ULA Selects Orlando Firm to Support Commercial Crew at Launch Complex 41

Photo Credit: Alan Walters / awaltersphoto.com

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – In preparation for the company’s efforts to have astronauts launch to orbit atop United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket, the Colorado-based company has tapped Hensel Phelps Construction Colo., based out of Orlando, Fla to assist ULA with program management contractor support at ULA’s facilities at Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Over the past decade some 33 Atlas V rockets have successfully lifted payloads to orbit. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / awaltersphoto.com

ULA is currently working on the third phase of NASA’s commercial crewed program, Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap). Hensel Phelps has inked a 21-month deal with ULA to modify the launch facilities at SLC-41 in preparation for crewed missions. Hensel Phelps’ responsibilities cover a wide range of requirements. Design, requirements development, cost and schedule projections and risk mitigation for modifications – all of these will fall under Hensel Phelps purview.

“Hensel Phelps is excited about teaming with ULA and their partners on the modifications of SLC-41,” said Hensel Phelps’ Vice President, Kirk Hazen. “It is an honor and privilege to be a part of the next generation of human space flight.”

The efforts could aid a region heavily impacted by the end of the space shuttle program. It is hoped that an estimated 250-300 jobs could be created. These would predominantly be construction and aerospace-related fields.

“Hensel Phelps brings significant experience working major construction projects including the original construction for Atlas V at SLC-41, as well as Atlas modifications at SLC-3 in California,” said Dr. George Sowers, ULA’s vice president of Human Launch Services in a press release issued by the company. “We are honored that The Boeing Company with its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft has selected our flight-proven Atlas V launch vehicle and will be our partners as we move into this next phase of development.”

Hensel Phelps will help ULA with a number of changes that need to be made to Launch Complex 41 before the pad is ready to support crewed missions. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian

One of the more interesting aspects of Hensel Phelps job will be the design and development of the crew access arm and tower that will allow crews to enter into one of the two spacecraft that have had the Atlas V launch vehicle selected as the rocket of choice to send them to orbit.

ULA’s Atlas V has been chosen by two of the three company’s contributing spacecraft under CCiCap. Both Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) capsule-based system, as well as Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser® space plane design will fly atop one of the venerable Atlas rockets.

“With 33 successful missions spanning a decade of operational service, the commercially developed Atlas V is uniquely qualified to provide launch services for the Crew Transportation System,” said Sowers. “We look forward to working with Hensel Phelps to take the next steps in launching crew from SLC-41 and providing safe and reliable crew launch services as early as 2015.”

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