Tuesday, April 17, 2012
(Orlando - WMFE) Space shuttle Discovery flew Tuesday morning from Kennedy Space Center to Virginia where it will be displayed at the National Air and Space Museum hangar near Dulles International airport.
The flight is the first of four ferry operations to move the shuttles to new display sites around the country.
Soon after Discovery finished its final mission to space in March 2011, work began to remove hardware, fuel and toxic chemicals.
“It took a lot of time and effort to flush systems and in other cases remove components of those systems to ensure they will be safe,” said Stephanie Stilson, NASA flow director for the orbiter retirement program.
Getting the 167,000 pound shuttle onto the jumbo is a delicate process. Discovery was winched up into a mate-demate device- a giant steel gantry- and fastened to the 747 over the weekend.
“We have a huge torque multiplier,” said Stilson. “I don’t know the exact value, but it’s a huge wrench to ensure that along the way we don’t have any problem with those fasteners coming loose.
NASA shuttle transition manager Kevin Templin said while he’s sorry to see the shuttle leave Kennedy Space Center, putting it on display will help the public understand its value to space exploration.
“We get to see these vehicles every day, and we know how complex they are,” he said.
“It takes getting up close and understanding the scale and the complexity of what we’ve done here for the past 30 years to really appreciate the effort going into this.”
Templin said the retirement operation is only half over.
“Getting an orbiter to a museum is a big undertaking, a major achievement, but in parallel, there’s a team working to transition all that other property and building and records and things,” he said.
There’s still plenty of work ahead for the team in charge of retiring the rest of the orbiter fleet.
Enterprise, which never went into space, will be flown from Dulles to New York next week. The shuttle’s expected to fly over the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks Monday morning before touching down at JFK. In June, Enterprise will be put on a barge and towed up the Hudson River for display at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
In September the 747 transporter will fly the shuttle Endeavour from Florida to California.
Atlantis has the shortest trip of all- from the vehicle assembly building at Kennedy Space Center to the KSC visitor’s center 6 miles away.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
For almost a decade, scientists have been trying to determine the structure of an AIDS-like virus found in rhesus monkeys. If they could determine the structure of the virus, they speculated they could design a drug to stop it. But the problem proved very difficult, even for the most advanced supercomputers. Then came Fold.it, an online game that harnesses the power of crowd sourcing and human putzing to solve the mysteries of protein structure. Researchers turned the problem over to the gamers — and they solved it in just ten days.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Over 20 locations across the country put in their bid to house one of the retired space shuttles, and only four won. NASA announced the winners yesterday on the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle flight, Columbia. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida will soon have space shuttle Atlantis; Endeavor will head to the California Science Center in Los Angeles; the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City won Enterprise, which will move from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, to make room for Discovery.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
"Harry Potter: The Exhibit," which previously passed through Toronto, Boston and other cities, is arriving at Discovery Times Square on Friday.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
When the space shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center later today, its odometer will read somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000,000 miles. The shuttle has flown 39 missions in its 27 year career. After today's landing, it will retire on planet earth. With Discovery's retirement, an era of American space exploration comes to a close; and, due to political and economic realities at home, future chapters remain in doubt. Yesterday, the US National Research Council reported that two planned rover missions to Mars, which NASA intended to launch along with ESA in 2018, may be about $1 billion outside of the U.S. budget.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Today will mark the last launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which made its maiden voyage back in 1984. This starts the countdown to the end of the Space Shuttle program, with final launches of Endeavor and Atlantis scheduled. Was the Shuttle Program worth it? To answer that question is Peter Spotts, science reporter for The Christian Science Monitor.