I pride myself on knowing quite a bit about NASA’s shuttle program, but had no idea about this unique and specialized rescue team. Love that even as the shuttle fleet has been retired and delivered to their final resting places, we’re still getting new info and multimedia out of NASA about the shuttle era.
Posts Tagged ‘Space Shuttle’
Today, the space shuttle-era Endeavour is making its way towards final exhibit spot in California. Check Twitter and online media outlets throughout the day for plenty of picturesque flybys of the Endeavour mounted atop NASA’s modified 747. Very cool.
Earlier this week, at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Endeavour orbiter was mounted atop NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA, in preparation for its ferry flight to California. Check out the timelapse of that mating below.
It’s kind of bittersweet, seeing the orbiter I saw being processed for this over a year ago, now heading on its way. It’s also the last time the 747 will be used for this duty. The last of the orbiters (Atlantis), is just heading down the road from its current location to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Can’t wait to see Atlantis up and close at KSC, similar to how I did with Endeavour, albeit, it won’t be in the surreal VAB, but in a museum-like environment.
The now retired space shuttle orbiters are heading to their exhibits. Yesterday, Washington DC received its orbiter — the Discovery. CNN did a nice piece with viewers adding media to the story.
Amanda also said one of our friends living up in D.C. got an aerial view of the oribter hitching its ride to our nation’s capital on top of the NASA modified 747. I’ll post that to Keefer Madness once I get to see it.
Ah, the space shuttle Endeavour — which will always hold a special place in my heart after seeing it up close and personally last year.
I love the set of vibrant pictures of the Endeavour’s cockpit, lit up for the last time before it hitches a ride to the West coast and becomes an exhibit.
They’re so amazing, and it’s very overwhelming to see all the displays, controls, switches, etc. Such a complex machine. I love the pictures on the middeck too with all the signatures of everyone involved in the shuttle program.
It’s still sad, almost a year later, seeing the fleet decommissioned without a successor coming anytime soon.
Even with the shuttle program retired, there’s still a lot of activity related to the remaining orbiters, now all in the process of being decommissioned for display at the Smithsonian, California Science Center and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center.
When I was lucky enough to get a little behind-the-scenes view of Kennedy Space Center and its facilities back in September, we got to get pretty close to the Endeavor orbiter parked in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Well they’re shuffling the Atlantis, Endeavor and Discovery.
Endeavor is moving from its recent temporary home in the VAB, where I guess it’s been since I saw in September 2011. It is now in the Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2 hangar, with Atlantis going to the VAB. Truth be told, all of the orbiters could fit in the massive VAB if they really had to. Atlantis is going just down the road to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center, so it’s probably going to be spending a lot of quality time in the VAB, and will probably be the last to be prepped fully for its final display space.
Is it me, or is it a little sad seeing the orbiters with bits and pieces removed? I know they’re in preparation for museum duty, and will get all polished up with display appropriate stuff, but still.
I still get a kick out of all the shuttle-related news — part of it nostalgia, and part of it waiting for the next chapter in space flight.
This was posted two days before Christmas, but I just found it on YouTube yesterday. It highlights NASA’s accomplishments in 2011 — a year that was highlighted with the 30+ year space shuttle program decommissioned, scientific missions (including Juno, MSL Curiosity, Aquarius and the one I got to see launch, GRAIL) and partnerships with four different commercial companies taking over and modifying Kennedy Space Center facilities to continue low-Earth orbit.
NASA is now poised to focus on further targets. The video is quite long but simultaneously very in-depth and informative.
NASA TV’s YouTube channel added this 17 minute video yesterday, and it’s a pretty cool historical account of our now retired space shuttle program, along with a little voice over by William Shatner, insight from astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and a soundtrack by Rush.
It’s all so amazing, and here’s to the next chapter of space exploration.
In honor of Atlantis’ final launch this morning, CNN did a cool little video of 135 NASA launches in 135 seconds. I’m still bummed I never got to see one go up live— I’ve been to Cape Canaveral to tour the whole place, and that was great. A couple of summers, we went down for a launch, but it got scrubbed due to bad weather (and several subsequent attempts afterward).
Today, at Centerline, a bunch of us watched the launch in HD, and I thought that was really nice, but would still have loved to be on the Cape (or near it) for at least one of the shuttle’s many launches.
Here’s to hoping I get to see whatever eventually replaces it.
It’s not looking like I’m going to ever see a space shuttle launch live. I barely saw the launch today. I happened to see a tweet pop up 3 minutes before Discovery launched — final launch of Discovery. While, it’s not the final launch of any shuttle the program is winding down. There are two more launches I believe: space shuttle Endeavour on or after April 19th and space shutttle Atlantis on or after June 28th.
Once when we were in Florida, we drove down toward Kennedy Space Center to check out the launch, but it got scrubbed due to weather. I doubt we’ll make it down to Florida for either of the remaining dates. *sniff*
I took a series of screen captures from NASA TV during the Discovery launch, and may post those later if anyone’s interested. I did see some debris tumble down between the shuttle and the external fuel tank a few minutes before the orbiter reached orbit, but hopefully that was inconsequential.
Man, everyone involved in the NASA shuttle program must not be able to make too many plans. The launches and landings have more delays between equipment malfunctions and weather problems. After a second day of a set of possibilities for the shuttle Discovery to land at Cape Canaveral, the shuttle is having to land out at Edwards Air Force Base at the other end of the country. That means another piggyback ride back to Florida atop NASA’s 747, along with an additional $1.7 million to the cost of the Discovery’s mission. Did I mention I’m still dying to see both a launch and landing before the shuttle program retires?
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