Space Shuttle 'Discovery' comes to the Air & Space Musuem

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by toggie, Apr 20, 2012.

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  1. toggie

    toggie F1 World Champ
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    #1 toggie, Apr 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    We attended the special day at the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Air & Space Museum yesterday for when they pulled out the Enterprise shuttle and brought in the Discovery Shuttle.

    Lots of fanfare, speeches, and fun for the family.

    Discovery looked amazing with its space dust and burn marks all over it from its 39 missions.

    Talked with a NASA employee as Discovery was being tugged in, she said the rust looking marks on the sides are from damage done by "atomic oxygen" which vehicles get exposed to in space.

    Enterprise is still bright white in color because it was built as a spare shuttle and has never flown in space.

    The two shuttle were parked nose-to-nose for a photo opportunity for only about 3 hours yesterday.
    Enterprise will get loaded onto the 747 and will go to New York City.

    Here are some pictures.
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  2. toggie

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    #2 toggie, Apr 20, 2012
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    We got to sign some shuttle tires that were painted white.

    Also got to sign a big white commemorative poster.

    These tires and white poster will be put on display with the shuttle Discovery in the museum as a memory of this day when it arrived at Udvar-Hazy.
    .
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  3. toggie

    toggie F1 World Champ
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    #3 toggie, Apr 20, 2012
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    Took a few rare pictures of the Shuttle Hangar part of the museum being empty.
    Enterprise has always filled that hangar and that is where Discovery will take its place.
    So, the hangar was empty only for that one day.
    .
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  4. White Knight

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    WOW that is awesome. What an experience!

    I've not yet been to the Udvar-Hazy portion, only the main building. Loved every second of it.
     
  5. It's Ross

    It's Ross Formula 3

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    Does anyone know what the special 747 used for toting the shuttle will do? Isn't it an older model with very specific modifications?
    Davis Monthan?
     
  6. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    #6 Tcar, Apr 20, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
    I know a couple things:

    It was originally an American Airlines plane. Converted by NASA in the mid 70's.

    NASA flew it in AA livery (minus the AA logos) for about 10 years before they repainted it white and blue.

    It flew around the country with the Enterprise mounted before the first shuttle flight. Stopped here in Denver at the old Stapleton airport. The Enterprise was released at altitude for gliding and landing tests.

    It obviously has the structural mods required to carry the shuttle.

    You can see the additional vertical stabilizers on the ends of the horizontal stabilizers. These are necessary as the shuttle blocks a lot of airflow over the original center vertical stabilizer.

    They put the tailcone on the shuttle to reduce drag when it's on the 747.

    The shuttle only equates to about 60 percent (? - don't remember, but something like that) of the allowable payload of the plane. 747's flying overseas routinely fly much heavier than that.
     
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  8. toggie

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    #7 toggie, Apr 20, 2012
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    Here are a couple pictures of the 747's found on the web.

    First pic is the old AA paint job when the 747 carried Enterprise (the shuttle that never flew in space) during early shuttle flight testing experiments.

    Second pic is from a few days ago when Discovery was carried to Virginia from Florida. This is the newer NASA style paint job (white with a single blue stripe).
    .
    Enterprise_on_the_747.jpg
    Discovery_on_the_747.jpg
     
  9. Bob Parks

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    The Shuttle " carrier" is an early model 747-200 and certainly it was modified to carry the shuttle. The word "carry" can only be applied when the pair is on the ground because once the unit is airborne, the shuttle is lifting the 747 and when release is made, the 747 drops away from the shuttle. Those additional fins are 10' X 20'. I worked next to the guy who designed them. They add directional stability and would serve to provide fin area if the 747's fin should be damaged and / or lost.
     
  10. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    As in lost when the Shuttle was released? I remember way back when they tested Enterprise that I sort of feared that.

    Interesting that the fins are completely without any sweep - does it have a modified speed envelope without the shuttle attached?
     
  11. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    I think it's pretty restricted in terms of altitude, at least.

    Notice:

    http://flightaware.com/live/flight/NASA905

    They went from Edwards to Florida at FL250 (without the shuttle), which leads me to believe that it has some restrictions even without the shuttle.

    I also believe there are turbulence restrictions with the shuttle on board, and they use a lead aircraft to make sure that it will be smooth enough.

    I always wondered-- do they have a crew in the Shuttle when it's being transported? And can they jettison it in an emergency?
     
  12. TexasF355F1

    TexasF355F1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I don't want to derail the thread because it's very cool, but I'm still livid about New York getting a shuttle. They don't have anything to do with it!
     
  13. Wade

    Wade F1 World Champ
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    #12 Wade, Apr 20, 2012
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    It is used for carrying other aircraft and will most likely continue with that role.
    Phantom Ray - NASA 747.jpg
    phantom3.jpg
     
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  15. toggie

    toggie F1 World Champ
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    Have to agree with you.

    I grew up watching every Apollo mission talking with Houston Space Center (actually Johnson Space Center).

    The famous quote "Houston, we have a problem" from the Apollo 13 mission comes to mind.

