Historic NASA launch pad gets a makeover

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017, 5:06 PM EST

An out of this world makeover is nearly complete at the Kennedy Space Center where space shuttles and Saturn V rockets once flew.

  • Refurbishing work to historic Pad 39B almost complete
  • Will be 'clean pad' for next generation of rockets
  • First launch for Pad 39B set for 2019

Work continues to refurbish historic launch pad 39B, which hasn't seen a launch since the shuttle days a decade ago.

The makeover is turning it into a 'clean pad', for any type of next generation rocket headed to space, utilizing a mobile launcher that can be fitted inside the VAB away from the corrosive Atlantic Ocean air, then rolled to the pad.

“You get really great access, in an enclosed facility. And you minimize the time you are exposed to the elements,” said Regina Spellman, NASA Deputy Project Manager.

Work to replace the flame trench that withstands the intense heat of a launch is complete, along with updated electrical and communications systems.

Right now, the first test launch for NASA's new heavy lift rocket from Pad 39B is set for 2019.