Aerospace Legacy Foundation

Your portal to America's aerospace history

Aerospace Legacy Foundation (ALF) is a community based non-profit organization (501c3) including aerospace retirees and the public at large. Preserving Southern California's Aerospace and Aviation History including Downey's aerospace legacy.

Preserving Our Past, Focusing On The Future

        

 

 

 

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From NASA JPL

"Visions of the Future"

  "There's no place like home. Warm, wet and with an atmosphere that's just right, Earth is the only place we know of with life – and lots of it. JPL's Earth science missions monitor our home planet and how it's changing so it can continue to provide a safe haven as we reach deeper into the cosmos". Image and text NASA

"There's no place like home. Warm, wet and with an atmosphere that's just right, Earth is the only place we know of with life – and lots of it. JPL's Earth science missions monitor our home planet and how it's changing so it can continue to provide a safe haven as we reach deeper into the cosmos". Image and text NASA

  XB-70 and visitors. Image- USAF

XB-70 and visitors. Image- USAF


Below- Filming on location at North American Aviation's Space Division in Downey, Cal. on June 4, 1965, producers of I Dream of Jeannie, a new TV series, prepare to walk a man in space on camera. Image- Corbis

Corbis-42-30201182 Filming on location at North American Aviations Space Division in Downey, Cal. on June 4, 1965, producers of I Dream of Jeannie, a new TV series, prepare to walk a man in space on camera.jpg
The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
— Sir Winston Churchill
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Explore and Investigate

Southern California Aerospace History

 

 

North American Rockwell Downey Plant

 

Downey's Aviation History

  Aerial view of the Vultee Aircraft Company in 1936 expanding the former Emsco Aircraft plant, built in 1929, by industrialist E,M. Smith. Downey, CA. Cerritos Ave. (Lakewood Blvd.) passes the plant in this early image. Alameda School can be seen in the upper right.

Aerial view of the Vultee Aircraft Company in 1936 expanding the former Emsco Aircraft plant, built in 1929, by industrialist E,M. Smith. Downey, CA. Cerritos Ave. (Lakewood Blvd.) passes the plant in this early image. Alameda School can be seen in the upper right.

  Security National Aircraft leased the former Emsco plant in 1932-1933. Image- USC

Security National Aircraft leased the former Emsco plant in 1932-1933. Image- USC

The Emsco Building (above) was built in 1929 by Los Angeles Industrialist E.M. Smith. The Rotunda and Kaufmann Wing (below) were built about ten years later for Vultee Aircraft who moved into the plant in 1936. Much of this video explores the former North American Aviation buildings including Building 001, 290 and the DEI Room. Our guide in the video is Jerry Blackburn, worked for Boeing 35+ years. Later ALF President.

  Above- Vultee Aircraft in late c1940's still adding on (left). View is over Lakewood Blvd. at Alameda St. in Downey, CA. Building on lower left was called Spud's In the distance is Bellflower Blvd. between fields and runway.

Above- Vultee Aircraft in late c1940's still adding on (left). View is over Lakewood Blvd. at Alameda St. in Downey, CA. Building on lower left was called Spud's In the distance is Bellflower Blvd. between fields and runway.


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Air Force 2030 Video

"In order to defend America, we need your help to innovate smarter and faster," according to AFRL's website. "Our warfighters depend on us to keep the fight unfair and we will deliver."

In addition to the F/X, the AFRL video features the Air Force's "Loyal Wingman" initiative, in which a manned fighter jet can command and control a swarm of attack and surveillance drones.”

 

  FX Fighter Concept

FX Fighter Concept


Twentieth century man must boldly reach out...
And purposefully strive to discover the hidden secrets of our universe.
— Astronaut John Young

Building 290 was in Downey, California just south of 12214 Lakewood Blvd. (near Alameda St.) and north of the Columbia Memorial Space Center. It was demolished several years ago.

"Building 290 & Parts of Building 6 are Apollo Test & Operation (ATO). I had been working for this Division for about two years. I was an electronic technical employee with 5 years under my belt working for this company-North American Space Division. I wound up working in the Building 290 High Bay for over a year and interfaced with that facility up until a month before the first man walked on the moon. When I first walked into the high bay in Building 290, I had the impression that I had entered an area describe by science fiction movies, only the science fiction music was missing." Anthony Vidana

Read the full story here- "I Remember Building 290" PDF

  Above- Building 290 from the Downey Livewire.  Image- Downey Historical Society

Above- Building 290 from the Downey Livewire. Image- Downey Historical Society

  Above- Building 290 in Downey, CA. North American Aviation/ North American Rockwell - April 1966

Above- Building 290 in Downey, CA. North American Aviation/ North American Rockwell - April 1966

 "The building was designed and constructed in 1964. It consists of a two-story structure of concrete and steel beams with a flat roof on the west side. A High Bay section (80 foot ceiling), a Low Bay section (40 foot ceiling) and a two story section east of the low bay adjacent to Building 6 .The total square footage is 165,100.

