This answer to What are those tilting/rotating platforms called that hold spacecraft during assembly, testing, and sometimes transport? quotes this Weld Plus website as follows:

(The) Aronson Trolley Positioner...was specially designed by NASA to assemble and “Float on Built-In Air Pads” a 2 billion dollar spacecraft that was launched in late December 1999

Thee is a NASA spacecraft shown in images in that link, but I don't know if that's actually the spacecraft in question or not, so I'll defer to answers to look into that possibility.

Question: For which "2 billion dollar spacecraft" did NASA "specially design" an Aronson Trolley Positioner in 1999?

That's a lot of money for a spacecraft! The "120,000 lb. Aronson Trolley Positioner" was "built in 1995" and rated for

  • Rotation Load Torque: 1,440,000 in-lb
  • 2,880,000 in-lb

so at least we know it's bigger than a breadbox but smaller than a Space Shuttle.


I nominate "Terra" launched in December 1999. 2 billion dollars is a bit of a stretch perhaps - the press kit says $1.3B, but excludes a bunch of stuff.

does not include ground system cost nor the cost of the Canadian or Japanese instruments

The Terra instrument(s) annotated as CERES in this picture...

enter image description here

...match well to this picture from the Weld Plus website in the question (annotation mine).

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ maybe it's time for a "space-detective" badge? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 23 '19 at 1:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "identify-this-object" tag badges serve pretty well. Working on the silver! $\endgroup$ Sep 23 '19 at 1:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.