Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  What's next for the Shuttle Training Aircraft?

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   What's next for the Shuttle Training Aircraft?
GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 06-08-2011 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone heard of what the fate of the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STAs) will be?

I know that they are used at times for transport but with the pilot side being configured as a shuttle station the number of qualified pilots for the left seat will dwindle. This would limit their usage to the point that the dollars per flight hour would be cost prohibitive to operate (in my estimation).

328KF
Member

Posts: 829
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 06-08-2011 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think they should be put "on a stick" at various NASA facilities... at a 22 degree downward angle with everything hanging out!

Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1017
From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 06-09-2011 06:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pawn Stars!

Fezman92
Member

Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 06-09-2011 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Pawn Stars!

A guy walks in. "Yea I have these NASA planes for sale." Chumlee: "You have a Space Shuttle?"

They would have no clue and with no paperwork, they wouldn't buy it.

Rusty B
Member

Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 06-09-2011 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know the name of the astronaut involved in the STA incident below? From Wikipedia:
2003 Dec 2: NASA Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft - engine thrust reverser fell off aircraft in flight: A NASA Gulfstream II shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) was flying a series of simulated shuttle landings to the Kennedy Space Center shuttle landing facility. Onboard the aircraft was an unidentified NASA astronaut pilot and two training personnel. The aircraft was on final approach at 13,000 feet when onboard instruments indicated a malfunction on one of the jet engine thrust reversers. The aircraft landed safely. A post landing inspection showed that one of the 585-pound, 4 foot wide, 5 - foot long thrust reversers had fallen off the aircraft. Divers later found the thrust reverser on the bottom of the nearby Banana River. An investigation showed that a bolt failed, causing the part to fall off the aircraft.

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 06-09-2011 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the official report:

Simulation Pilot – Chris Ferguson

  • NASA 944 Loss of Thrust Reverser occurred due to loss of attaching clamp integrity
  • Previous loss of reverser occurred due to improper seating of attaching ring (BAC-111 at Love Field)
  • Attaching found bolt in cowling (post incident)

Rusty B
Member

Posts: 239
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 06-09-2011 09:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that info. Is the report available online?

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 06-10-2011 05:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rusty B:
Thanks for that info. Is the report available online?

Not that I am aware.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-15-2011 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA has announced the disposition of its four shuttle training aircraft (STA):
STAs will be displayed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Dryden Flight Research Center in California, and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The fourth STA is being released from NASA property through the General Services Administration, not necessarily as an artifact but rather as a functional aircraft.

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 08-15-2011 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...not necessarily as an artifact but rather as a functional aircraft.

Thanks for the news Robert. Interesting how they would do that. I am assuming to be used for research flying under an experimental ticket. These aircraft have flown on a modified maintenance schedule and not flying under the FAA. Also as I mentioned in the opening the aircraft would need to be flown by a shuttle rated pilot.

You may think that the aircraft could be de-moded back to a normal GII but that would cost more than just buying a good used GII with an interior.

I am still offering my yard for storage.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-02-2011 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fourth Shuttle Training Aircraft has been awarded to the Texas Air & Space Museum in Amarillo.
A space shuttle training aircraft once piloted by Rick Husband is taking one last flight — to Amarillo.

Because NASA has discontinued the shuttle program, the training aircraft is no longer needed, said Richard Clark, chief of aircraft operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The space agency had four training aircraft and gave one to the Texas Air & Space Museum, 10001 American Drive, near Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.

NASA officials are scheduled to deliver it Thursday from Houston, and a few days later the aircraft will be available for public viewing, museum operations manager Richard Warner said.

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 09-02-2011 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A great home for a great aircraft. I am so glad folks get to walk in and see the cockpit (equally glad that they are not gutting the aircraft).

X-Plane Fan
Member

Posts: 125
From: CA, USA
Registered: Jul 2007

posted 09-02-2011 07:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for X-Plane Fan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dryden just received theirs for display.
Shuttle Training Aircraft to be Retired at NASA Dryden

NASA 944, one of four Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft, arrived at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center from the Johnson Space Center in Houston Aug. 19 in preparation for its retirement and eventual static display.

Space shuttle astronauts flew the highly modified aircraft on practice landing approaches to runways at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California and White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico during the more than 30-year history of the shuttle program. The modified G-IIs were capable of simulating the flying characteristics of the unpowered space shuttles during their steep final approach to landing.

With the conclusion of the space shuttle program, all four Shuttle Training Aircraft are being retired at various NASA facilities around the country.

