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Processing and Assembly Buildings

Vehicle Assembly Building: Launch Vehicle Assembly and Processing Facility

For over 55 years the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has been a mission-critical focus at RS&H. At 3,664,883 cubic meters, the VAB is the one of the largest (by volume) facilities in the world, uniquely designed to support assembly and integration of NASA’s massive launch vehicles and spacecraft for America’s Human Spaceflight programs.

RS&H is honored to be a continuing part of the designs and modifications of KSC’s infrastructure as the Space Launch Systems Program prepares our nation’s Astronauts and spacecraft to return to space. Our most recent design projects range from upgrades and hurricane hardening of the building’s exterior, to replacement of the 230,000 square feet of roof system 525 feet above grade in compliance with new wind loads, to restoring, hardening and revitalizing the 40 plus years of wear and tear of the large exterior vertical and horizontal door systems used to allow spacecraft and launch vehicles entry and exit of the VAB, to leading the design studies and requirements for the upgrades for the 350 ton overhead crane systems used to lift and handle the critical flight hardware elements during assembly and integration.

One our most recent project our Architects and Engineers studied and designed the advanced concept work access platforms currently being installed in High Bay 3 in support of stacking and integration of the new Space Launch System, generation of launch vehicles and Orion spacecraft and satellites. These platforms provide the ultimate flexibility beyond any other in the industry, saving significant time and money during the lifecycle of the program.




Centaur Cryogenic Tanking Facility

RS&H provided final design, environmental permit applications, and construction services for a secure complex for off-pad cryogenic tanking/detanking and hypergol loading of the Titan IV/Centaur Upper Stage.The design included:

Cryogenic Tanking Cell:  A hazardous high bay building for assembly, checkout, cryogenic fuel and oxidizer loading and unloading, and hypergol loading. The cell also includes emergency exhaust systems, moveable access platforms, vehicles handling equipment, hypergol spill washdown/collection system, GN2 distribution, purge systems, and explosion attenuation.

Cryogenic Tanking Cell Support Building:  An adjacent single-story building used to support Cryogenic Tanking Cell operations. The building contains a 1,300-square-foot avionics/electrical AGE area, mechanical Aerospace Ground Equipment area, communications area, and test/maintenance areas.

Atlas V Space Operations Center

Under a design–build working relationship, RS&H provided the full design for an addition to the MIS Building, including a Mission Director’s Center and Launch Control Center. The Launch Control Center is a two-story addition, which houses the Launch Control Room, computer support rooms, and additional viewing areas. These rooms serve as the focal point for test, simulation, and launch operations control.

The new Mission Director’s Center includes conference rooms on two floors with controlled access to the Launch Control Center, as well as reception areas on the second and third floors for guests and clients. The roof level serves as a launch viewing area and has unobstructed views of all major launch complexes at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center.  

Aero Seating Technologies Manufacturing

RS&H provided architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and communications design, along with permitting services for the Design-Build for a two-building aero-seat manufacturing campus.  This includes two buildings - a 35,000-square-foot building, housing all aspects of the production process, including oversight; and an adjacent 15,000-square-foot building which serves as an administration facility.

The manufacturing building is comprised of a shop floor for production operations for manufacturing and engineering, management offices, conference rooms, shipping and receiving area with loading dock, quality labs, restrooms, reproduction rooms, and a main lobby. The administrative building contains a reception lobby, HR and executive offices, executive conference room, several general conference rooms, flex offices, warming kitchen, open-office cubicle space for administrative staff, and rest rooms.

Both buildings are constructed of load-bearing tilt-up wall panels. They also feature storefronts and facades with cantilevered tilt-up panels and a cantilevered canopy overhang. With extensive coordination and energy modeling, we were able to incorporate energy efficient elements, eliminating exterior wall insulation on the tilt wall construction, which is normally a part of the prescriptive requirements of design based on the Florida Energy Conservation Code.  This design approach provided a more durable interior surface for the manufacturing area of the building while saving on construction costs. The buildings also contains office space, quality lab, and loading dock.

Some of the design challenges involved in this project included accommodating future expansion adjacent to the new Production building, meeting a very short schedule, and addressing a complicated storefront opening. Building Information Modeling technology was utilized to resolve system conflicts early in the design process.