Friday, June 28, 2013
Space shuttle Atlantis made its debut at a $100 million specially built hangar at Florida's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
By Kate Hinds
You can ride the H train for free -- but the shirt is a different story.
On Tuesday, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched the Rockaways Collection -- shirts, magnets, and pins branded with the logo of the shuttle now plying the heavily damaged Queens neighborhood.
But can the MTA afford to give away money? The transit agency sustained $5 billion in damages from Sandy. It will cost $650 million alone just to restore A train service from mainland Queens to the Rockaways. It had to truck subway cars out to the neighborhood just to operate the free H train shuttle service.
An MTA spokesman says yes.
"We have a financial plan," says Aaron Donovan. “We will have money available through issuing short-term notes to restore the service and we expect to be reimbursed by FEMA and our insurance.”
The MTA announced last week it was taking on debt to pay for Sandy damages and will issue $950 million in bonds. At that time, chairman Joe Lhota said he had "an enormous amount of confidence" that the MTA would receive "a substantial amount of money" from the federal government.
To learn more about the H train, and to watch a video of how the MTA got subway cars out to the Rockaways, go here.
Monday, October 22, 2012
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is getting ready for its new Atlantis shuttle display with a $100 million building. Construction began in January, and the exhibit is slated to open in July 2013. On November 2nd, Atlantis will make the journey by road from the Kennedy Space Center on a special 76 wheel transporter. The 9.8 mile trip will take all day, with stops along the way for ceremonies with shuttle program employees and the public.
The building that will house the space shuttle is about 116 feet tall and will have a floor area of 90,000 square feet -- big enough to accommodate the 78-foot wingspan and 57-foot height of the orbiter.
Getting Atlantis over to the Visitor Complex is a delicate operation, but not quite as tricky as Endeavour's recent trek through Los Angeles.
"We are at the space center, there's 144,000 acres that we've got to work with here," says Tim Macy, the director of project development at the visitor center. "There's some big wide open spaces."
Still, some modifications have been made to accommodate the shuttle's move.
"We'll take down a ton of light poles, stop signs and traffic signals to get here, but that's just logistics," says Macy. A short section of roadway has also been built to bring the shuttle into the building.
Macy says the trickiest part of the move will likely be maneuvering the shuttle into the new display hall.
After the the orbiter is safely inside, it will be wrapped in protective "bubble wrap" to shield it while construction continues.
The new section of road leading up to the building will be torn up and eventually replaced with landscaping.
Workers will start filling in the final wall of the building withing days of Atlantis being moved inside. Up to 150 people a day are working on the project, and Macy says crews could be increased if necessary.
“I’m really confident in the schedule," says Macy.
"I mean, we’ve built in some weather days that we haven’t had to take advantage of in terms of the exterior of the building, and as anyone will tell you, once you get in and you get sealed up, you can control your own destiny.”
The completed display hall will include a replica of the external tank and solid rocket boosters that visitors will walk under as they enter the building. One of the outside walls incorporates a "swoop" that will be covered by orange cladding to symbolize the shuttle flight.
"You know when it comes down and gets into its de-orbit burn, that orange color, the glow that comes around the base of it, that's the look we're going for there," says Macy.
Tim Macy is confident visitors will be impressed when the display opens next summer.
"We think we're telling the right story here, and we understand the responsibility that's been given to us," says Macy.
"We didn't just get [the orbiter], we feel we've earned the opportunity to present this to the public."
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The space shuttle Endeavour has taken off on its final flight across the country, where it's heading to Los Angeles. WMFE's Mark Simpson was on hand at dawn to photograph its departure from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. (You can see more of Mark's pictures in the days leading up to Wednesday's departure here, and read more about today's launch here.)
Here it is, bolted on top of a 747, prior to takeoff.
The countdown clock -- now dark.
Before the shuttle lands in Los Angeles on Friday, it will make a stop in Houston -- home to Mission Control.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
By Kate Hinds
The space shuttle Enterprise floated by WNYC Wednesday morning en route to its new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Despite a construction elevator moving maddeningly to almost obscure the view, we were able to catch a glimpse.
