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NASA’s Massive Rocket Crawler-Transporter-2


NASA’s Crawler Transporter 2 was officially designated by Guinness World Records as “the heaviest self-powered vehicle,” at a March 29, 2023, ceremony at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.The crawler-transporters, formally known as the Missile Crawler Transporter Facilities, are a pair of tracked vehicles used to transport spacecraft from NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) along the Crawlerway to Launch Complex 39.

source/image: NASA/Jim Grossmann

The crawler-transporters carry vehicles on the mobile launcher platforms used by NASA, and after each launch return to the pad to take the platform back to the VAB.The crawler weighs approximately 6.65 million pounds, which is equivalent to about 15 Statues of Liberty or 1,000 pickup trucks.

source/image: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Each track has 57 shoes, and each shoe weighs 900 kg (1,984 lb). The vehicle measures 40 by 35 meters (131 by 114 ft). The height from ground level to the platform is adjustable from 6.1 to 7.9 m (20 to 26 ft), and each side can be raised and lowered independently of the other. The crawler uses a laser guidance system and a leveling system to keep the Mobile Launcher Platform level within 10 minutes of arc (0.16 degrees; about 30 cm (1 ft) at the top of the Saturn V), while moving up the 5 percent grade to the launch site.


As of 2003, each crawler had 16 traction motors, powered by four 1,000 kW (1,341 hp) generators, in turn driven by two 2,050 kW (2,750 hp) V16 ALCO 251C diesel engines. Two 750 kW (1,006 hp) generators, driven by two 794 kW (1,065 hp) engines, were used for jacking, steering, lighting, and ventilating. Two 150 kW (201 hp) generators were also available to power the Mobile Launcher Platform.

Time-lapse video shows crawler-transporter No. 2 traveling from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.