June 15, 1998
Johnson Space Center, Houston
The Johnson Space Center’s new Sonny Carter Training Facility Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, used by astronauts to train for spacewalks, will be honored with the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 1997 Texas Outstanding Civil Engineering Award in a ceremony at the facility June 16 at 3 p.m. News media are invited to attend this event.
In presenting the award, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) cited the complexity of constructing the facility and noted that the pool was built inside of an already-existing building not originally designed for such use. The excavation for the pool removed almost 28,000 cubic yards of dirt for a training pool measuring 28.5 feet deep, 112 feet wide, and 212 feet long. The pool floor is built from concrete 6 feet thick; the floor and walls include more than 1,300 tons of reinforcing steel, including 319 miles of steel tie wire; and a total of almost 7,000 tons of concrete were used in construction. The pool extends 20 feet below ground and 20 feet above, and a 28,000 square-foot pool deck was built to house training offices, control rooms and mechanical equipment. Construction of the facility was a project of the structural engineering firm Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc. and began in 1995.
"The ability to successfully revamp an existing building for another, drastically different use is a substantial accomplishment that reflects well on the engineering profession," the ASCE stated. "The complex engineering plan required to make this challenging feat a reality serves as an important reference for any engineers faced with comparably difficult … projects."
The ASCE is the nation’s oldest and largest engineering society, and the organization represents more than 120,000 civil engineers worldwide. David M. Schnurbusch, ASCE president, will present the award Training began in the 202-foot long, 102-foot wide and 40-foot deep pool in 1997. The facility, which is almost three times larger than JSC’s previous pool and the largest enclosed diving tank in the U.S., is used to accommodate training for the spacewalks that will assemble and maintain the 350-foot long International Space Station in orbit over the next 15 years.
Media planning to attend the award ceremony should arrive at the facility’s main entrance, 13000 Space Center Blvd., no later than 2:45 p.m.
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