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Video | New software gives ‘behemoth’ space shuttle safe passage through LA

jpl nasa cropped

Permit officials in Los Angeles have used new software to determine a safe route over many bridges for the ‘behemoth’ ET-94 space shuttle fuel tank.

The enormous 29.5t fuel tank which is 47m long, took 19 hours to make the 27km trip through the streets of Los Angeles to its new home at the California Science Centre.

The new software programme, called the Bridge Capacity System, has a database of the load carrying capacity of about 5,000 state and local bridges in five counties including LA and Santa Barbara. Using the software allowed the officials to easily plot a safe route over the bridges on its journey.

“It will flag which bridges it is crossing over and under and flag which ones this particular vehicle are safe to cross,” said LA County Public Works design division associate engineer Tera Haramoto.

The team said that it has now got plans to expand the project to a further 11,000 bridges in 48 counties and 482 municipalities. 

A state official said that the software could be used to process transportation permits for oversize and overweight vehicles, and avoid accelerated degradation of structures. 

“Previously you’d have had to go through on a map and find every single bridge and then go to find the data for the bridge, so it was very time consuming and tedious,” said Haramoto. “Now we’re able to do it automatically.”


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