The museum's Enterprise exhibit is scheduled to open to the public this summer.
Sunday, June 03, 2012
The Space Shuttle Enterprise will travel up the Hudson River from Jersey City on Wednesday. It will pass the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center before being hoisted by crane onto the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. The Enterprise's original move-in date was Tuesday but organizers announced Monday that bad weather had delayed preparation work.
Friday, December 02, 2011
"We just won the slots and are reviewing what we can and can't do, so I wouldn't rule anything out," Mateo Lleras, JetBlue spokesman told Transportation Nation. "We haven't announced anything yet," he said, adding he doesn't expect any official news to come out for "a few weeks." There are restrictions on what routes can be flown from each airport -- from LGA, less than 1,500 miles, and from DCA, less than 1,250.
JetBlue and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday that that the discount airline, with a hub at New York's larger and less convenient JFK airport, and Canadian carrier WestJet had won an auction for slots being divested from Delta airlines.
JetBlue will pay $40 million for eight pairs of daily slots at Reagan National (DCA) and $32.0 million for eight slot pairs at LaGuardia (LGA). A slot pair allows for one arriving and one departing flight per day at an airport. Delta's popular LGA to DCA shuttle leaves roughly once an hour during business hours.
JetBlue already offers limited flights from LGA and DCA, but none between the two.
The U.S. DOT and the FAA required Delta and US Airways to divest a total of 48 slots between the two airlines as a condition for granting them permission to exchange other slots at LGA and DCA.
Across the country, short haul flights have been on the decline over the past years. While on the Northeast corridor, bus and train travel has grown rapidly.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Many cities offer free shuttles to help people move around their downtown areas. Fort Worth, Texas has "Molly the Trolley" which takes visitors between hotels and various attractions. Denver has its free "MallRide" bus which transports riders near its 16th Street Mall. Smaller cities like Des Moines, Iowa and Savannah, Georgia also have free shuttles. But in Houston, a trip through downtown will cost you. There's a $6.00 flat fare for cabs, and a ride of any distance on the bus or rail costs $1.25. The only option for getting around cheap is to walk or bike.
But starting next year, locals and visitors will be able to get around for free on the new Greenlink Route. Seven buses powered by compressed natural gas will ferry riders along a 2.5 mile route, stopping at destinations like City Hall and the Theatre District. City officials hope the route will help revitalize downtown retail business, because office workers can get to stores that may be too far away for a lunch-hour walk. Like a lot of older downtown areas, many people don't see it as a shopping destination and parking is one of the big reasons.
Officials also say it will make the nation's fourth-largest city a more attractive destination for conventions and tourism. Thousands of people attend events each year at the city's huge George R. Brown Convention Center, and officials say the free shuttle will be a selling point as they try to lure more conventions and trade shows. Right now, many organizations run their own free shuttles during conventions.
Houston has been without a free shuttle downtown since the Metropolitan Transit Authority stopped operating its trolley buses several years ago. Ridership fell on the trolleys after Metro imposed a 50-cent fare in 2004. The shuttle ceased operating the next year.
The new Greenlink buses will be operated through a public-private partnership. Involved in the effort are the Houston Downtown Management District, the Houston First Corporation, which manages city-owned venues, and the energy company BG Group, which just opened a downtown office. Startup costs for the Greenlink line amount to $3.7 million, with the bulk of the money coming from two Federal Transit Administration grants. The buses will cost about a million dollars a year to operate.
Mayor Annise Parker says along with helping people get around downtown quicker, the natural gas buses are also part of the city's commitment to clean energy. "Being more sustainable, being more environmentally conscious, is also often, in fact most often, good for the bottom line."
The 28-seat buses will be manufactured in the US by Gillig LLC, and officials are touting amenities such as "high-quality air conditioning." That will no doubt be a relief to riders when the buses start running next May. Parker says the Greenlink line should create about 30 new jobs.
Monday, April 27, 2009
By Amy Pearl
Miles OBrien, freelance space reporter and former CNN chief science/technology/environment correspondent, talks with Brian Lehrer about the void in leadership at NASA and what it means for the shuttle program.
Listen to the whole interview here