X-1R Lubricant Keeps These Massive Crawlers Moving

Most of us have moved house at one point in our lives. But just try to wrap your head around this: what if you need to move 12 million ...



Most of us have moved house at one point in our lives. But just try to wrap your head around this: what if you need to move 12 million pounds—that’s about 5.4 million kilogrammes—from one place to another? Yes, millions! It IS a ginormous task indeed.

And that task happens when NASA has to transport a fully assembled Space Shuttle and the Mobile Launcher Platform from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad. The vehicle used for the task is a crawler and it is 131 feet long, 114 feet wide, and 20 feet high, and features eight tracks fitted with 7.5- by 1.5-foot shoes that help roll the massive vehicle with its payload.

For more than 50 years, these giant crawlers have carried NASA rockets and spacecraft to the launch pad. It is such a massive piece of machinery that it consumes 1 gallon every 42 feet—that is a staggering 475 litres every 1.6 kilometres! These crawlers were built in 1965 and they provide NASA with the necessary equipment for space exploration.

In 1994, NASA and Lockheed Martin Space Operations, the aerospace company which helps NASA develop launch systems, commissioned X-1R to create a lubricant that would be safe, biodegradable (yes, because Kennedy Space Center is a wildlife refuge), sustainable for long, arduous trips and can be subjected to abuse in extreme temperatures.

Image credit – NASA/Amber Watson

The sheer magnitude of the crawler leaves you speechless.


After intensive R&D, the team at X-1R presented the lubricant to NASA, and it was put through extensive testing; when applied to these gargantuan crawlers, it was more than capable of helping these machines run smoothly until their destination. As a result of this, X-1R products have spawned a whole generation of lubricants for the automotive, industrial, agriculture and many other sectors.

A few weeks ago, X-1R shipped drums of the crawler lubricant to Jacobs Engineering, NASA’s operations and maintenance vendor. Jacobs Engineering has offices throughout the world in industries such as aerospace, defense, telecommunications, transportation, automotive, utilities, mining and others.

This affiliation with NASA and its partners, coupled with excellent products, consolidates X-1R’s reigning position in the marketplace. After all, having your product as the ONLY lubricant classified as Certified Space Technology and inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame speaks volumes. What competition?

So, whenever you see an image of the Space Shuttle taking off into orbit, remember that X-1R helped make it happen and continues to do so.

Image credit – NASA/Amber Watson.


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