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Author Topic:   American Chopper's Space Shuttle Tribute Bike
Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-08-2005 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From JSC Features:
If you hear the deep rumble of a 'chopper' motorcycle around Johnson Space Center in the near future, it might be the Space Shuttle Tribute Bike, a project of a group of JSC employees teaming up with the Discovery Channel's popular "American Chopper" television show.

The Space Shuttle Tribute Bike, to be built by Orange County Choppers (OCC) of New York, will be funded solely through donations from NASA workers and individual space program supporters. Current plans are to have the bike finished by the end of April, in time to make an appearance at Kennedy Space Center for Return to Flight activities in May.

Chopper fever has been sweeping the nation in the past few years. A group here at JSC, led by Electrical Systems Flight Controller Gary Dalrymple (Barrios), came up with the idea to honor all those who make the Space Shuttles fly. Originally conceived as a tribute to the STS-107 crew, the project morphed into one that recognizes all those who work in the program -- from astronauts to program staff to the hands-on workers at various NASA centers.

"This is our way of saying it's our Space Shuttle and we love it," Dalrymple said.

The committee has developed a Web site to provide information on the progress of the bike.

The committee also sees the bike project as a great way to educate the public and excite new audiences about space exploration. They chose to have a chopper-style motorcycle built because a chopper symbolizes the hands-on, uniquely American style that is reflected in the work ethic that built the space program.

Once built, the bike may join other NASA exhibits at functions appealing to bikers such as the Sturgis Rally or Daytona Bike Week. The bike may also tour the country and be displayed at exhibitions and at other NASA centers.

"It is intended to be owned by NASA employees who have a personal investment in the space program and who often have personal relationships with the astronauts who fly the Shuttle," Dalrymple said.

With the Shuttle's retirement set for 2010, the bike will serve as a reminder of the Shuttle's years of service on projects like the International Space Station and the Hubble telescope, and the people who worked to turn those ideas into reality.

The Space Shuttle Tribute Bike Project committee is planning a maiden voyage for the chopper, starting from Ames Research Center in California and riding to KSC, visiting NASA centers along the way. Anyone may join the ride at any point along the way as long as they follow two rules: the Space Shuttle Tribute Bike must always be in the lead, and all riders must follow traffic laws to ensure safety.

The Discovery Channel plans to air two one-hour episodes of American Chopper that will show OCC building the Space Shuttle Tribute Bike.

John K. Rochester
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posted 03-08-2005 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...we need 2 SRB bikes built to ride alongside.

collshubby
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posted 03-08-2005 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for collshubby   Click Here to Email collshubby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These guys did an awesome job creating NYPD and FDNY tribute bikes. I am sure this one will be awesome as well.

------------------
Brian Peter
astronautbrian@hotmail.com

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-08-2005 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's also nice is that at Toy Fair this year, we saw a line of miniatures that were of each of the bikes they built on the show. Hopefully, we will soon be able to all own a mini-Space Shuttle Tribute Bike...

ejectr
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posted 03-08-2005 07:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I met all the OCC boys at an autograph event at a shopping mall close to their home town in NY. They had several of their theme bikes on display with them.

They were all class acts....and they all signed for free!

Cliff Lentz
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posted 03-09-2005 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That answers a few questions. On a recent episode my eye caught the image of a STS-107 crew portrait litho on the wall of the office. That's not the usual type of art that graces garage walls if you know what I mean. But this whole thing is really great. These guys always do a terrific job on every bike they build and IF they argue about it a little along the way, all the better for the show. I'm looking forward to seeing these shows.

lunarrv15
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posted 03-09-2005 11:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Avid viewer of the show. I privately thought of seeing them built a theme NASA bike.

Wonder what shape the gas tank will be... what they will incorporate on the bike.

I would like to see the gas tank have the shape of the shuttle. The NASA meatball emblem on the gas cap painted to its color.

If you have voice of the design, how would you design the theme bike?

Cliff Lentz
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posted 03-09-2005 11:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The last aviation themed bike had the cockpit as the gas tank. The painters really detailed it with everything from rivet marks to insignias. I would like to see them go in that sort of direction and pick up a similar tail assembly as they did on the other one. I don't think this will make them in danger of repeating themselves since that bike was mostly metallic silver and the shuttles are white. The only real splash of color on the assembled shuttles are the bright Orange of the External tanks. Their paint jobs usually incorporate the wrapping flames so with a shuttle project some sort of launch art using flames wrapping various parts of the bike would make sense. I hope they add the STS-107 logo somewhere prominent as well.

Rizz
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posted 03-09-2005 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dual exhaust pipes in the shape of the SRB's -no doubt about it!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-05-2005 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA.gov: Stars of 'American Chopper' visit Johnson Space Center
Although the whole team will have input, Paul Jr. will be in charge of designing the concept for the Shuttle Bike, which they will begin building next week. He hopes to have a piece of Shuttle memorabilia to use as his focal point, like a rear tire that was part of the vehicle's landing gear.

"I would love to have a piece of memorabilia to incorporate into the bike," Paul Jr. said. "I would make everything work around it."

He said that another idea is to add some space-based technology to the Shuttle Bike that is not typically seen on a chopper, such as LCD screens or even a global positioning system. However they decide to build it, it will be reminiscent of the Space Shuttle in chopper form.

lunarrv15
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posted 05-06-2005 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Direct them here. Our input is wiser.

