Fire Suppression System Protects Giant Crawler Transporters

Stat-X fire suppression system
Fireaway LLC
Minnetonka, MN

When NASA Kennedy Space Center’s fire safety experts decided to replace the fire suppression system in the giant twin crawler transporters that bring the space shuttle from the assembly building to the launch pad, they selected the Stat-X firefighting system for enclosed spaces, a clean, compact system that suppresses fire with condensed aerosol technology. The system kills fires quickly without harming the environment.

NASA has ordered Stat-X generators for three areas in both its crawlers. Approximately 100 fire suppression units will be installed in the control areas, machine rooms, and communications rooms of the crawlers, which carry space shuttles to the Kennedy launch pads for liftoff. The crawler transporters are two of the world’s largest moving machines. They are complex environments with a great deal of equipment packed into tight spaces, which makes the piping for gaseous fire suppression systems very cumbersome and expensive.

The Stat-X installations in the NASA crawlers will tie to two different types of smoke detection systems: aspirating systems and triple infrared (IR) sensing flame systems. Canisters containing Stat-X, the aerosol agent in solid form, are installed in the enclosed spaces. If fire breaks out, the aerosol-forming compound is activated, creating a micron-sized aerosol that suppresses the fire within seconds. The aerosol generators are self-contained extinguishing units and act as their own storage, production, and delivery devices, with a highly stable solid charge of aerosol-forming material contained inside stainless steel canisters. Upon activation, a controlled burn begins inside the canister, producing the ultra-fine aerosol, which exits through discharge ports in the canister. Chemical interaction with the flame’s free radicals provides rapid fire suppression. This system is simple and doesn’t require pressure vessels, piping, or nozzles, minimizing space and maintenance requirements.

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