Renovation of the Russian Federal Space Agency’s legendary RKA Mission Control center was completed in April 2019. The Penetron System of crystalline products played a key role in helping rehabilitate the facility’s compromised concrete foundation.
Russia has been a leader in space exploration since the Space Age began over 60 years ago. In 1961, Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man to venture into orbit around the Earth. Today, the country still launches astronaut ships (such as Soyuz) and satellites (in cargo ships, such as Progress) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and hosts crews on the International Space Station.
However, like NASA's famous Mission Control in Houston in the USA, the RKA Mission Control Center (TsUP or ЦУП) in Korolyov, about 17 miles northwest of Moscow, has been the center of Russia’s (previously Soviet Union) space programs and today’s Russian Federal Space Agency. The Agency recently commissioned a wide scale repair and upgrade program for the TsUP facility.
“It’s a well-kept secret that the Penetron System was the technology behind the rehabilitation of the legendary RKA Mission Control Center,” beams Igor Chernogolov, President of Penetron Russia.
The Penetron team was called into the project during the planning phase to assess how to best repair and renovate TsUP’s deteriorated concrete structures. Most of the repair work was focused on the foundation and below-grade concrete. After an inspection of the facility and careful review of the project plans, Penetron proposed a comprehensive application of topical crystalline materials to bring new life into the structures – and allow the work of the Mission Control Center to continue.
After the concrete surfaces at the TsUP were cleaned and prepped, all visible cracks were opened and cut back to sound concrete, and then filled with PENECRETE MORTAR for protection against water ingress. Used in combination with PENETRON for filling non-moving cracks and construction joints, form-tie holes, honey-combed areas and structurally damaged concrete, PENECRETE MORTAR, which reacts with minerals in the concrete to form insoluble crystals, is applied in layers. These crystals create a permanent barrier to prevent groundwater and water-borne chemicals from entering the concrete.
In a final step, PENETRON, a crystalline waterproofing material, was applied in slurry form to the surface of TsUP’s below-grade concrete structures. The resulting chemical reaction – as with PENECRETE MORTAR – generates the insoluble crystalline network that fills the micro-cracks, pores and capillaries. This growth takes place deep inside the concrete matrix, relatively far from the initial point of application.
“It’s important to note that the effects of surface-applied PENETRON are internal. The slurry coating is a delivery system for the active crystalline material to migrate and grow into the concrete. This allows PENETRON to provide protection for the entire service life of the concrete structure,” adds Igor Chernogolov. “Any cracks that develop at TsUP during the lifetime of the concrete are self-healed by the crystalline formations when exposed to water. Mission accomplished.”