Kamag transporter moves Orion spacecraft

By Mary Kanian and Julian Leek27 April 2021

The refurbished transporter is owned by NASA and stationed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

It stands to reason that the very latest in rocketry would require the very latest in transporters. Space missions are being upsized to do more, as in longer journeys into deep space as well as the “short-hops” as in going to the moon. Again.

The refurbished Kamag transporter is owned by NASA and Jacobs Test and Operations Support Contract (TOSC) and stationed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It can carry approximately 172,000 pounds of payload, moving along on 24 wheels on 12 bogies. Photos: ©Julian Leek

Everything old is new again as components in all facets of rocket design, building and transport to the point of launch are all under revision and updated.

The latest “bells and whistles” are not at all cosmetic but, rather, have the capability to fill an array of fast-changing needs and requirements for highly sophisticated and complex manned and unmanned missions.  

Technological advances are integrated into tried-and-true hardware in the Kamag Transporter that NASA uses to move the Orion Spacecraft. This was originally termed the Payload Canister Transporter (PCT) and was used for the Space Shuttle Payload Canister and related payloads and is now renamed the Spacecraft Transporter (SCT).

Readapted and renamed 

Manufactured in Germany in 2000-2001, the refurbished transporter is now owned by NASA and Jacobs Test and Operations Support Contract (TOSC) and stationed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Here it has been readapted and renamed SCT to transport the Orion Spacecraft, European Service Module (ESM) and Launch Escape System to and from the Complex 39 Processing Facilities. Surprisingly few modifications were needed to adapt it for Orion’s use.

The SCT picks up and carries the entire Orion/ESMOTP Stack.

The unit can carry approximately 172,000 pounds of payload, moving along on 24 wheels on 12 bogies (two wheels per bogie) while using diesel over hydraulic to propel, steer and jack the transporter between facilities.  

Moving into and out of facilities, the SCT is plugged into facility 480 Volt AC power.  An electric motor drives the hydraulic pump for propel, steering and jacking. There is a pallet that supports the Orion/ESM stack and the Orion Transport Pallet (OTP). The SCT then picks up and carries the entire Orion/ESMOTP Stack to and from the LC39 Processing facilities.

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