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  Transporting the space shuttle tail cone

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Author Topic:   Transporting the space shuttle tail cone
Lee Brandon Cremer

Posts: 55
From: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-15-2008 09:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lee Brandon Cremer   Click Here to Email Lee Brandon Cremer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know how the tailcone used in the original ALT Program and now used for transporting the shuttle atop the SCA, is/are transported when not in use?

Does the tailcone breakdown? Is it carried in the SCA?

Are there more than one of them?

Finally, can anyone point to where documentation can be found regarding the tailcone?

I've covered the shuttle since 1977 in some form or another and I have never heard an answer to this one.

Jay Chladek

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 12-15-2008 10:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The tail cone is capable of being broken down and transported inside a USAF transport aircraft (C-5 and C-17 as I recall).

Two tailcones were built. One dated back to the original ALT program while as I recall the second one was built after Challenger and it was made so it could be utilized on orbiters featuring the drag chute modification at the base of the tail (Endeavour was built with it and Columbia was the first orbiter modified with it while Discovery and Atlantis didn't get the mod until early 1990s OMDP refits). After all four still flying orbiters got the dragchute, the first tailcone was retrofitted for use with the drag chute housing and both tailcones are practically identical to one another today.

What I just posted is from memory and might not be 100% correct (don't have my references handy). But I read it in the Dennis Jenkins hardcover shuttle book. If you don't have that book in your collection, then your shuttle reference collection is NOT complete.

All times are CT (US)

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