a giant leap forward bechtels key milestone powers nasas moon mission ambitions 384

Science and Technology

A Giant Leap Forward: Bechtel's Key Milestone Powers NASA's Moon Mission Ambitions


Benjamin Hughes

May 10, 2024 - 19:50 pm


Soaring Success: Bechtel Completes Integral Phase for NASA's Artemis Campaign

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ – Bechtel, a global leader in engineering, procurement, and construction, has announced a significant achievement in the progression of NASA's Artemis program. The jacking and setting of Mobile Launcher 2 at Kennedy Space Center has been successfully completed, marking a pivotal moment in the ambitious journey to return humans to the Moon. This operation is part of the meticulous process to design, build, and commission the new mobile launcher, and it signifies the culmination of concerted efforts and innovative engineering in alliance with NASA's crawler-transporter team.

The crawler-transporter serves as an extraordinary vehicle that carries critical hardware for the Artemis campaign across the space center's sprawling complexes.

A Historic Engineering Feat

The Bechtel team has completed one of the project's most instrumental milestones, the "Jack and Set" operation, on May 9, 2024. This endeavor involved raising the colossal 2.6-million-pound launcher base above 20 feet, moving it a distance equivalent to a football field, and settling it securely at an operational height of 25 feet. To achieve this engineering marvel, the project demanded a combination of exceptional skill, meticulous planning, and unwavering dedication, all of which were displayed by the combined forces of Bechtel and NASA.

A collaborative spirit and commitment to safety were paramount throughout the undertaking. Bechtel and NASA's Exploration Ground Systems teams prioritized the reduction of potential risks, opting to assemble the primary steel of the base at a lower elevation. This strategic decision paved the way for an ingenious procedure to later hoist the primary steel to full height utilizing NASA's crawler. With the base elevated, attention now turns to the installation of vital electrical components and pipelines in anticipation of the mobile launcher tower's construction late in 2024.

The "Jack and Set" process began with the precise assembly and alignment of the 43 primary steel elements that form the launcher base's core structure. Utilizing Four Self-propelled Motor Transporters, the team lifted the base to facilitate the removal of temporary mount mechanisms and the positioning of eight jacks around the base's perimeter. Once elevated to 18 feet, the crawler-transporter crew maneuvered beneath the launcher base, relocated it roughly 200 feet, and finally, inserted the base pins into the permanent mount mechanisms. This delicate operation spanned a week and necessitated a meticulous and well-coordinated effort.

Paul Podolak, Bechtel's Mobile Launcher 2 Project Manager, highlighted the unwavering emphasis on the craft professional team's safety that guided the assembly process. Podolak praised the team for their comprehensive approach to designing the base, securing critical materials, and fostering a culture of safety. With an unyielding dedication to the project's success, the team looks forward to delivering this critical asset to the Artemis mission.

Future of Lunar Exploration

Mobile Launcher 2 is destined to support the Artemis IV mission and subsequent lunar explorations. Designed for the more powerful Space Launch System (SLS) Block 1B rocket, it will facilitate the delivery of vast cargos, including lunar Gateway modules, as well as crew transportation to the Moon. Towering at 390 feet, the Mobile Launcher 2 will surpass its predecessor in both height and width. It will introduce a new umbilical arm to accommodate rocket transport and launch activities. This next iteration encapsulates the insights gained from the Artemis I mission and is being meticulously crafted by Bechtel, consistent with their reputation for precision engineering.

Commemorating an Engineering Milestone

Further illustrating the project's complexity, the assembly of the mobile launcher's base involved 43 intricate lifts, tracking back to August 2023 and concluding in March 2024. Local businesses played an instrumental role, with suppliers from four states providing the specially fabricated steel integral to the base's structure. Bechtel's commitment to community engagement earned it the 2024 Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in Construction from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

In terms of economic impact, Bechtel has made considerable local contributions, with procurements surpassing $100 million in the surrounding area and over $425 million nationwide. These partnerships extend across 33 states, reinforcing Bechtel's dedication to creating a positive and lasting impact within the local and national economies.

