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Independence Plaza

Independence Plaza is the newest landmark attraction at Space Center Houston, the official visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas, featuring the historic Shuttle Carrier Aircraft "NASA 905" and the replica space shuttle "Independence." Guests can go inside both the jet and the orbiter to explore the exhibits inside.

Latest Coverage
January 23, 2016

Mission accomplished! 747-space shuttle exhibit launches in Houston

Under a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," Space Center Houston officials celebrated on Saturday (Jan. 23) the opening of Independence Plaza, a new $12 million exhibit featuring NASA's historic space shuttle-carrying jumbo jet topped by a full-size mock-up of the iconic winged orbiters.

With astronauts in attendance and flag-carrying skydivers having just landed nearby, the officials counted down to a spectacular daytime fireworks display to launch the eight-story-tall exhibit and welcome the public to begin boarding both vehicles.

"With the ability to walk through both air [and spacecraft], you will experience a behind-the-scenes look at life in the shuttle era," said Richard Allen, the president and CEO of Space Center Houston. "It is a visitor experience that can't be found be found anywhere else in the world."

January 22, 2016

Bigger on the inside: First look at Houston's new 747-shuttle exhibit (photos)

A large sign outside the entrance to Space Center Houston promotes the six-story-tall centerpiece of the new Independence Plaza as "bigger on the inside."

Starting on Saturday (Jan. 23), the public will have a chance to see for themselves as general boarding begins of the largest single artifact saved from NASA's space shuttle program: the original Boeing 747 jumbo jet that ferried the shuttle orbiters across the country between missions. Making the 8-story-tall exhibit even bigger is the addition of a full-size space shuttle replica.

"It is a world-class [exhibit]," said Frank Marlow, who was among the NASA pilots who flew the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. "It was such an honor to fly it."

January 18, 2016

Astronauts and skydivers to help celebrate Houston 747-shuttle exhibit opening

The countdown is on to the grand opening of Houston's newest landmark — a $12 million, eight story tall attraction dedicated to the largest single artifact saved from NASA's 30-year space shuttle program.

Independence Plaza, featuring the space agency's original Shuttle Carrier Aircraft — a modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet — topped by a full-scale model of a space shuttle orbiter, will open on Saturday (Jan. 23) at Space Center Houston, the visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center. A full day of special activities will celebrate the attraction, which has been almost four years in the making.

"Join us Saturday, when the colossal new Independence Plaza opens with fireworks, skydivers, astronauts, hands-on science activities and live presentations," Space Center Houston announced on its website.

Article Archive

August 12, 2015

Launch date set for Space Center Houston shuttle carrier aircraft attraction

The countdown is on to the launch of a new eight-story-tall attraction dedicated to telling the history of NASA's space shuttle and the jumbo jet that was used to ferry the fleet of winged spacecraft across the country.

May 17, 2015

Chuck Norris delivers punch of support for space shuttle exhibit at Houston gala

Chuck Norris Fact #905: Before NASA used a 747 jet to ferry its space shuttles, Chuck Norris carried the orbiters on his back. That may or may not be true, but Norris did help land a punch of support for the exhibit of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in Houston.

August 18, 2014

Houston, you can see a space shuttle from here (photos)

Exiting the interstate onto Houston's NASA Parkway, drivers first catch view of it — its black-and-white tail visible over the trees. It is not every day you see a space shuttle on your daily commute.

August 14, 2014

[Photos] Rise of Independence: Mock shuttle hoisted atop NASA jet

It was not quite the blast off, but a full-size, replica space shuttle rose into the sky over Houston to be mounted on top of a historic NASA jumbo jet. The crane-enabled flight of the "Independence" was in support of Space Center Houston's display of NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

July 23, 2014

Public invited to see space shuttle 'lift off'... and land atop jet at Space Center

The countdown has begun for the liftoff of a space shuttle from Houston — and you are invited to take a front row seat. On Aug. 14, Space Center Houston's shuttle replica, the "Independence," will be hoisted by crane on top of NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

July 3, 2014

Photos: Inside Independence: Houston's space shuttle replica

Space Center Houston is offering a first look inside the space shuttle Independence. The official visitor attraction for NASA's Johnson Space Center provided a walkthrough of the high-fidelity shuttle orbiter replica, prior to its hoisting atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

April 30, 2014

NASA shuttle carrier aircraft arrives 'home sweet home' after Houston road trip

Houston, the SCA has landed. The original of NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), a modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet that for three decades flew the agency's orbiters coast to coast, completed a two-night eight-mile road trip to Space Center Houston.

April 29, 2014

Photos: Shuttle Carrier Aircraft's 'big move' to Space Center Houston

NASA's space shuttle-carrying jumbo jet is on the move. Two years after its final orbiter ferry flights, NASA 905, the space agency's original Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, set off on a two night road trip to Space Center Houston, where it will go on public display.

April 28, 2014

NASA shuttle carrier jumbo jet ready to roll on Houston road trip
March 31, 2014

Dates set for move of NASA shuttle carrier aircraft to Space Center Houston
March 6, 2014

NASA's shuttle-ferrying jet dismantled for move to Space Center Houston
December 18, 2013

Photos: Space shuttle Independence moves at Space Center Houston
December 17, 2013

Space shuttle parking shuffle: Mock orbiter moved in Houston for jet display
November 27, 2013

Space shuttle replica vandalized, sprayed with graffiti in Houston
October 5, 2013

Houston's space shuttle replica christened 'Independence'