NASA TUGBOAT AND CREW PLAY CRITICAL ROLE IN ROCKET-ENGINE TESTING
Jan. 21, 2005
The crew of the NASA tugboat Clermont II navigates a barge of super-cool liquid oxygen through the 7½-mile canal system at NASA’s Stennis Space Center (SSC) in South Mississippi prior to a Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) test. Each time an SSME is test-fired for the 8½ minutes it takes to propel the Space Shuttle to low-Earth orbit, it consumes 132,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and 49,000 gallons of liquid oxygen. Since 1979, Capt. Rodrick "Rocky" Pullman and the crew of the Clermont II have made more than 7,000 fuel barge moves, more than 1,000 work-barge moves and nearly 200 weather-buoy moves – a total of almost 8,500 barge moves – without a major accident or lost barge.