NASA’s shuttle carrier aircraft settles down in Palmdale


by Rebecca Amber
Staff writer

9/17/2014 – PALMDALE, Calif. — Retired NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 911, one of two modified Boeing 747 jetliners that ferried NASA’s space shuttles for decades, moved to its new home at Joe Davies Heritage Airpark, Sept.12. The 747’s final journey was a ground tow from the NASA Armstrong aircraft operations facility less than a mile away on U.S. Air Force Plant 42. While NASA will retain ownership of the aircraft, it is on loan to the City of Palmdale for long-term public display in the park.

According to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center director, David McBride, SCA 911’s primary purpose for NASA is a parts repository to support the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy – SOFIA. Over the course of SOFIA’s 20-year life span, NASA will continue to use flightworthy parts from the SCA 911 in Palmdale as well as SCA 905, which is on display at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

“Having it here is great for us. It will be tended by the City of Palmdale, just a five minute drive to come and get a part if we need it,” said McBride. “We’ll keep the parts replaced in a viewable state in this airplane as well, but usable flightworthy parts will end up supporting SOFIA. It’ll have a lot of life in it for NASA and it’s really a convenient place to keep it and free up some space.”

Steven Schmidt, NASA Armstrong’s assistant center director, added that the City of Palmdale put a lot of work into preparing the pathway for the shuttle carrier’s trek through the desert. In addition to compacting the dirt path, they built a concrete bridge to cross a natural revetment in the ground. Joe Davies was closed to the public during the move because the fence separating the park from U.S. Air Force Plant 42 had to be torn down to allow the aircraft entry….(FULL STORY via Edwards Air Force Base)


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply