APR 06, 2020 9:24 AM PDT

Here's How SpaceX Transports Rockets Across the Country

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Rocket launches are a common sight these days, especially given how commercial space companies like SpaceX are pioneering some of the most advanced reusable rocket technologies in the industry to lower the cost of launches for paying customers including NASA and the private sector. But while most of us get to see the rocket ignite its engines and fly high into the sky, one thing that’s often left out is the process of getting the rocket to the launchpad in the first place.

SpaceX’s Falcon rockets are manufactured in Hawthorne, California, and with the vast majority of launches taking place in Florida, you’d be right to assume that SpaceX’s rockets have a long journey ahead of them before they ever reach the launchpad. The distance between these locations is almost 2,500 miles, after all.

All the components that comprise of the Falcon 9 rocket travel to Florida on the back of large semi-tractor trailer trucks. The Merlin engines are individually sent to Texas, where they’re subjected to inspection and test firing before returning to Hawthorne. After everything is deemed working, the engines are attached to the first stage, and the fully-assembled first stage goes for a ride to Florida atop a 44-wheeled trailer.

The Falcon 9’s second stage and all of its landing gear are transported separately via different trucks, and the logistics are carefully timed to ensure that everything gets to the destination in a timely manner. Once arriving at Florida, the second stage and landing gear are attached to the first stage, after which it’s hauled over to the launchpad and hoisted horizontally where it can be prepared for launch.

Back before the days of the Falcon 9 rocket, NASA used combinations of air, road, and sea travel to transport rocket components from various parts of the country to Florida. Barges carried the first stage, while transport planes and large trucks carried the smaller components. As today’s reusable rockets are so much thinner and more road-friendly than NASA’s Saturn V, road travel has become the most applicable means of transporting components.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Father of the Dyson Sphere Passed Away
MAR 06, 2020
Father of the Dyson Sphere Passed Away
Last Friday, February 28, 2020, the world said goodbye to Freeman Dyson, was a British American physicist and mathematic ...
MAR 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Inadvertently Discovered a Black Hole
MAR 10, 2020
NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Inadvertently Discovered a Black Hole
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, a short and sweet acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification ...
APR 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Expedition 62 Returns Home From the International Space Station
APR 19, 2020
Expedition 62 Returns Home From the International Space Station
After spending several months onboard the International Space Station conducting science experiments and risky spacewalk ...
APR 30, 2020
Earth & The Environment
NASA's Laser Satellites Help Scientists Quantify Sea Ice Loss
APR 30, 2020
NASA's Laser Satellites Help Scientists Quantify Sea Ice Loss
Global climate change is melting Earth’s ice, and a recent study from NASA details how the polar ice sheets have c ...
JUN 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
JUN 08, 2020
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
There are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth today, with some residing in Low-Earth Orbit and others following a ...
AUG 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
In a Rare Event, Massive Star Disappears Without a Supernova
AUG 02, 2020
In a Rare Event, Massive Star Disappears Without a Supernova
Astronomers were studying a massive star in the Kinman Dwarf Galaxy from 2001 to 2011. When they went back in 2019 to lo ...
Loading Comments...