Happy Sci-Friday – please enjoy this video essay and 3D animation of NASA’s ‘Rubber Room,’ a safety bunker located beneath the launch pads at Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39. Watch the video and then we’ll discuss some interesting details:
When I first ran across this video, my first thought was ‘wait, is this like the rubber rooms of NYC’s Department of Education?’ Happily, the answer is no. NASA’s rubber rooms were purpose-built to address unthinkable safety issues (would you have time to escape thousands of tons of LOX and hydrogen exploding?) and reflects that period of exceptional engineering where smart guys really did try to think of and address every scenario.
Here’s some fun facts about the Rubber Room from Wikipedia: After the Apollo era ended, the rubber rooms fell into disrepair. Water pooled in the bunkers and the exit tunnels, and several species of Florida wildlife took up residence. When the launch pads were refurbished for the Space Shuttle, the bunkers were classified as “abandoned in place” rather than refurbished with the pad above. As of 2012, the pad B room was closed due to lead paint risks, but the pad A room remains accessible. When NASA leased pad A to SpaceX in 2014, the terms of the lease included a requirement that the rubber room, among other historic portions of the pad, be preserved as historical artifacts.
I hope you enjoyed this moment of scifi science! Please feel welcomed to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend! 🙂