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48 tons of glass hoisted to top of Space Needle

The construction team is utilizing a system that includes a crane and a robotic glass placement machine.

Crews took another step forward in the Seattle Space Needle’s $100 million renovation project.

Earlier this week, a gantry crane was installed on the tower’s observation deck and began lifting 48 glass panels, weighing more than a ton each, to the top of the Space Needle. The panels will serve as the exterior of the observation deck.

If you’ve traveled the top of the needle in previous years, you noticed a cage-like structure on the exterior, and that will soon be replaced by the glass.

In order to complete the task, the construction team is utilizing a system that includes a crane and a robotic glass placement machine. The panels will first be hoisted 520 feet in the air because they can’t fit in the needle’s elevators. Then, they will be put in place by the robotic machine.

Related: Crews begin installing glass floors at the Space Needle

Related: Space Needle renovations take big step forward

The multi-year project began in September, and the first phase is expected to be completed by June.

The Space Needle was first built in 1962 for Century 21's World Fair. Executives expect the improvements to keep the Seattle landmark relevant for the next 50 years.

This is the third renovation in the needle's history. Crews hope the renovation will achieve the LEED silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Related: Seattle rings in 2018 with New Year's at the Needle

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