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Forum:Space Shuttles - Space Station
Topic:Final Flight: NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 911
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Originally posted by X-Plane Fan:
If all goes well, 905 should have a photo display inside the aircraft showing its long history when they begin museum deliveries later this year.
Are you referring to the string of pictures they had inside on short stands to show to tour groups? They at least had that in 911 a couple of years ago when they gave me a tour.
astro-nutDoes anyone know who the first pilots were to fly NASA911/SCA?
X-Plane FanThe first crews to fly 911 were:
  • First flight after SCA mod- 9/25/90 – crew- Arthur Beall-CP, Joe Algranti– FP, Louis ‘Skip’ Guidry Jr.- F/E, Dan Hill- F/E

  • First ferry flight (OV-105 first leg, Palmdale, CA to Biggs, TX)- 5/3/91 – crew- Arthur Beall-CP, David Mumme-FP, Frank Marlow-FP, Henry Taylor- F/E, Larry Larose- F/E
Note that Henry Taylor was also the F/E on the final flight of 911 as well as the first ferry flight.
machbustermanI was fortunate enough (along with Mark Janovec and our partners) to be allowed access to the cockpit of 911 at the 2009 Open House and airshow at Edwards AFB.

Mark snapped the pic below of me sitting in the pilot's seat.

p51I've got to ask the question, once 911 is gutted and a hangar queen, what happens if something bad happens to 905?

I can hear it now, "I'm awfully sorry we signed off the title to these shuttles to you museums, but we have no way to transport them now and there's no way congress will give us the money to get another 747 mounted correctly..."

X-Plane FanCurrently the only parts that are authorized to be removed from 911 are the engines which are in need of rebuild anyways. Not long ago, the good engines from 911 were pulled and put on 905. Until the last orbiter is delivered and 905 is retired, 911 is a primary source for spare parts to keep 905 going. After that, it becomes the spare parts bird for SOFIA.
p51Yeah, I get the idea of a hangar queen, I really do. But the question still remains; what happens if the flying 747 has some kind of issue (or God forbid, has a landing of flight accident that either crashes it outright or renders it non-flyable afterward)? That would mean the shuttles stay where they are forever and always. There's no way you could send them any other way than on the back of those 747s.

APG85I'm guessing, but I have to assume that once the shuttles are in-place in their new homes, they are not intended to be moved again. Keeping a unique 747 in flyable storage for years "just in case" would be cost prohibitive not to mention the crew qualifications that would have to be maintained...
Originally posted by p51:
That would mean the shuttles stay where they are forever and always. There's no way you could send them any other way than on the back of those 747s.
Barge? Road? All the orbiters except Endeavour were transported from Palmdale, after assembly, to Edwards via road (even though it required making sure the orbiters would clear all signs and power lines on the roads).

As noted, keeping the SCA's around just in case somewhere down the road somebody wants a shuttle moved would not be cost effective.

If one needs to be moved, it'll be moved - but I doubt you'll see a shuttle move very far from where it ends up.

Jay ChladekEnterprise as I recall was also barged for a short distance to its display site for the World's Fair in New Orleans.

Planes have been transported by ground before. At the Strategic Air and Space Museum, they got the main pieces of the B-1 sent to them by road after an agreement was reached with the USAF museum. The largest piece was the main fuselage section, which was almost as big as a shuttle orbiter itself. Besides, if rocket stages can be shipped down the river system from the Ohio river valley to Cape Canaveral AFS for launch, I think if push came to shove an orbiter certainly could be sent the other way and then trucked overland to a final destination if a need came up.

I think the flight orbiters will be fine at their final destinations. It is Intrepid and Enterprise I have the most concern with, but we shall see what happens.

When all is said and done, a few year down the road, I am curious as to what will happen to 911's SCA struts and vertical end plates on the elevators. I imagine for the near term they will be used as structural spares for 905, but when the day eventually comes for 905 to be retired, those struts from 911 would make nice museum pieces as well.

Hart SastrowardoyoWhat happened to that 76-wheeled transporter which would be used to move orbiters between the Vandenberg landing strip and the processing center? I know (or believe) it moved to KSC, but what after that?
Robert PearlmanThe 76-wheel Orbiter Transporter was moved to Kennedy Space Center and used during the space shuttle program to transport the vehicles between the orbiter processing facilities and Vehicle Assembly Building.

The Orbiter Transporter should not be confused with the Overland Transporter, which was used to move orbiters between Palmdale and Dryden. The latter is being shipped to Los Angeles to move Endeavour from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center later this year.

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