Jay Chladek
Member

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

posted 09-05-2011 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Obviously it is wishful thinking on my part since shuttle training profiles in the STA are no walk in the park even for experienced shuttle pilots, but wouldn't it be cool if pilots could get a chance to fly shuttle approach profiles in the STA? Talk about the ultimate gut check during that final descent from about 20,000 feet to about 200 feet in about ohhh, two minutes or so?

Spaceguy5
Member

Posts: 400
From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 05-30-2013 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's some more specific information about where the STA's are now:
  • NASA 944 - Awarded to the Dryden Flight Research Center, last flew to Edwards AFB on Aug 19, 2011. I couldn't find any information on when it will be put on static display.

  • NASA 945 - Awarded to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, last flew to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Intl. airport on Sep 22, 2011. According to this website, I do not believe it has been delivered to Huntsville yet. However they mention that it has been disassembled for shipment.

  • NASA 946 - On display at the Texas Air & Space Museum, last flew to Amarillo Intl. airport on Sep 21, 2011

  • NASA 946 at the Texas Air & Space Museum has been resting in place off the flight line ever since it was delivered. It's no longer flyable as NASA removed the APU (as well as a few fire extinguishers, a few emergency oxygen masks, the coffee pot, and some of the computer equipment). Also because the APU is removed, NASA 946 can only be powered through battery power, meaning that the museum can only lower the stairs on special occasions. However the museum has built a set of wooden steps to allow visitors to tour the aircraft through the baggage door at the rear of the plane. The museum recently acquired new land to move NASA 946 to an in-door display, however I couldn't say when that will happen as funding is an issue.

  • NASA 947 - Awarded to Space Center Houston, last flew from KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility to Ellington Field on May 14, 2010. I couldn't find any information on when it will be put on static display.

p51
Member

Posts: 771
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 05-30-2013 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spaceguy5:
NASA 945 - Awarded to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center
I have checked with some folks at Huntsville, and the current plan is to display the STA in the same area as the 'Pathfinder' shuttle stack.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-30-2013 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spaceguy5:
NASA 947 - Awarded to Space Center Houston
I'm fairly certain that Space Center Houston has relinquished the STA due to its SCA project. I'll double check.

Spaceguy5
Member

Posts: 400
From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 05-30-2013 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Houston did relinquish it, I wonder who will take it and how they'll get it. Since it hasn't flown since 2010, NASA 947 very likely wouldn't be in flyable condition anymore, so the only option would be to disassemble and freight it. Meanwhile, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center seems to be having trouble raising money just to freight their SCA about 100 miles. Hopefully 947 doesn't get stuck in storage limbo.

Headshot
Member

Posts: 182
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 05-30-2013 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too bad they did not think about selling rides in those things. $XXXX for a ride as a passenger, $XX,XXX for the pilot's seat.

It would have been a real rush to experience a shuttle-like landing ... even if it was not in a real orbiter.

Spaceguy5
Member

Posts: 400
From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 05-30-2013 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it's a shame that they can't even at least be powered on anymore; visitors can't see the instruments, MFD's, and HUD in action, plus as I previously mentioned, opening the stairway is a hassle--it can be lowered without power, but it needs to be hydraulically raised, and the battery can only do that so many times before it needs recharged.

In 2010, I got to visit a maintenance hangar at Ellington Field where they were servicing one of the STA's (I don't recall which). They had everything powered on, and even just being able to sit in the seat, see all the instruments on, and look through the HUD was a great experience.

Even before NASA removed 946's APU, they gave the museum explicit instructions not to fly nor even move the plane, with the STA still remaining NASA property for at a minimum 5 years from delivery. They also reserved the right to cannibalize any parts off of it. For example one day they flew in all the way from Houston just to claim a few fire extinguishers.

For the summer, I'm volunteering at the museum to give tours through the STA, and guests overall seem a lot less interested in crawling through the baggage door to walk through a dark aircraft. Even explaining to them the history of the aircraft--how it was used, and the fact that it was the same aircraft that delivered STS-51L's crew to the cape--most guests seem disinterested because of the lack of visual aid.

I really wish the museum would have thought to request an ACES suit when NASA was retiring them through the GSA, as that would have been an amazing addition to the cockpit. Eventually I want to put a couple mannequins dressed in flight suits in the commander and instructor pilot seats.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-30-2013 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
It would have been a real rush to experience a shuttle-like landing ... even if it was not in a real orbiter.
A private aircraft operator is now offering a similar experience at (well, over) the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center.

fredtrav
Member

Posts: 913
From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 05-31-2013 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why would they have flown 945 into Birmingham instead of into Huntsville?

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement