VAB was then part of the tour, and they took us inside at the ground level so we could look up into its vast height. Hopefully, the new tours will let the tourists see more.