Market Sector Aviation and Aerospace

NASA Orbiter Protection Enclosure

NASA  Orbiter Protection Enclosure

In the early stages of the space shuttle program, NASA engineers determined that it was critical to have a facility ready to house the space shuttle in the event of an emergency landing.

In 1982, NASA issued a worldwide tender for a company to design and engineer a structure that could be flown to any one of two hundred predetermined sites around the world.

The structure had to be designed to be erected very quickly and meet environmental wind and snow load conditions located at each site.

After carefully reviewing a wide number of options, Sprung Instant Structures was awarded the contract to supply this custom structure measuring 169′ (51m) wide x 250′ (76.2m) long with a height of 60′ (18.28m).


“In the event that we have to take the cargo out means that we have to open the cargo bay doors in the field. Normally to do that you are in a zero G environment here in a controlled building. We need some type of enclosure, a zero wind conditions and also environmental protection in case of the weather conditions.”
Pat Markey – NASA engineer

“We like it because its a, like I say its a one of a kind structure. We don’t know of anyone who has built one like this. It is a unique type structure. It can be put up at any place at any time.”