NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building getting a makeover

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Workers at Kennedy Space center began removing shuttle era work platforms from the vehicle assembly building to prepare the building for the next generation of space flight.

The building, collectively referred to as the VAB, is where engineers would mount the orbitor on top of the external tank of the space shuttle.

Now that the shuttle program is defunct, the building has to be upgraded to house a veriety of rockets as well as be able to accomodate the needs of the private sector of the space industry.

The deputy project manager in charge of the makeover, said it's actually a silver lining from the death of the shuttle-era because the builing was desperately in need of an upgrade.

"Actually, it's more like a home improvement project on steroids. Ultimately, the upgrades will allow more flexibility and reliability, as well as a safer environment, to service vehicles for the next forty years of space exploration," wrote Jose Lopez.

The refurbishment process is a challenge because the 46 year old structure contains a lot of piping and wiring that has well outlived it's intended life span.

The facility was historically a government-only launch complex, built for the Apollo program and then accomodating the shuttles, but now Nasa said the VAB will have to serve as "spaceport bustling with activity involving government and commercial vehicles alike."

Read more about the refurbishment at NASA's website.

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