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Independence rises into history atop SCA at Space Center Houston

The hi-fidelity shuttle model, Independence was stacked atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on Aug. 14, 2014. Photo Credit: Nathan Moeller / Astro95 Media

HOUSTON, Texas — As Space Center Houston continues the march toward a planned 2015 opening of the Shuttle 747 exhibit, the Houston-based foundation reached another milestone today. The 171,860 lbs (77,954 kg). shuttle “hi-fidelity” mockup Independence was hoisted into place atop NASA’s original Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft or “SCA.” Dubbed the “Rise of Independence”, the monumental event was open to the public so that they could take part in the assembly of Texas’ newest landmark. 

Photo Credit: Nathan Moeller / Asto95 Media

Photo Credit: Nathan Moeller / Asto95 Media

With hundreds of Houstonians, retired astronauts and dignitaries from Texas political offices watching, Independence rose from her mounts shortly after 8:00 a.m. CDT. The entire hoisting operation took approximately half an hour. The day’s events concluded with the orbiter mockup gently landing on the 747, where she was promptly welded to the three attach points atop the aircraft.

The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, known as NASA 905, was disassembled and moved to Space Center Houston from nearby Ellington Field in the spring of this year. She was then reassembled over this past summer and has been awaiting her new companion while Independence underwent restoration and modifications so as to be able to provide an improved tourist experience.

Space Center Houston plans to open the aircraft and orbiter to the public in the spring of 2015 and envisions the aircraft -orbiter duo becoming the number one attraction in the state. However, the foundation still needs to raise $2.2 million to complete their grand vision for the exhibit. Every donation is helpful and can be made here: Independence 

NASA 905 was the aircraft tapped to fly shuttles Discovery and Endeavour to their new homes, the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center, a branch of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the California Science Center (respectively).


Video Courtesy of Astro95 Media


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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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