Launch Vehicle Processing

in the Vehicle Assembly Building

The VAB was the central location for assembly and initial test of the Saturn launch vehicles at KSC.

Stages arrived at KSC by barge (S-IC and S-II stages) or by the Super Guppy airplane (Instrument Unit and S-IVB) and were taken to the VAB.

The S-II and S-IVB stages were checked out in test cells in the VAB Low Bay. The S-IC stage was erected onto the Launcher/Umbilical Tower (LUT) in one of the High Bays and checked out there.

The VAB has four High Bays. Only three were used during the Apollo program.

The Transfer Aisle bisects the length of the VAB Low Bay and High Bays. An overhead 175-ton crane moved stages along the Transfer Aisle to a point outside the High Bay where the Saturn was being stacked. Then a 250-ton crane hoisted the stage into the High Bay and placed it onto the Saturn.

The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)

S-IVB in Low Bay checkout cell

S-IB and S-IVB stages in storage in Low Bay checkout cell

Sections coming soon:

Launch vehicle checkout

Stacking a Saturn V

Mobile Launcher

Umbilical Tower

Integrated testing