Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo flight, Mammoet successfully transported the Apollo 4 capsule, from the NASA Stennis Space Center in Pearlington, Mississippi to the nearby Infinity Science Center where it will be put on public display for the first time in five years. The ten and a half foot tall command module made the first unmanned, “all-up” test flight of the Saturn V rocket. The nine hour flight demonstrated the S-IVB third stage restart and tested the heat shield upon reentry.
Before moving the historic piece, Mammoet had to put together a detailed plan to get the capsule from the first floor of the Space Center six miles away to the second floor of the Science Center. Early in the engineering phase, several challenges were identified including floor loading on a hollow platform, tight clearances and working around obstructions that could not be removed such as HVAC ducts.
On the day of execution, the module was lifted from its location in the Space Center with forklift, transported over the road by trailer to the Infinity Science Center where it was set on castors and rolled into the building. Mammoet proceeded to set up a skid track on top of a mobile gantry system and placed the module on the system with a forklift. The alignment of the gantry, skid track, and lifting orientation with the forklift were all critical in avoiding the HVAC ducts. The gantry was then walked 50 feet to the second floor overhang to skid the capsule into position. With fractions of an inch of clearance around the ducts, the team worked efficiently to skid the capsule off of the gantry and in to place.
“The Mammoet team was extremely professional in their execution of the move. Equally important, the project plan was flawless as there were no perturbations to the plan during execution. I would highly recommend this company to anyone attempting a move of a priceless artifact, large or small. I can’t say enough good things!”