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  [Discuss] Preparing the orbiters for public display (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Preparing the orbiters for public display
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-22-2011 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the topics ...focused on status updates, reader's feedback and opinions have been moved to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss the orbiters' safing and modifications as NASA prepares to transfer the shuttles to museums for display.

mjanovec
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posted 06-22-2011 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Crews in Orbiter Processing Facility-1 complete the removal of space shuttle main engines No. 2 and 3 from Endeavour using a specially designed engine installer, called a Hyster forklift
Hyster is the name of a forklift manufacturing company... kind of like Boeing is the name of an airplane manufacturer. Hyster forklifts are commonly found in manufacturing plants and warehouses all over the world.

I would be curious if this forklift used for this duty does have a specific name, though. Certainly, the attachment that connects to the main engines is somewhat unique... and likely custom built.

MrSpace86
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posted 06-22-2011 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will the arm not be attached to Endeavour again? If not, are they going to "gut" the payload bay as much as possible since it will not be open to be viewed by the public?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-22-2011 09:44 PM     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 MrSpace86:
Will the arm not be attached to Endeavour again?
The Canadarm that flew on Endeavour's final flight is the same that was the first to fly on STS-2. As such, it is being returned to Canada for eventual public display.

NASA hasn't said anything that would suggest there are plans to "gut" Endeavour's payload bay and the California Science Center has yet to say whether it will display the orbiter with its bay doors open or closed.

kr4mula
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posted 07-14-2011 12:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it just me, or are these some of the saddest (non-tragedy) pictures to come out of the space program?

One of these magnificent birds, now flightless, with a bandage on her nose, engines gone and replaced by plastic, mismatched tiles and thermal blankets. Very symbolic, I suppose.

Without knowing the context, you'd think Discovery was left forgotten in some aircraft graveyard.

mjanovec
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posted 07-14-2011 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kr4mula:
One of these magnificent birds, now flightless, with a bandage on her nose, engines gone and replaced by plastic, mismatched tiles and thermal blankets.
It appears to me that nothing has been done with the tiles and thermal blankets that is different from how Discovery flew. Tiles and blankets were routinely changed out as needed. As such, you often have new tiles and blankets next to older (and dirtier) ones. It gave the orbiter kind of a weathered and patched-together look.

But to me, that's how it's supposed to look. If they replaced all of the tiles and blankets with clean-looking examples for display, it would not be an "authentic" look for a well-flown orbiter.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 07-14-2011 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kr4mula:
Without knowing the context, you'd think Discovery was left forgotten in some aircraft graveyard.
Not quite. Without knowing the context, I'd think it's an orbiter being prepped for flight, like the photos of Columbia pre-STS-1.

GoesTo11
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posted 07-14-2011 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
*sigh*

Spaceflight Now: Discovery leaves hangar to make room for Atlantis

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 07-14-2011 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kind of like Enterprise entering Spacedock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...

Have or are they doing any kind of heat shield inspection, or since none of the orbiters are being prepped for flight, are any tiles that normally would have been replaced (e.g., dinged or missing) left as is?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-14-2011 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Standard post-flight inspections of the thermal protection system were completed to gather the engineering data, but according to NASA, the tiles and thermal blankets will be left as is.

ilbasso
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posted 07-14-2011 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Don't look at me! I'm hideous!"

ea757grrl
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posted 07-14-2011 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Not quite. Without knowing the context, I'd think it's an orbiter being prepped for flight, like the photos of Columbia pre-STS-1.

Exactly. Right now I'm looking at two pictures on my hard drive of Columbia after her final OMDP, circa 2001. She's sitting all alone in the VAB and looks almost identical to how Discovery looks at the moment (in fact, Columbia looks worse in these photos because some of her thermal blankets were missing).

I wish I could remember where these photos came from, for I'd offer a link. But when I saw these pictures, I immediately thought of those, as well as some I have of Endeavour in similar shape in 2005.

dabolton
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posted 07-14-2011 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will they be putting back on the original OMS and RCS module, minus the interior plumbing? The originals have the matching wear of years of flight as the rest of the vehicle. They would have to 'age' any fake components.

