‘Rocket Wash’ booster refurbishment facility - Case Study
NASA Parachute Refurbishment Facility - Kennedy Space Center, Florida
\A key feature of the Space Shuttle Program is its ability to be, for the most part, reusable. The Shuttle itself returns to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) after every mission and is processed in a very special hangar at the Orbiter Processing Facility. Two large and very important components of the system are the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs). These boosters, at about 120 ft in length, provide the power necessary to give the Shuttle the initial push to get it off the launch pad and then to escape Earth’s gravity. Together with the Shuttle’s main engines, they comprise the propulsion system for the Shuttle. Once the Boosters have done their job, in just over 2 minutes, they are jettisoned and return to the ocean with the help of giant parachutes to ensure a soft landing. Then the Boosters are picked up and returned to a specialized facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. Here, that they are cleaned, disassembled, and shipped back to Utah for reprocessing and refueling to prepare for use again in future Shuttle missions.
During the refurbishment phase, the Boosters are cleaned and washed in a facility that is very much like a huge car wash. Water with soot, seaweed, residual fuel, and other contaminants washed from the Boosters is collected and stored in large holding tanks. WaterEnergy and its affiliates were hired to design a water treatment system that would allow using this water again for the next go-around.
WaterEnergy decided to incorporate ozone into its treatment process. A technology that was in its infancy at the time. Ozone for wastewater treatment was being used but in very few applications. The water was filtered to remove suspended particles and then it was processed with ozone, using a contact mechanism, to oxidize the contaminants as well as destroy any microorganisms present in the water. The system allowed for the water to be stored and reused again and again. Ozone proved to be an extremely effective part of our solution. This cannot be overstated!
The project was a huge success and allowed the program to operate in an extremely fragile environmental area without having to discharge any of the water being used for cleaning.