PRIME performed a comprehensive structural, mechanical, and electrical condition assessment of the B-2 Test Stand at the Stennis Space Center. The B1 and B-2 Test Stand is a dual-position, vertical stand capable of static firing a test rocket up to 33 feet in diameter. The B-2 Test Stand is 295 feet tall and is equipped with a 200-ton main derrick lifting crane. The B-2 Test Stand, which has been used to test the Saturn V rocket and the space shuttle, is the largest rocket test stand in the country. It resides in a campus of 118,000 acres to provide an acoustic buffer zone and a safety zone around the facility.
To perform the assessment, PRIME engaged the services of a rigging contractor to assist its engineers in accessing parts of the stand which cannot be reached without some sort of temporary lift. PRIME engaged a concrete contractor to break out concrete in areas of suspected reinforcing steel corrosion and then patch the concrete after the inspection has been completed. A special detail was used for construction joints and has failed to perform; 3/4 of a mile of that joint will be removed to allow for inspection and the joint will be put back.
Testing laboratories performed tests in situ and on coupons removed from structural members and pipes to determine the extent of corrosion and evaluate the metallurgy. PRIME determined what repairs and improvements were needed, summarized them, and estimated cost and how long the work would take. The final report details the structural, mechanical, and electrical work which must be done along with associated estimated costs and schedules so that NASA can proceed with an organized approach to restoring Test Stand B2 to its fully rated capacity of testing rockets with 11,000,000 pounds of thrust. PRIME’s assessment is the first step in upgrading Test Stand B for service in the development of a heavy lift rocket for the Mars mission.