OV-105
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posted 07-15-2011 01:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Discovery looks like she did before they started preping her for STS-26, or Columbia after 51-L before they started to take the "dice" tiles off and put the blankets on the sides.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-15-2011 03:36 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 dabolton:
Will they be putting back on the original OMS and RCS module, minus the interior plumbing?
Yes — the forward RCS module and OMS pods will be reinstalled once their servicing is complete at White Sands Space Harbor.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 08-11-2011 06:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttles Discovery and Endeavour passed by each other on Aug. 11, 2011, pausing for a unique "nose-to-nose" photo opportunity outside Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3).
That's what happens when you let men drive the orbiters... should of let Sandy Magnus a turn at the wheel and you wouldn't have two orbiters facing each other.

frank3si
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posted 08-11-2011 10:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for frank3si     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tomorrow (8/12) is a major lay-off day at KSC. I can't imagine what it was like for many of those people who've taken care of these orbiters to see them today like this...

Jay Chladek
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posted 08-12-2011 03:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see those window covers (or are they temporary plugs to replace the windows until they are reinstalled?) and the cross pattern on them reminds me of a cartoon where if you saw a dead creature, it had big black "X"s in place of the eyes. It is just weird seeing the vehicles looking like this.

Henry Heatherbank
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posted 08-12-2011 05:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those photos of Discovery and Endeavour are kind of like the last time two wheelchair-bound geriatric siblings ever see each other, before going off to separate nursing homes (and eventually dying). The last time they will be together. Very sad.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-12-2011 05:25 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 Jay Chladek:
I see those window covers (or are they temporary plugs to replace the windows until they are reinstalled?)
The window panes are still there; they are only covers used to protect the panes while inside the orbiter processing facility.

frank3si
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posted 08-12-2011 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for frank3si     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the opportunity to visit Discovery in the OPF in June. Thinking back in context of the photos released yesterday, I'm sure her condition was almost exactly the same then as now. But within the cramped confines of the OPF, her overall condition was not so obvious. In the harsh light of day...

tegwilym
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posted 08-12-2011 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I heard about this photo shoot and as hoping for something really glamorous. I was at least thinking they would have had something on their noses, and not the "dead cartoon cat" eyes. Poor things, they look like just empty shells now.

crowe-t
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posted 08-12-2011 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for crowe-t   Click Here to Email crowe-t     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The SCA/Enterprise will be landing at JFK International Airport. JFK is practically in my backyard so I know where I'll be that day. I never saw a shuttle being ferried so I'm getting excited to see this.

Spaceguy5
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posted 08-13-2011 04:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's sad seeing the orbiters in this condition with no RCS modules nor engines.

Jay Chladek
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posted 08-13-2011 10:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Technically most of the shuttles in their career have been without SSMEs or OMS pods (the FRCS and OMS pods are kept at the hypergolic maintenance facility when not on the orbiters). We just never got to see them outside of the OPFs before. Even when an orbiter was sent to Palmdale for an OMDP, they were fitted with a dummy forward RCS and OMS pods.

When we see them at the museums though, they should look more like their former glory from missions. Atlantis I can't wait to see as I think out of all the orbiters, it is probably going to have the coolest looking display of them all.

psloss
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posted 08-19-2011 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for psloss   Click Here to Email psloss     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
Technically most of the shuttles in their career have been without SSMEs or OMS pods (the FRCS and OMS pods are kept at the hypergolic maintenance facility when not on the orbiters). We just never got to see them outside of the OPFs before.
More seldom rather than never. A change in the last 8+ years is that the loss of Columbia meant there was constantly an equal number of orbiters to OPF bays.

Orbiter Maintenance Down Periods (OMDPs) in the 1990s that were done in Palmdale were planned such that often there were only three of the four orbiters at KSC while the other was at Palmdale, which also helped minimize the amount of time an orbiter was "stuck" in the VAB.

During other periods of flight history that wasn't necessarily the case, and orbiters were shuffled back and forth to the non-integration VAB bays when necessary. That was High Bay 2 for a long time and then High Bay 4 after the former was converted/cleared to make a hurricane safe-haven for an assembled Shuttle stack.

The VAB transfer aisle was also used in some cases for shorter-term "storage," and there are pictures of most of the vehicles being towed looking a lot like Discovery and Endeavour do currently (and Atlantis soon).

