Assembly and Testing Building

Assembly and Testing Building

 

the main building of the maintenance area of a cosmodrome, with a complex of assembly and testing equipment for degreasing of launch vehicle components after transportation to the site, for assembly and testing of individual stages, for vertical or horizontal assembly of launch vehicles, and for mounting of spacecraft. In horizontal assembly, the launch vehicles are placed on a transportation-erection unit by means of bridge cranes. In vertical assembly, the assembly of the launch vehicle takes place on the upper part of the launching system (the launch platform).

The dimensions of the assembly and testing building depend on the dimensions of the launch vehicles being assembled and on the method of assembly. An assembly and testing building for vertical assembly may be up to 160 m high. Assembly and testing buildings for very high-powered rockets are among the tallest buildings in Europe and the USA. In the case of a launch vehicle containing some solid-propellant stages, the center module, which consists of liquid-propellant stages, is assembled in the vertical assembly building. The solid-propellant stages are then joined to the center module in a special building. Preliminary assembly of prefabricated sections into solid-propellant stages is conducted in another special building (the solid-propellant booster assembly building). The assembly and testing building contains various monitoring and testing equipment, including laboratory equipment for studying instruments of the control system, ground-based power supplies, pneumatic equipment for testing tanks of the booster stages, electrical and pneumatic service lines, and cranes of various types, with lifting capacities of up to 300 tons. The assembly and testing buildings for very high-powered rockets have equipment for assembly and welding of tanks from prefabricated sections delivered from the manufacturers, and also for testing assembled tanks.

Some assembly and testing buildings are large enough to permit simultaneous assembly and acceptance testing of as many as four heavy launch vehicles. The distance from the assembly and testing building to the launcher is chosen in such a way as to safeguard the assembly and testing building in case of a rocket explosion on the launching pad or during lift-off.

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