MTA Blockhouse Repair Nov 6-7, 2021

by Dimitri Timohovich, RRS.ORG


Saturday started with bringing the loader over from FAR.

Loader and blockhouse with the old roof
Blockhouse with old roof timbers removed

Bill and Jon arrived as the demo was finishing up and we quickly jumped into removing the nuts that held the old 2x6s on top of the cinder block walls. 

It was a pleasant surprise to see that all the cells were filled with concrete.  Bill and Jon cleaned the bolts while I cut the new 2x6s and drilled new holes for the bolts to go through.

Bolts in the blockhouse walls

We attached the new 2x6s and added an additional one to the front of the blockhouse to give the roof a slope to shed rain water.  By the time this was done, it was lunch time.

Bill Inman looking at his favorite rocket power source
Another shot of the 2×6 beams installed on the blockhouse

After lunch the 1 1/8” Tongue and Groove plywood was installed.  I brought the loader over from FAR and Jon was able to send up pieces in the bucket.  The wind started to pick up and we had to fight a little to get the plywood in.  After lining it up and tapping the sheets together I screwed them down to the 2x6s.

Plywood installed on the blockhouse roof

We then used the loader to lift up a couple of the timbers into place and were able to do a test fit.  By now it was getting late and we decided to call it a day.

The first railroad timbers in place for a test fit
Discussions with our neighbors near the end of daylight
Getting the alignment right for the timbers & adding screws
Blockhouse state at the end of the first day of work

Sunday morning was dedicated to getting all the timbers up onto the roof and screwing them to the plywood and also to each other.

Working on installing the rest of the timbers
Jon Wells using the loader to lift timbers on top of the blockhouse as Dimitri moves them into place
View of the blockhouse from the vertical test stand with all the timbers installed

Keith Yoerg was able to come out for the day.  He wanted to do a couple of tests on the parachute deployment charges for his upcoming launch.

Still shot from a video of Keith’s drogue parachute test

After two successful tests (drogue and main parachutes), he jumped in and helped get lumber up to the roof, cleaning the site, and helping install the trim work.  He also received a crash course in how to drive a piece of heavy machinery and drove the loader for the first time.

Keith in the loader after learning how to operate it

After the timbers were all placed and secured, the top sheeting of 11/32” plywood was screwed down to them.  Some trim work was applied to cover up the gap created by having a sloped roof.

Picture from Saturday before timbers were installed showing the roof slope
Trim installed under the sloped roof

We tried to lay down the roofing paper, but the winds picked up and we had one of the cut sheets fly off the roof twice so we decided to leave that for next time

With a little sunlight left in the day, the USC trench was filled in before the loader was taken back to the FAR site.

Dimitri filling in the “USC Trench”
Dramatic lighting as Dimitri continues to fill in the USC Trench

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