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-28-2011 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I was wondering why the last picture I saw of Enterprise at the Udvar-Hazy had it without its OMS pods. Well, the new pictures of Endeavour show where they went (to Florida).

It reminds me of the time when Enterprise was at Edwards and it didn't have OMS pods mounted during the speech that President Reagan gave at the conclusion of STS-4 and the sendoff of Challenger on its trek to Florida.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-28-2011 08:10 PM     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 Jay Chladek:
Well, the new pictures of Endeavour show where they went (to Florida).
Just to clarify, those aren't Enterprise's removed OMS pods in the recent photos of Endeavour.

Enterprise was displayed at the Udvar-Hazy with mockup pods that aren't flight-worthy. The purpose of the crane fit check test with Endeavour at Kennedy Space Center was to get ready to install the Approach and Landing Assembly, or ATLA, pods on Enterprise for its ferry flight to New York.

The ALTA pods were fabricated to use when ferrying shuttles from Kennedy Space Center to Palmdale, Calif. for their Orbiter Maintenance Down Periods (OMDPs).

MrSpace86
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posted 12-03-2011 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The replica engines that will go on Discovery look like, well, replica engines. I wish they could have done a better job at making them look more realistic. For example, they are missing the red marking close to the end of the nozzle.

Maybe I am just too picky.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-03-2011 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The nozzles are real, previously used hardware. From Florida Today:
Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne assembled the replica nozzles from pieces of test articles. To cover and help seal repairs, the nozzles were covered with a coat of flat, black paint. As a result, they arrived looking "too good," like new, Stilson said.

That would have looked odd, especially on Discovery, the fleet leader with 39 flights. An expert in space artifact restorations was hired to scuff and detail the nozzles so they looked "flown," and more like the real test engines they were.

"Now they look as if they have been flying for multiple missions," said Stilson.

Walter II
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posted 12-03-2011 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Walter II   Click Here to Email Walter II     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are you thinking of the protective coverings on the nozzles? If so, i'm pretty sure all of that is removed prior to launch. In this photo a worker is actually applying some of that protection at the pad.

MrSpace86
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posted 12-03-2011 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, thank you for the info. That's some interesting stuff! The engines look awesome, just not "real" per say. I guess they knew what I meant!

And yes Walter, maybe I was thinking of that. You can see some of it in this pic of engines used after STS-133.

SpaceKSCBlog
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posted 12-03-2011 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceKSCBlog   Click Here to Email SpaceKSCBlog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an aside, the tail cone fairing used for transporting the orbiters cross-country is now in the VAB transfer aisle.

dabolton
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posted 12-06-2011 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So what remains to be done on Discovery?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-06-2011 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Working off my notes, in addition to closing out the aft (including re-installation of the aft heatshield assemblies), the payload bay doors need to be closed for a final time. Ground support equipment then needs to be removed.

And then there is the work to prepare Discovery for its ferry flight, including landing gear pressure checks and installation of the tailcone assembly.

ilbasso
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posted 12-07-2011 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Probably totally coincidental, but when I use my page-down key to scroll down, the last three photos of Discovery with added engines line up almost perfectly on the screen as I page down. With each press of the key, I see one more engine added - kind of a poor man's time-lapse movie!

dogcrew5369
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posted 12-10-2011 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be nice to see all of Discovery's mission patches displayed at Udvar-Hazy sort of like Apollo patches are hung at the Apollo Saturn V display at KSC. Looking forward to seeing all those patches displayed with my namesake Walker on them. If only Shannon would have flown on Discovery it would have been complete.

SpaceAngel
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posted 12-13-2011 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will shuttle technicians add any replicas of OMS engines on all the orbiters' OMS pods such as "Discovery", "Atlantis" and "Endeavour"?

Jay Chladek
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posted 12-13-2011 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MrSpace86:
The replica engines that will go on Discovery look like, well, replica engines.
They should have called me. I've done enough SSMEs in model form and tried my best to make them look "used" that I could get these "replica" SSMEs looking used and scuffed in no time. All I need is my airbrush, a giant brush for drybrushing and a few gallons of model paint.

OV-105
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posted 12-16-2011 05:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Funny that Discovery has its OBSS and no RMS. Did they they leave the MS seats on the flight deck?


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