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Archive for Tuesday, October 8, 2002

t go back up until at least Thursday

October 8, 2002

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The mission to put the Ad Astra statue atop of the Kansas Capitol dome has been scrubbed until possibly Thursday afternoon.

"NASA has trouble too, sometimes, getting things to work right the first time," said Ben Bauman, a spokesman for Kansas Gov. Bill Graves.

Bauman said the contractor for the project, Gregg Lynch of J.E. Dunn Construction Co., announced Tuesday afternoon that repair work would continue through Wednesday to the base of the 22-foot-tall, 4,420-pound bronze statue.

"They're kind of giving themselves a little bit of leeway by shooting for Thursday afternoon. So when it goes back up there next time it won't come back down," Bauman said.

Ad Astra, a statue of a Kansa Indian shooting a star toward the heavens, was placed on the Kansas Statehouse dome Monday afternoon.

But five of the 17 massive bolts that hold it in place wouldn't fit correctly. So Ad Astra was brought down late Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the statue was placed on its side next to the 450-foot-tall crane, to make it easier for workers to get to the base.

Bauman said the five bolts that were the problem had to be cut off and the holes with the bolt fragments had to be drilled out. New ones would have to be inserted and threaded, he said.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Lynch said they had removed three of the five bolt fragments they couldn't get to tighten down.

The contractors were waiting to get more drill bits to bring in to finish the project.

Bauman said the governor has been kept informed about the progress on the statue.

"His words to the contractor are something to the effect, 'Take your time and make sure it gets done right,'" Bauman said.

What could have caused the misalignment?

Bauman said the thick stainless steel plates that must mate to hold the statue on the dome had been aligned perfectly at the Colorado foundry. But they may have become warped by the heat from welding, he said. The plates are two inches thick.

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