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  Shuttle support vehicles, aircraft disposition

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Author Topic:   Shuttle support vehicles, aircraft disposition
onesmallstep
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Posts: 688
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: 599
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: 681
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: 19
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: 688
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: 605
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
Member

Posts: 688
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: 2435
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
Editor

Posts: 29628
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: 29628
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.

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