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  Shuttle support vehicles and aircraft disposition

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Author Topic:   Shuttle support vehicles and aircraft disposition
onesmallstep
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Posts: 922
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 05-13-2014 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was wondering, with the end of shuttle, what has become of the various post-landing vehicles used for safing and astronaut egress at Dryden and KSC like the Convoy Commander's Van ('NASA 25') and most famously the stairs and 'white room' pulled up to the orbiter exit hatch. They haven't received as much attention as the SCA 747s, Mate-Demate Device or silver 'Astrovan' but were an important part of shuttle history.

I was curious after reading interviews with shuttle support people in the book 'The Spoken Word III: Recollections of Dryden History; The Shuttle Years' (SP-2013-4552) which I picked up at the NASA Hq. Information Center.

ea757grrl
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Posts: 626
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-13-2014 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The KSC crew hatch access vehicle and crew transport vehicle are currently in storage at the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum near Starke, Florida. If you call ahead you should be able to arrange a "behind the scenes" tour, including these vehicles (and you may even get to go inside the crew transport vehicle, as I did).

Jim Behling
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Posts: 810
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 05-13-2014 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The convoy commander's vehicle sits in a parking lot behind the O&C. The flight crew equipment group's "airliner catering" van is next to it, but it gets used once in awhile. The white room truck and wind machine are in a storage yard near the water treatment plant.

I believe the purge and cool trailers are still up near the Shuttle Landing Facility. I haven't been up that way in a while.

Astro Rich
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Posts: 42
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: Feb 2014

posted 05-14-2014 07:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Rich   Click Here to Email Astro Rich     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Astrovan is on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, next to the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 922
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 05-14-2014 08:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On a similar note, I am curious about the fate of two aircraft not as well known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) and Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) in support of the shuttle program: the Lockheed Jetstar, used to verify installation of microwave landing systems at Dryden, White Sands and Kennedy Space Center; and the Convair CV-990 used to test shuttle landing tires.

OV-105
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Posts: 652
From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 05-15-2014 02:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Where did the shuttle crew cabin trainer that was used at Edwards for training the fire crews end up at? Haven't seen it reported anywhere.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 922
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 05-19-2014 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just answered my own question regarding one of the support aircraft I inquired about in a previous post above: the Convair CV-990 suffered blown main tires in 1985 while landing, shredding it and breaking up the attached landing gear assembly.

It sent pieces of metal and debris into the wing, causing a non-fatal fire; the airplane was declared a total loss. I assume it was scrapped sometime in the '80s. This detail was in the NASA book mentioned above, 'The Spoken Word III: Recollections of Dryden History.'

Now I just need to research the fate of the Lockheed Jetstar to complete the list of shuttle support aircraft.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2716
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-19-2014 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Didn't the Convair test tires and brakes using Challenger's salvaged landing gear? If so, what happened to those gear? Later placed in the missile silo with other Challenger debris?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 32387
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-19-2014 12:07 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 onesmallstep:
I assume it was scrapped sometime in the '80s.
If so, then there was more than one Convair 990 used to test shuttle landing gear. From a June 2013 NASA feature:
A retired first-generation jetliner that once served as a highly modified research platform for NASA will be featured at the Mojave Air and Space Port's monthly "Plane Crazy Saturday" event on June 15 in Mojave, Calif.

Now relegated to being a "gate guard" at the southern entrance to the Mojave facility, the Convair 990 is one of the last surviving jetliners of its type. It was flown by NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., for medium altitude atmospheric research and later by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to test tires and braking systems for the space shuttles.

