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Old 12-04-2013, 11:14 AM   #1801
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SR-71.
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:54 PM   #1802
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Space shuttle parking shuffle: Mock orbiter moved in Houston for jet display


Space shuttle Independence, a high-fidelity orbiter replica, pulls into its new parking spot at Space Center Houston. (cS)

December 17, 2013 — Space shuttle Independence has a new parking spot.

Space Center Houston's full-size shuttle replica embarked on a short trip on Tuesday (Dec. 17) as it was moved from its outdoor display location of more than a year to a spot in the adjacent parking lot.

Riding on top of a motorized transporter similar to the 144-
wheel vehicle that in June 2012 brought it to Space Center Houston, the visitor center for the NASA Johnson Space Center, the 123-foot-long (37 meters) shuttle mockup was moved from its place alongside the center's main building into the lot, where it will stay for the next several months.

The replica, which earlier this year was named the space shuttle Independence, was repositioned to make way for the arrival next year of the original Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA). The modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet will be topped by the shuttle replica to create a new $12 million, six-story attraction scheduled to open to the public in 2015.

When completed, visitors to Space Center Houston will be able to tour inside both the carrier aircraft and the shuttle mockup sitting atop it.



Space shuttle Independence departs its display location of more than a year outside Space Center Houston. (collectSPACE)

The SCA, which is also known by its tail number, NASA 905, was the first of NASA's two jets to ferry the orbiters across the nation in between the shuttles' flights to space. In November 2012, NASA 905 was flown to Ellington Field in Houston after completing the delivery of retired orbiters Discovery, Enterprise and Endeavour for their own public displays.

Boeing, which originally built the 747 and then modified it to become the SCA in the 1970s, has donated the needed disassembly and reassembly services to move NASA 905 from Ellington Field to Space Center Houston.

To date, the jumbo jet's four engines have been removed for reuse by NASA's airborne observatory SOFIA, and the associated nacelles have been moved to the space center to await the remainder of the aircraft.

According to a schedule shared with collectSPACE.com, Boeing's engineers will begin working on the disassembly of NASA 905 on Feb. 3, 2014, removing its two wings and tail section from the fuselage. Delivery of the jet's parts to Space Center Houston is then targeted for the weekend of March 29.



Space shuttle Independence, seen mid-journey on its short trip to a spot in Space Center Houston's parking lot. (collectSPACE)

It is anticipated it will require approximately a month and a half to reassemble the aircraft. Once that's complete, work will then begin to mount the space shuttle Independence atop the jumbo jet for its display.

Space Center Houston plans to erect a tower, including an elevator, to provide the public with walk-through access to the interiors of both the SCA and the orbiter replica. Both vehicles are slated to have their interiors refurbished, with multimedia exhibits going into the aircraft and an upgraded cockpit and crew cabin for the space shuttle mockup.


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Old 12-18-2013, 03:56 PM   #1803
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:59 PM   #1804
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SpaceX to lease historic NASA launch pad


Aerial view of Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA has chosen SpaceX to negotiate a lease for use of the historic complex to launch the company's rockets. (NASA)

Dec. 13, 2013 — NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, to lease a historic launch pad for the company's commercial rockets.

The space agency announced on Friday (Dec. 13) that it is beginning negotiations with SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif. to take over exclusive use of Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA used the pad for decades to send astronauts to the moon and later launch space shuttles into Earth orbit.

"Permitting the use and operation of this valuable national asset by a private-sector, commercial space partner will ensure its continued viability and allow for its continued use in support of U.S. space activities," NASA said in its statement announcing the selection.

SpaceX, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, was one of two private spaceflight companies vying for the use of Launch Pad 39A. Blue Origin, founded by Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos, had proposed using the launch complex as a multi-user facility supporting other rocket companies, including United Launch Alliance (ULA).

SpaceX proposed to use to use Pad 39A for its own future launches. The company is currently contracted by NASA to launch its unmanned Dragon capsules to resupply the International Space Station and is currently vying for the agency's business to fly astronauts to and from the space station beginning in 2017.

SpaceX has previously said it was considering use of Pad 39A for launching larger models of its Falcon rocket.



Artist's concept of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy booster. (SpaceX)


NASA chose SpaceX after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a protest filed against the agency by Blue Origin in September. Blue Origin had raised concerns about the competitive process NASA was employing in its attempt to lease use of Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A).

