A graphic history of 35 years of space shuttle ferry flights now adorns the upper forward fuselage of NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 905. (NASA / Tony Landis) › View Larger Image
New Logos on NASA 905 Depict Ferry Flight History
A series of graphic representations of space shuttles being carried aboard a NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft have recently been affixed to the forward fuselage of one of the two modified Boeing 747s that ferried the shuttles over the course of 35 years.
The logos above the main deck windows on NASA 905 provide a visual history of all of the shuttle ferry missions flown by that aircraft, beginning with the shuttle approach and landing tests at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base in 1977 and including the upcoming ferry flights of the shuttles Discovery, Enterprise and Endeavour from the Kennedy Space Center to their final museum display locations.
The vinyl graphics depict a total of 222 shuttle ferry flights by NASA 905 from 1977 through 2012. With the addition of logos representing five flights in which the modified 747 carried the prototype shuttle Enterprise aloft for the approach and landing tests in 1977 and two ferry flights of Boeing's Phantom Ray technology demonstrator in late 2010 and 2011, the graphics recall a total of 229 piggyback missions.
NASA 905 carried Columbia aloft 60 times, Challenger 20 and Atlantis 35. When the deliveries to museums in Washington, New York and Los Angeles are completed, it will have carried Discovery 38 times, Endeavour 12 and Enterprise 57 times on ferry flights, along with five missions in which it released the prototype orbiter for steep descents to the runways at Edwards in 1977.
Discovery is scheduled to be ferried to the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy center adjoining Washington-Dulles International Airport in Virginia April 17. Enterprise, which has been on display at the Udvar-Hazy center for many years, is scheduled to be ferried to Kennedy International Airport in New York City a week later, for eventual display at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Endeavour is slated to be ferried to Los Angeles International Airport in late September for display at the California Science Center. Atlantis will remain at Kennedy Space Center's visitor center.
The graphics that now adorn both sides of NASA 905's upper fuselage were designed by NASA Dryden photographer Tony Landis of Arcata Associates, produced by the Edwards Air Force Base paint shop and applied by John Valdez and Jose Rodriguez of NASA Dryden contractor Kay and Associates.
Built in 1970, NASA 905 was acquired by NASA in 1974 from American Airlines and modified for its shuttle-carrying role by The Boeing Company. Its companion, NASA 911, was built in 1973 and acquired by NASA from Japan Air Lines in 1989. After modifications, it carried shuttles on ferry flights 66 times over 21 years prior to its retirement in early February 2012. Both aircraft are owned and operated by the Johnson Space Center's Aircraft Operations Directorate.
Learn more about NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
Eight of the nine pilots and flight engineers from the Johnson Space Center and Dryden Flight Research Center who have flown NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in recent years along with the SCA maintenance crew from Dryden lined up for the photographer prior to a pilot proficiency flight in NASA 905 March 29. The ground crew in the front row include, from left, Randy Isaac, Eugene Smith, Robert Hackaday, Leroy Marsh and Rick Brewer, all employees of CSC Applied Technologies. Flight Crew members in the back row are, from left, Henry Taylor, Larry LaRose, Frank Batteas, Bill Brockett, Arthur "Ace" Beall, Tim Sandon, Jeff Moultrie and Bill Rieke. Pilot Bob Zimmermann was unable to be present for the photo. (NASA /Tony Landis)
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Alan Brown, Public Affairs
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center