On March 15, I was lucky enough to spend the day at Kennedy Space Center for the SpaceX-3 NASA Social. It was also my third chance to step foot into NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), the fourth-largest structure in the world by volume. I’m not sure how many non-NASA employees can say they’ve stepped inside the VAB more than once (or at all), so I was even more excited to learn that we’d get an entire hour inside the building.

NASA tour escort Greg Hale did a great job leading us through the tour in a very non-rushed way, telling stories about his experiences and sharing facts about the building. The absolute highlight of the tour was being able to go up to the 16th floor catwalk of this massive 55-story building. I must admit: even the elevator ride was fun; just thinking about the small number of people who had ever been given the access to do the same thing.

My fascination with the VAB is the amount of history that this building has seen. It was originally built for the Saturn V rocket for the Apollo program, then came the Space Shuttles, and now the conversion to handle commercial spacecraft as well as the next generation Space Launch System (SLS). The VAB is such a symbol of that NASA can do – it’s size, breadth, amazingness (shush, it’s a word), and ability to withstand and adapt.

Check out my photos below or you can see my full photo set here. 

The group entering the VAB.
The group entering the VAB. This view with the American flag gets me every time.

 

A sign in the VAB elevator.
A sign in the VAB elevator.
Walking across the 16th floor catwalk in the VAB.
Walking across the 16th floor catwalk in the VAB.
The view from the 16th floor catwalk in the VAB.