U.S.

June 18, 2012

Original 1972 space shuttle mock-up to emerge

Just when it seemed all the space shuttles had been doled out to museums for display, it turns out there’s one more – sort of.

A full-size mock-up built in 1972 by the shuttle contractor Rockwell has for years been under wraps in a dark and empty warehouse in Downey, Calif., a southeast Los Angeles County city where the spacecraft were manufactured.

This week, the City Council approved temporarily relocating the mock-up to a tent on a nearby movie studio parking lot while funding is found for a permanent home where it can be displayed in honor of Downey’s role in aviation and space, the Los Angeles Times reported June 15.

The mock-up, made mostly of wood and plastic, is 122 feet by 78 feet. It was built by North American Rockwell – which later became Rockwell International and then part of the Boeing – as part of the proposal to win NASA’s contract to build the shuttle.

“It would be used for marketing our design approach to NASA and also be an engineering aid to our designers and manufacturing engineers,” said ex-shuttle worker Gerald Blackburn, president of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization of former aerospace employees working to preserve Southern California’s aerospace history.

But for years now it has been stored disassembled under dusty sheets of plastic behind three chain-link fences in an unlighted million-square-foot building.

“Except for some school trips years ago, it’s never been open to the public,” Councilman Mario A. Guerra told the Times.

“We’ve been dreaming big about displaying it, but we just haven’t had the funds,” he said. “We plan on restoring it for kids to have the ability to actually get in it and sit at the control room onboard.”

The impetus for the move is the sale of the plant site, which was closed down by Boeing in 1999, and plans to build a $500 million shopping center there.

Moving the model will require taking apart a wall. The city and property owner plan on spending about $157,000 for the move to the tent, where it’s hope it can be on display within the next three months.

Eventually it is planned to be part of the Columbia Memorial Space Center, which opened in 2009 as an official national memorial to the crew of shuttle Columbia who died when it broke apart on re-entry in 2003.

The center’s executive director, Scott K. Pomrehn, estimated it will cost $2 million to put the model on exhibit.

“The bottom line is this is the original shuttle. The one Rockwell sold NASA on. And it has been sitting in the dark,” he said. AP




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NASA photograph

Sally Ride dies at 61

NASA photograph Astronuat Sally Ride floats alongside Challenger’s middeck airlock hatch. Sally Ride, the NASA flight engineer who became the first American woman in space when the shuttle Challenger roared into orbit in ...
 
 
nasa-soyuz-landing2

Trio from ISS land safely in Kazakhstan

Three members of the Expedition 31 crew undocked from the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth Sunday, July 1, wrapping up a mission that lasted six-and-a-half months. Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko...
 
 
NASA photograph

Auto-GCAS flight tests on DROID UAV declared a success

NASA photograph NASA Dryden’s DROID small unmanned research aircraft executes a hard right climbing turn to avoid crashing into a rocky desert ridge during flight tests of a miniature ground collision avoidance system for...
 

 
Boeing photograph

Boeing executive Ray Conner to lead Commercial Airplanes business

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney announced June 26 the appointment of Raymond L. Conner as president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
 
 

Northrop Grumman’s F-35 DAS, radar demonstrate ability to detect, track, target ballistic missiles

Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated the ballistic missile detection, tracking and targeting capabilities of the company’s AN/AAQ-37 distributed aperture system and AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array radar, both of which are featured on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Leveraging NASA’s Science Mission Directorate-sponsored Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment l...
 
 

Pentagon restricts F-22 flights, safety a concern

Facing a mysterious safety problem with the Air Force’s most-prized stealth fighter, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta May 15 ordered new flight restrictions on the F-22 and summoned help from Navy and NASA experts. Panetta endorsed Air Force efforts to figure out why some F-22 pilots have experienced dizziness and other symptoms of an oxygen shortage...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>