Wonder if he is going to incorporate a middeck on the bike?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-22-2005 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photos from today's Space Shuttle Tribute Bike unveiling at Space Center Houston:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-22-2005 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More photos...

snf13
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posted 08-23-2005 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for snf13   Click Here to Email snf13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oooooh - I am sooo bummed! I had no idea they were revealing. I would have left my meeting and swung by to see it. I didn't even think they had raised enough money yet. They originally planned to do the reveal at the landing of STS-114 - but I never heard a word since the day they announced plans to build the bike. Arrrrgggghhh!

------------------
Susan

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-23-2005 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The only advance word of this event (that at least I am aware of) was in the JSC employee daily e-bulletin. There wasn't a press release or other public notice to my knowledge.

lunarrv15
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posted 08-24-2005 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Isn't the nose a shy lengthy as to the proportion with the rest of the cabin?

Tail rudder think could of been larger.

The wings could of been cut as a foot pad and larger.

Maybe replace STS-114 emblem with the memorial emblem of the three crew who died?

What's with the rear fat tires?

Scott
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posted 08-24-2005 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by John K. Rochester:
..we need 2 SRB bikes built to ride alongside
How about a couple of scaled down 2-foot long functioning SRBs mounted on the sides. An electrical signal from the key would ignite them and they'd burn for a few seconds, until you got to about 40 mph. Oh yeahhh!

WSTFphoto
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posted 08-24-2005 12:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WSTFphoto   Click Here to Email WSTFphoto     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like OCC finally "jumped the shark" with this project. Also, I'd hesitate calling this a "tribute" bike. At an estimated cost of $100,000, I think "Shuttle-Inspired Job For Hire" would be more appropriate.

snf13
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posted 08-24-2005 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for snf13   Click Here to Email snf13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lunarrv15:
The wings could of been cut as a foot pad and larger... What's with the rear fat tires?
This bike is a chopper. Choppers have fat rear tires. OCC are famous for their choppers. Wings would make it virtually impossible to shift and stabalize the bike with your legs when stopped. It has similarities to the jet bike they did. and while it may not be as creative as some of their other bikes,I think they did a good job. They were pretty set in the shape - the tank had to be the nose and the cabin, and there would have to be a rudder. They excel in the detail - can't wait to see more close-ups and watch the show they build it on. You will also get some good insight as to why Pauley chose certain aspects over others. The space shuttle is an amazing flying machine and her beauty can stop you dead in your tracks.

The bike is Discovery, not Columbia. It celebrates the spirit of the space program and draws our attention to Return-to-Flight, what is ahead, the few remaining years this fabulous flying machine has left. That is a tribute of its own.

------------------
Susan

snf13
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posted 08-24-2005 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for snf13   Click Here to Email snf13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The only advance word of this event (that at least I am aware of) was in the JSC employee daily e-bulletin. There wasn't a press release or other public notice to my knowledge.

Yea, I am off-site and have to go to a series of websites to read JSC Today. Still bummed...

sheppard
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posted 08-25-2005 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sheppard   Click Here to Email sheppard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OCC is a business. They make highly customized, built from the ground up, theme-based choppers and they get paid to do it. The shuttle bike is no different.

Their best work gets a very entertaining TV show and I look forward to this one.

$100,000 is by no means out of line; they've done more expensive work.

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Andy Sheppard

lunarrv15
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posted 08-25-2005 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by snf13:
Wings would make it virtually impossible to shift and stabalize the bike with your legs when stopped.
A foot pad was built for the Mack Tools bike.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2005 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few more photographs of the Space Shuttle Tribute Bike; taken last night at the Ballunar Festival:

snf13
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posted 08-29-2005 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for snf13   Click Here to Email snf13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert beat me to it - but you will notice there are some tiny wings on the bike. They still prohibit you from leaning too far. Speaking of foot rests, they are designed after the shuttle petals in the simulator.

That guy on the bike is my old boss - he is one of the two or three on the committee who can actually drive a motorcycle and got to ride to and from Space Center Houston. Lucky dog!

I also got some interesting scoop on the move from Columbia tribute to celebrating the spirit of the Space Program and the Space Shuttle. One of the Columbia families had issue with OCC and in general the families were basically "tributed out". So the focus shifted to Return to Flight and the workers on the ground that get the Space Shuttle flying.

I have some major detail photos I will post on a website later.

------------------
Susan

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-01-2005 06:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
American Chopper

Space Shuttle Tribute Bike 1

The OCC heads to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to get some inspiration for a NASA-themed bike. The bike will be a tribute to the space shuttle program and a memorial to the two crews that were lost in space.

On Air (ET):
OCT 03 2005 @ 10:00 PM
OCT 04 2005 @ 02:00 AM

Space Shuttle Tribute Bike 2

The guys of OCC take off to Cape Canaveral to watch the launch of the space shuttle Discovery for more research in building the NASA-themed bike. Back in the shop, Jr. continues to work on the bike while Sr. and Mikey build a model space shuttle together.

On Air (ET):
OCT 10 2005 @ 10:00 PM
OCT 11 2005 @ 02:00 AM

All times are CT (US)

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