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  Armstrong Flight Research: Mate/Demate Device

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Author Topic:   Armstrong Flight Research: Mate/Demate Device
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 30831
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-30-2014 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On April 29, 2014, NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center awarded a contract to Pantano Demolition, Inc. of Manteca, Calif., to demolish the Shuttle Mate/Demate Device used to load and offload the orbiters from the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
Construction of the MDD was completed in late 1976. It was first used during mate-demate operations with the prototype orbiter Enterprise during the Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) in 1977. It has been used for all post-landing and SCA mating operations at Dryden since the ALT program.

APG85
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Posts: 269
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Registered: Jan 2008

posted 04-30-2014 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too bad they can't leave it in place. 50 years from now it would be a neat piece of history and I imagine the environment out there is not very corrosive...

onesmallstep
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Posts: 752
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 04-30-2014 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I sympathize with keeping the MDD intact but you can't keep every item of shuttle history. Maybe a plaque/sign with a photo would suffice; even a small section displayed at the Armstrong Center's museum/visitor's center.

Besides, the space occupied by it can be reused for future projects.

JBoe
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Posts: 481
From: Churchton, MD, USA
Registered: Oct 2012

posted 04-30-2014 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBoe   Click Here to Email JBoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree, too bad it has to be taken down. But, what would they ever do with it? And it would take more money to reconfigure it anyways.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30831
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-25-2014 05:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Mate-Demate demolition: Tower used to lift space shuttles being dismantled

The historic steel tower that for 30 years was used to mount NASA space shuttles atop jumbo jets to fly them cross-country after they landed in California is now being demolished.

The gantry-like, gray and red Mate-Demate Device (MDD) at the NASA Armstrong (formerly Dryden) Flight Research Center in southern California stood for four decades. Now, three years after the shuttle program ended and six years since it last supported the turnaround of an orbiter landing at Edwards Air Force Base, the 110-foot (34-m.) structure is disappearing from the dry lake bed's skyline.

"It's sad to see something like this go, especially because it has a lot of history," said George Grimshaw, the center's last shuttle landing and recovery manager, in an interview with collectSPACE. "There is really nothing like it around. Yet, at the same time, you just can't have facilities sitting around unused, wasting away."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30831
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-08-2014 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just over a month after dismantling began, here is what remains standing of the MDD as of today (Oct. 8).

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30831
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2014 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A week later, just one part of one column remains:

OV-105
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Posts: 628
From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 10-17-2014 01:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sad to see it go. First thing I would see heading in from the Boron gate going to the gift shop for so many years. Got to see it on the tour and a couple of times with shuttle in it too.

Fra Mauro
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Posts: 1150
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 10-17-2014 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While I love the history of the space program, I don't see the cost of preserving this device as being worth it.

Cozmosis22
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Posts: 428
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 10-17-2014 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After reading the various articles and comments it is still unclear why the structure had to come down. It was a collection of cables, pulleys, some wiring and of course the steel beams and girders maybe in need of a coat of paint, yet not likely to fall apart anytime soon.

Is there a cost analysis somewhere comparing upkeep (however little that may be) versus paying some outfit to rip it up and cart it away?

In advance, not interested in any supposed future "environmental impact" the structure may have had sitting out there in the desert.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30831
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-17-2014 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The decision to dismantle the MDD was made based on the federal regulations regarding retention (or demolition) of unused facilities. NASA Armstrong attempted to find a new use for the MDD but neither the agency or military could identify a need.

Since 2010, NASA has been under congressional requirement to either reuse, lease or dispose of unneeded facilities. Given the MDD's location within an active military base, any lease proposal was not possible.

The California Science Center did briefly look at relocating the entire MDD as part of its plan to exhibit space shuttle Endeavour. This too proved infeasible given the size of the structure.

The contract to dispose of the MDD cost $178,700 (compared to $1.7 million for its construction). The deconstruction work would have cost the government more if it were not for the funds that will be recouped by recycling the steel.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30831
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-21-2014 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And then there was none (photo as of Oct. 20):

astro-nut
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Posts: 611
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-01-2014 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another piece of space history gone, what a shame.

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