...in its last use prior to its retirement and transfer to the Mojave Airport in late 1996, the former NASA CV-990 was extensively modified for use as a Landing Systems Research Aircraft (LSRA) to test tires, landing gear and braking systems for the space shuttles to determine the performance parameters and failure limits of the tires. Carrying NASA tail number 810, the CV-990 flew 155 LSRA test missions from April of 1993 through August 1995 at NASA Dryden and the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 32387
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-19-2014 12:22 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 Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Didn't the Convair test tires and brakes using Challenger's salvaged landing gear?
Dennis Jenkins' space shuttle history ("The First 100 Missions") mentions Convair using Enterprise's gear but I don't see mention of Challenger's.

rtphokie
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Posts: 3
From: Raleigh, NC, USA
Registered: May 2015

posted 05-24-2015 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rtphokie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was a fleet of vehicles, large and small, supporting the space Shuttle program. What happened to them all?
  • Small AstroVan: Saturn V Center, Kennedy Space Center
  • Large AstroVan: Atlantis exhibit, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
  • Crawlers: modified for future use
  • Shuttle Carrier Aircraft: N911NA on display at Joe Davies Heritage Airpark/parted out for SOFIA, N905NA on display at Space Center Houston
  • Locomotives of the NASA railroad: locomotive no. 1 was sent to Natchitoches Parish Port and no. 3 sent to the Madison Railroad last month. Locomotive no. 2 was sent to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in 2014.
  • Close out crew panel van: still at Kennedy Space Center, frequently seen in the parking lot outside the VAB
  • M113 armored personnel carriers: one on display outside VAB
  • Crew Transport Vehicle: the odd "mobile lounge" type vehicle used to transfer astronauts from the orbiter directly to the second floor of the Operations and Checkout building, transferred to the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum
  • MV Liberty Star: SRB recovery ship went to the merchant marine academy
  • MV Freedom Star: SRB recovery ship is anchored in the James River Reserve Fleet (in Virginia)
  • Shuttle Training Aircraft: Gulfstream II aircraft are in Alabama (to be put on display at the US Space and Rocket Center, Texas Air and Space Museum in Amarillo, and Armstrong Flight Research Center
Where are these?
  • Orbiter Transfer System: the 76 wheeled vehicle used to move the orbiter from the OPF to VAB
  • Universal Coolant Transporter (UCT): part of the landing convoy, kept the orbiter and payloads cool after landing. Replaced the Ground Cooling unit.
  • Convoy command vehicle: also part of the landing convoy, has been used to support NASA Social events in past years
  • Self-Contained Atmospheric Protection Ensemble (SCAPE) vehicles, I assume these is useful in future missions, remains in KSC inventory
  • other specialized landing convoy vehicles I've missed
Editor's note: Threads merged.

OV-105
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Posts: 652
From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 05-24-2015 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What happened to the crew transport vehicle that was used at Edwards AFB?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 32387
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2015 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to a January 2013 NASA photo caption:
The shuttle Crew Transport Vehicle – a converted people-mover obtained from Dulles International Airport near Washington in 1990 – leaves NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on its way to temporary storage at Edwards Air Force Base pending eventual display at the Air Force Test Center Museum.
quote:
Originally posted by rtphokie:
Orbiter Transfer System: the 76 wheeled vehicle used to move the orbiter from the OPF to VAB
It was transferred to SpaceX and has been recently seen at Hangar AO (also in use by SpaceX).

Jim Behling
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Posts: 810
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 05-24-2015 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by rtphokie:
Self-Contained Atmospheric Protection Ensemble (SCAPE) vehicles, I assume these is useful in future missions, remains in KSC inventory
SCAPE vans are not shuttle specific. They supported prop ops before the shuttle and continue to support such ops now.

rtphokie
New Member

Posts: 3
From: Raleigh, NC, USA
Registered: May 2015

posted 05-25-2015 12:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rtphokie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ea757grrl:
The KSC crew hatch access vehicle and crew transport vehicle are currently in storage at the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum near Starke, Florida.
There were two CTV's one at KSC and one at Edwards. KSC's went to the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum. Anyone know what became of the other?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 32387
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-25-2015 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As noted in my reply above, it was put into temporary storage in 2013 for eventual display at the Air Force Test Center Museum.

rtphokie
New Member

Posts: 3
From: Raleigh, NC, USA
Registered: May 2015

posted 05-25-2015 01:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rtphokie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Transferred as much of this information that meets notability guidelines into a Wikipedia article on the subject of the convoy vehicles. Feel free to edit with corrections.

All times are CT (US)

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