Blue Origin had argued that the language in the agency's Announcement for Proposals (AFP) favored a single-user approach over a multi-user pad. The GAO disagreed.

While the protest was still underway, NASA was prohibited from choosing a commercial partner for use of 39A from among the proposals it had received. However, while the GAO considered its decision, NASA continued evaluating the proposals in order to be prepared to make a selection when permitted to do so.

After the GAO rendered its decision Thursday in NASA's favor, the agency completed its selection process.

NASA notified SpaceX and Blue Origin of the decision on Friday.

NASA said it will begin working with SpaceX to negotiate the terms of its lease for Pad 39A. During those talks, the space agency said it will not be able to discuss details of the pending lease agreement.

Pad 39A was one of two large launch complexes built in the 1960s to support the Apollo program's Saturn V rocket launches to the moon and Saturn IB flights to the Skylab space station. Both pads were later modified for launching space shuttles to deploy and service satellites and build the International Space Station.

Pad 39A's twin, Pad 39B, was stripped of its iconic launch support towers in 2011 to enable its use for possible future commercial and government launch vehicles. Launch Pad 39A, which supported 92 launches since November 1967 — 12 Saturn V rockets and 80 shuttles — was initially set to support NASA's new heavy-lift rocket, referred to as the Space Launch System (SLS).



First and last launches, for now: The Apollo 4 Saturn V liftoff (left) and STS-135 space shuttle launch were the first and last to leave Launch Pad 39A in 1967 and 2011, respectively. (NASA)

Budget constraints however, caused NASA to consolidate its future launch pad needs at Pad 39B, leaving Pad 39A without a purpose. And without the funding to modify or maintain it, NASA officials said that the agency would have no choice but to abandon Launch Pad 39A in place unless a commercial user could be identified.

As the selected lessee, SpaceX will be responsible for the financial management and technical operation of Pad 39A. In addition, the company will be required to maintain and provide NASA access to components on the pad for their historic preservation, including the gaseous oxygen vent arm at the top of the pad's fixed service structure and the emergency egress bunker, or "rubber room," located under the pad's surface.

Earlier this year, the space agency lowered and removed the pad's orbiter access arm. The arm, which is capped by the "white room" through which the astronauts entered the space shuttle, was placed into storage for future display.


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Old 12-18-2013, 08:47 PM   #1805
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Was Independence the one they parked in the grass for a while?
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:22 AM   #1806
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Yes.
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:04 AM   #1807
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Old 12-23-2013, 05:28 PM   #1808
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:27 AM   #1809
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Astronauts begin practicing launch in mock-up of NASA's Orion capsule.

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Old 01-10-2014, 04:38 PM   #1810
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The 3-mile runway at Kennedy became a laboratory Friday for one of the fastest production cars in the world as Performance Power Racing and Hennessey Performance conducted aerodynamic testing with a Hennessy Venom GT. The Venom raced down the Shuttle Landing Facility's concrete surface several times far exceeding the space shuttle's touch down speed of about 225 mph. The team won't know it's exact speeds until the data is analyzed, but the information gathered during Friday's runs is expected to verify or refine computer design on the rare supercar.

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Old 01-23-2014, 03:32 PM   #1811
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Huge news coming straight from KSC today..

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Old 01-23-2014, 03:41 PM   #1812
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It's so little compared to the rocket.
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:49 PM   #1813
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I gotta make sure I'm at KSC for this launch.
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:54 PM   #1814
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Two years to plan!
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:23 PM   #1815
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Two years to plan!
I'll have to get two days before and the week after that off.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:29 AM   #1816
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In honor of the recent Remembrance Days..









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Old 02-09-2014, 09:40 AM   #1817
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Can't believe it's already been 11 years since Columbia.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:36 PM   #1818
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http://www.motortrend.com/features/t...a_space_sites/

I'll just leave this here.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:53 AM   #1819
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This has been posted like 4 times. lol
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:12 AM   #1820
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I meant the video. It's weird that they didn't show the shuttles.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:14 AM   #1821
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Oh what the hell. I went to edit and it deleted instead.
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:34 AM   #1822
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Today marks 33 years since STS-1.
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:39 AM   #1823
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:19 AM   #1824
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SR-71.
capable of Mach 3 and an altitude of 85,000 FET!!
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:43 AM   #1825
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capable of Mach 3 and an altitude of 85,000 FET!!
... if they want to keep it slow & low
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