Spaceflight Insider

Space Center Houston steels itself for NASA 905’s ‘Big Move’

Space Center Houston is preparing itself to receive a very special guest - one of NASA's iconic Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The massive jet has been disassembled and will convoy to SCH on Monday, April 28. Photo Credit: Mike Howard / SpaceFlight Insider

HOUSTON, TX — The Boeing 747 is a mighty machine, one which was built to fly, not drive down an urban highway.  But the latter is exactly what NASA’s famous 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft will be doing tonight.  A 1,000-foot convoy of aircraft fuselage, wings, stabilizers and other plane parts will roll down Highway 3 in the Clear Lake area southeast of Houston, TX.  The convoy is ultimately bound for Space Center Houston, where the aircraft, known as NASA 905, will eventually be reassembled and put on permanent display next spring.

Photo Credit: Nathan Moeller / NASA 905

Photo Credit: Nathan Moeller / NASA 905

Over the course of 38 days, the 43-year-old aircraft was disassembled and readied for the eight-mile journey from Ellington Field, where she has been sitting since December 2012.  The dedicated team which was given and performed the incredible task was Boeing’s Aircraft on Ground team, which was dispatched from the company’s facility in Seattle, WA, home of the 747 since the aircraft’s inception in 1966.

This unprecedented move from Ellington to Space Center Houston will take place over the course of two nights so the team can minimize disruption to area traffic.  Beyond the temporary removal of street lights along the closed roads, the move will not be interrupting any utilities or disturbing residents, thanks to the careful planning leading up to this moment.

Monday’s leg of the journey will take the aircraft a distance of 5.75 miles, traveling southeast along Highway 3 from Ellington to NASA Road 1.  After the nearly 8-hour trip, the aircraft convoy will be parked along East Commerce Road, just east of Highway 3, where it will remain all day Tuesday, April 29.  The move will resume around 9:00 p.m. CDT that evening, as the convoy makes the eastward turn onto NASA Road 1 and travels 1.9 miles along the westbound lanes toward Space Center Houston, eventually arriving in the parking lot in the predawn hours of Wednesday, April 30.

Photo Credit: Nathan Moeller / NASA 905

Photo Credit: Nathan Moeller / NASA 905

 

Stay tuned to SpaceFlight Insider as Nathan Moeller chronicles the move of this historic aircraft.

 

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Moeller graduated from Texas Tech University's College of Architecture in 2008 and completed the graduate program in 2011. He covered the refueling stop of space shuttle Discovery at Rick Husband International Airport in 2009 after the orbiter had completed its mission to the International Space Station. Moeller also covered the build up to launch shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-132 in 2010 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Moeller joined Max Q Entertainment in 2009, leading the development of the website as well as document production streamlining, graphics work and aiding video production for missions STS-125 onward.

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