Space Needle Cleaned for First Time in 46 Years

June 30, 2008

Seattle's best-known landmark and popular tourist attraction is overdue for a cleaning. The Space Needle, which hasn't been professionally cleaned since its 1962 World's Fair opening, is currently undergoing intense exterior cleaning. According to Peter Beck, acting CEO at the Space Needle LLC, "The Space Needle is an important icon and is recognized around the world as a symbol of Seattle - we are excited to make it shine."


German company Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG is donating its cleaning services to the Space Needle, and will use ecologically friendly methods, involving hot water and high-pressure washers. A team of three highly qualified rappelling professionals descends from the top of the structure, and a rope-access safety supervisor mans the ropes and rappelling equipment from above.

The cleaning takes place at night, from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day, so that the tourist attraction can remain open for the duration of the cleaning project. The unique shape of the Space Needle makes the task challenging, and working in the dark is another problem. Seeing the difference between the cleaned and yet-to-be-cleaned surfaces requires the use of headlamps, and the risk of rappelling in the dark is minimized by using the redundant system of gear in place for the cleaning professionals.

If the notorious Seattle weather cooperates, cleaning should be complete by the end of July.

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