From the runway to the highway – Shuttle Carrier Aircraft escorted to new home at Space Center Houston
For nearly 18 months, the Boeing 747 which carried NASA’s space shuttle orbiters for more than three decades – was a common sight to Clear Lake residents, as the aircraft sat dormant at Ellington Field. This week, however, they got a very unique look at the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft or “SCA” as she rolled by their front yards, bound for her new home.
Thousands of local residents lined the roadways along the route as the 747, known as NASA 905, made the nearly eight-mile trek from the airport to Space Center Houston. Dubbed “The Big Move”, the roll lasted two nights and took the 1,000-foot convoy of aircraft parts down two of the busiest streets in Clear Lake.
As traffic was diverted and crowds gathered Monday night, NASA 905 left Ellington Field just before 9:00 p.m. CDT and traveled 5.75 miles down Highway 3, eventually rolling to a stop at the intersection of NASA Road 1 and East Commerce Street just after 6:00 a.m. As night fell on Tuesday, the convoy made the turn onto NASA Road 1 and began an eastward trek toward Space Center Houston. With a tired but dedicated crowd watching, the aircraft rolled to a stop in the center’s parking lot just before 1:30 a.m. CDT.
There will be little time to rest for the teams managing the aircraft as she transitions from shuttle carrier to museum exhibit. The same crew which dismantled the mighty SCA will begin the process of putting her back together later this week. The reassembly is expected to be complete within the next two months. All of this work is building up to an eventual pairing with a full-scale shuttle mockup (which itself made a far longer journey from Kennedy Space Center in Florida) and public display for aviation and space fans for generations to come.
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.