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Custom Bearings for NASA’s SLS Vehicle Assembly Building

Bearings for NASA’s SLS Vehicle Assembly Building

While the Space Shuttle program officially retired its vehicles in 2011, the Kennedy Space Center is far from idle. The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), originally completed in 1966, is seeing new life. The VAB is undergoing a thorough update to accommodate NASA’s next project: a gigantic booster known as the Space Launch System (SLS). The SLS is to be the largest booster ever constructed; it will have 10 percent more power than the original Saturn 5 rockets used to power the Apollo missions to the moon. In order to construct such an ambitious project, it’s vital to have the best assembly structures available.

Self-lubricating bearings from Lubrite Technologies are essential for the SLS, and all future construction projects will occur inside the VAB. This building was originally constructed to accommodate the Saturn V rocket, featuring expansive dimensions that include a height of 526 feet, a depth of 716 feet, and a width of 518 feet. The VAB contains 129 million cubic feet of space, allowing it to contain some of the largest construction projects imaginable. For any vehicle that has been or will be launched from the Kennedy Space Center, assembly takes place in this building.

For the construction to occur on this level, it is necessary for the building to contain movable structures to accommodate the assembly. The movement of these structures is achieved through Lubrite bearings. Our products were used in the original design and engineering of the VAB, and we were contracted again for the new moveable assembly platforms. At Lubrite, we offer a unique combination of experience, expertise, and state-of-the-art machinery to fulfill large scale construction requirements. Our highly experienced engineering staff designs all of the customized bearings; we also operate our own foundry, as well as a large number of high precision CNC machines. These capabilities allow us to manufacture our world renowned self-lubricating bearings. With our help, NASA was able to fabricate the new assembly platforms in an accurate and timely manner, creating the ability to construct even the largest rockets and boosters for future space projects.

For more information about the bearings used in this project, or to find out how Lubrite can fulfill your specialized needs, please contact us directly.