In the early morning at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, preparations are underway to lift the final large steel beam for installation on the base of the Mobile Launcher, or ML, at the Mobile Launcher Park Site. The ML is being modified and strengthened to accommodate the weight, size and thrust at launch of NASA's Space Launch System, or SLS, and Orion spacecraft.
In 2013, the agency awarded a contract to J.P. Donovan Construction Inc. of Rockledge, Fla., to modify the ML, which is one of the key elements of ground support equipment that is being upgraded by the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program at Kennedy. The existing 24-foot exhaust hole is being enlarged and strengthened for the larger, heavier SLS rocket. The ML will carry the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft to Launch Pad 39B for its first uncrewed mission, Exploration Mission-1, in 2018. Photo credit: NASA/Daniel Casper