Inside the VAB at Kennedy Space Center

News 6 gets inside look at area where rockets are assembled

The history of NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Standing at 525 feet tall is the Space Coast's most iconic building.

The Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center has enough volume to fit the Empire State building and has one of the largest American flags.

"The stripes are wide enough that a bus -- if it were laying down on the ground -- a bus could drive down one of its stripes," Elizabeth Kline, VAB Element operations manager said.

The VAB was built in 1965, originally for NASA's Apollo program.

"In the Apollo program, they would roll the mobile launcher into the VAB," Kline said.

The structure includes four high bays, 19 elevators and tons of steel and concrete.

"The floor of this building is 12 inches reinforced concrete, which is very heavy for an average floor," Philip Moyer said.

Moyer is one of the engineers and architects responsible for the buildings construction.

"This building has probably more structure in it than just about any building in the world," Moyer, a World War II combat pilot veteran said.

In order to make the building stable enough for the missions, the engineers dug 180 feet into the ground until they reached lime rock.

"Every 19 feet there are piles that go 180 feet down into the ground to touch the limestone," Kline said.

The VAB building is where rockets are put together prior to launching.

"Without this building, we would not be able to stack," Kline said. "All the pieces of the rocket would come from all over the country and we would stack in these high bays. Each piece comes in through the transfer aisle and we hook it to these large cranes. Then we lift it all the way up to the 16th floor -- higher than the 16th floor -- from the transfer aisle into this high bay and we set on top of the mobile launcher."

Recently, one of the four high bays got brand new platforms for NASA's new mission, Artemis, which will return American astronauts to the moon.

"Artemis is the sister to Apollo and it's also the great god of the moon," Kline said.

The VAB has a total of four enormous doors in each high bay. Considered to be the largest doors in the world, each measures 456 feet high. Once the space craft is ready, it's rolled out those doors and taken to the launch pad for lift off.

Most will be surprised to learn what else rolls in through those open doors on certain humid days.

"If there's fog in the morning, it will roll in and you can actually see the fog inside the building," Kline said when asked if the rumor about the VAB having its own weather is true.

“It doesn’t actually rain or form clouds inside the building.”

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.