How Do You Move A Space Shuttle? This Thing.

How Do You Move A Space Shuttle? This Thing.

Since the Space Shuttle couldn’t very well fly itself to the launch pad, NASA had to figure out how to get $US1.7 billion worth of spacecraft from the Vehicle Assembly Building the the Launch Pad. Their solution: the 2700-ton Crawler-Transporter. Problem solved.

Standing three or four metres high, 40m wide, and 35m long, each vehicle – nicknamed “Hans” and “Franz” – consists of four sets of double tracks, each weighing nearly 60 tons (that’s one Bowhead Whale’s worth). Four 1000kW generators powering the vehicle’s traction motors – themselves powered by two 2750hp diesel engines – make the crawlers move. Another pair of 750kW generators, driven by dual 1065 hp diesel engines, provide power for the lighting, accessories and self-levelling deck.

The Crawler-Transporter gallops along the 5.6km reinforced crawlerway from the VAB to the launch site at a blistering 3.2km/h an hour (and only half that when loaded), consuming 1654 litres of diesel along the way. Since the start of their service in 1965, they’ve travelled a combined 4065km (roughly the distance between Mazatlan and Vancouver).

[Crawler-Transporter WikiNASA]

Monster Machines is all about the most exceptional machines in the world, from massive gadgets of destruction to tiny machines of precision, and everything in between.