The jacking system, which comprised four Self-propelled Motor Transporters equipped with a total of 56 axles, and eight strategically placed jacks were pivotal to the successful elevation of the launcher base. Moreover, the crawler that played a vital role in the "Jack and Set" process is an enduring legacy of NASA's Apollo missions, embodying more than half a century of space exploration history.

About Bechtel

As a trusted engineering, construction, and project management partner, Bechtel serves diverse market sectors, including Energy, Infrastructure, Manufacturing & Technology, Mining & Metals, and Nuclear, Security & Environmental. The company remains distinguished by its talented workforce, unwavering commitment to successful outcomes, and alignment with clients' visions. Since its inception in 1898, Bechtel has facilitated over 25,000 projects across 160 countries, contributing to job growth, economic expansion, and the overall global good. Learn more about Bechtel's enduring legacy and its efforts to enhance global infrastructure at

Contact Information:

Reach out to Jordan Vinson for more information on Bechtel and their contributions to the Artemis program. Email: [email protected] | Phone: +1.385.380.6223

Striving for the Stars: Bechtel and NASA's Stalwart Partnership

Both Bechtel and NASA showcase their leadership in space exploration and engineering by pushing the frontiers of what's possible. This collaborative effort demonstrates their combined technical prowess and strategic foresight. The partnership epitomizes the determination and innovation needed to conquer new realms within our solar system.

This synergistic union is not only about engineering precision but also about the aspiration to reach new frontiers. It is a quest that goes beyond mere exploration, aiming to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon and potentially one day on Mars. Such endeavors necessitate supreme confidence in the infrastructure being built, a responsibility that Bechtel embraces wholeheartedly.

Mobilizing Mobile Launcher 2 is just one of the numerous tasks being orchestrated in preparation for Artemis IV. Yet, the significance it holds for the future of space exploration cannot be understated. In this era of ambitious space endeavors, the monumental success of this project component marks a new chapter in our celestial journey, one that secures Bechtel and NASA's roles as harbingers of the next phase of human discovery.

Navigating the Path Ahead

With the successful completion of the "Jack and Set" phase, the focus now shifts to the arduous journey that lies ahead. The installation of electrical systems, pipework, and the erection of the mobile launcher tower are tasks of remarkable complexity and scale, demanding the highest level of expertise and coordination. The upcoming milestones promise to be just as challenging as this feat, if not more so.

As Bechtel continues to bridge the gap between terrestrial construction and aerospace innovation, it reinforces the ethos of resilience and forward-thinking that are crucial to taking humanity to new worlds. The Artemis campaign is more than a return to the Moon – it is a symbol of human tenacity and a beacon that illuminates our path to the stars.

Looking Forward to Artemis IV and the Future

Ensuring the success of Artemis IV will undeniably require a herculean display of ingenuity and cooperation similar to what has led to the Mobile Launcher 2's "Jack and Set" milestone. Each stride Bechtel makes in concert with NASA brings us closer to once again touching the lunar surface and eventually beyond. The investments made in technology and collaboration bear witness to a collective commitment to advancing human capabilities in space.

Bechtel's accomplishments within the Artemis program exemplify the company's legacy of tackling the most demanding projects and an unwavering pursuit of excellence. As the world eagerly anticipates the next lunar landing, the triumphs and trials of this transformative journey remind us of the boundless potential of human endeavor when coupled with vision and unparalleled skill.

SOURCE Bechtel

In conclusion, Bechtel's successful completion of the critical "Jack and Set" operation for Mobile Launcher 2 signifies a momentous step in humanity's return to the Moon under the Artemis program. This collaboration between Bechtel and NASA marks a testament to their collective expertise, dedication, and visionary approach in overcoming the myriad challenges of space exploration.