    Plus, how are they going to get the Shuttle Enterprise from the JFK airport to the Intrepid aircraft carrier?
    Now, for a real show, they'd land the 747 on the Intrepid. :)
     
  16. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 Veteran

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    Yes, there are 2 of those 747s by the way. Easiest way to tell them apart is by the # of windows on the upperdeck. One of them has 2 or so and the other 5.

    I've heard they might just get rid of them if they won't be used much longer for those test flights you have shown.
     
  17. James_Woods

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    2nd wire.


    Actually, maybe we should be more worried about what happens to NASA Houston itself than where the Enterprise goes.
     
  18. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    Yep... Lyndon's long gone...
     
  19. It's Ross

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    Wow, really?
    It was always my understanding that the shuttle was a brick with barely enough lift to remain in the sky. Is this the reason for it's nose up attitude aboard the 747?
     
  20. toggie

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    The Shuttle Orbiter glides down at 9800 fpm in the lower atmosphere.
    Touchdown speed is approx. 215 mph.

    Landing approach starts 7.5 miles out at an altitude of 9800 agl and a speed of 425 mph.

    As it enters the atmosphere it glides at a 40 degree nose-high angle of attack and does slow s-turns using a 70 degree bank angle during the re-entry phase.

    That has to be quite the ride coming down.
     
  21. Wade

    Wade F1 World Champ
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    Glides in... from space, with only one shot for a successful landing. Absolutely awe-inspiring to say the least.

    I saw Atlantis in the Shuttle Processing Facility last year and touching her left me misty eyed.
     
  22. Ryan S.

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    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-YNcwc1ZME&feature=related[/ame]
     
  23. Ryan S.

    Ryan S. F1 World Champ
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    And the copy cat commies...

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC7MYgsPhi0&feature=related[/ame]
     
  24. TexasF355F1

    TexasF355F1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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  25. toggie

    toggie F1 World Champ
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    The other big contribution Enterprise made to the Space Shuttle program is when Columbia burnt up on re-entry.

    Some of the leading edge material was removed from Enterprise to undergo a series of tests to prove various theories on how the Columbia heat protection had failed.

    Enterprise never flew in space but it was the first Shuttle Orbiter built, was used for the glide testing, and has stood ready as the spare Orbiter for many years.

    NYC should be proud to have her on display.

    .
     
  26. jkddad

    jkddad Formula Junior
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    To be expected, they spend more on industrial espionage then they do on R&D.
     
  27. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    According to Wikipedia, for whatever that's worth, they are scrapping the 747s, and one has been scrapped already.

     
  28. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    Enterprise made many contributions to the program, but I don't think it could ever be considered a "spare" orbiter. My understanding is that before they built Endeavour, they considered using Enterprise, but it was actually cheaper (if not simply impossible) to start from scratch than to make Enterprise into a vehicle that could actually fly in space.

     
  29. Korr

    Korr F1 World Champ

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    Enterprise was too heavy and couldn't be made light enough to be useful so they built from new instead.
     
  30. It's Ross

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    I suspected there would be little glory for these used up tools.
     
  31. FarmerDave

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    I'll never forget being a child on the school playground a mile away from NAS Dallas and seeing the shuttle- 747 tandem flying low overhead as in landed there for some sort of planned, routine stop between California and Florida.
     
  32. Spasso

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    They would have been good candidates for water bomber conversions.
     
  33. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    There doesn't seem to be any shortage of -200s to convert. Is anyone converting another?

    Some friends of mine are converting MD-87s right now.

     
  34. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ
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    I think the term SCRAP is too harsh a word for the plight of the NASA 747's.
    I would think they are better maintained than most and the part salvage value would probably bring more money than the A/P as a whole.

    I was thinking Evergreen might be doing another tanker.
     
  35. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    Evergreen has plenty of 747-200s. I doubt they need any more.

    It is true, I'm sure, that they will part the 747s out rather than just saw them up and stick them in the smelter... but I thought that was assumed with the term "scrap."

     
  36. alexm

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  37. nathandarby67

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    #35 nathandarby67, Apr 26, 2012
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    I have a patient that used to work in the aerospace industry as an engineer (real-life rocket scientist!), so is still pretty tied in to that world. He sent me a bunch pictures a friend of his at Lockheed Aerospace sent him. Thought I'd share with the group:
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  38. nathandarby67

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    #36 nathandarby67, Apr 26, 2012
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    More:
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  39. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    There was a blog written by one of the 747 pilots, but I can't seem to find it.

    I would guess that those are two of the lowest time 747-200s in the world!
     
  40. alexm

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    Very cool - thanks for posting!
     
  41. toggie

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    Those are very special photos.
    Very few people were granted access that close to the runway, etc.
    Thank you for posting them.
    .
     
  42. Zack

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    Do you know this for fact or are you "just saying'..."? Genuinely curious if you know something, or are just indulging in some jingoism. I can't imagine Russia (or any country, for that matter) really revealing what it spends on industrial espionage.
     
  43. chris_columbia

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    How did they get the Shuttle off at Dulles? Certainly they don't have this tower there. Two big cranes?
     

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