This building was originally constructed as the Systems Integration and Checkout Facility for the Apollo Program and later the Space Shuttle Program. More than 20 vehicles where assembled and integrated in this facility. This was the final assembly and checkout area for the Apollo 11 Spacecraft. The High and Low Bay areas of the building are the most significant consisting of approximately 170,000 square feet they were originally configured as a Class 100,000 Clean Room the largest in the world until the Soviets built one in the Soviet Union. The facility had three additional 4,500 square foot clean rooms for bench and instrument testing. Thousands of skilled spacecraft assemblers, technicians, engineers and support staff worked in this facility." ALF 2004

Above- Building 290 clean room. North American Rockwell Space Division 1969. Downey, CA.

Building 290 History

North American Aviation- Rockwell International- Boeing- Downey Studios

Above- Building 290 with captions by Anthony Vidana. Image courtesy- Boeing

Building 290 History

Building 290 & parts of Building 6 were Apollo Test & Operation (ATO)

Above- Building 290 at Downey Studios

  Above- Iron Man 2 – Downey Studios set – same curve. Courtesy of Michael Goldman. Building 290 in the background.

Above- Iron Man 2 – Downey Studios set – same curve. Courtesy of Michael Goldman. Building 290 in the background.

  Above- Iron Man 2 Monaco waterfront set – Downey Studios. Courtesy of Michael Goldman.Building 290 in the upper left.

Above- Iron Man 2 Monaco waterfront set – Downey Studios. Courtesy of Michael Goldman.Building 290 in the upper left.

 

'Building 290' was the Systems Integration and Checkout Facility for the Apollo Program and later the Space Shuttle Program.

Above- Aerial view of Downey Studios in 2005. Building 6 & 290 , lower right. Lakewood Blvd. to the left and Bellflower Blvd. upper right; Stewart & Gray Road top. Image- Tim Iverson

Above- Downey Studios in the distance from Columbia Space Center Jan 2008. Image- Larry Latimer

Downey Studios by Arnstein Jan 2016. Shot from the Columbia  Space Center

Above- Downey Studios (IRG) took over the Boeing plant in the early 2000's and painted a moonscape on Bldg. 290.

Building 290 was demolished along with most of the buildings at the former Downey NASA Site in 2012.


Building 290 in Downey, California

Systems Integration & Checkout Facility- High Bay

  Above- View of Downey Studios Bldg. 290 from the Columbia Space Center.     Image- Latimer

Above- View of Downey Studios Bldg. 290 from the Columbia Space Center.

Image- Latimer


Hard To Forget

the Space Shuttle Orbiter

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  Above- Space Shuttle orbiter rescue scenario.  Image- NASA

Above- Space Shuttle orbiter rescue scenario. Image- NASA

"NASA'S AMBITION IN 1971 was to build a fully reusable Space Shuttle which it could operate much as an airline operates its airplanes. The typical fully reusable Shuttle design in play in 1971 included a large Booster and a smaller Orbiter (image at top of post), each of which would carry a crew.

The Booster's rocket motors would ignite on the launch pad, drawing liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen propellants from integral internal tanks. At the edge of space, its propellants depleted, the Booster would release the Orbiter. It then would turn around, reenter the dense part of Earth's atmosphere, deploy air-breathing jet engines, and fly under power to a runway at its launch site. Because it would return to its launch site, NASA dubbed it the "Flyback Booster." It would then taxi or be towed to a hanger for minimal refurbishment and preparation for its next launch.

The Space Shuttle Orbiter, meanwhile, would arc up and away from the Booster. After achieving a safe separation distance, it would ignite its rocket motors to place itself into Earth orbit. After accomplishing its mission, it would fire its motors to slow down and reenter Earth's atmosphere, where it would deploy jet engines and fly under power to a runway landing. As in the case of the Booster, the Orbiter would need minimal refurbishment before it was launched again." Courtesy- Wired .com More here...

  THE REUSABLE BOOSTER LANDS ON A RUNWAY LESS THAN AN HOUR AFTER LAUNCH FROM A NEARBY LAUNCH PAD. IMAGE NASA NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL GENERAL DYNAMICS

THE REUSABLE BOOSTER LANDS ON A RUNWAY LESS THAN AN HOUR AFTER LAUNCH FROM A NEARBY LAUNCH PAD. IMAGE NASA NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL GENERAL DYNAMICS

  IMAGE NASA NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL GENERAL DYNAMICS.

IMAGE NASA NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL GENERAL DYNAMICS.

"Unlike an expendable launcher - for example, the Saturn V moon rocket - a fully reusable Space Shuttle would not discard spent parts downrange of its launch site as it climbed to Earth orbit. This meant that, in theory, any place that could host an airport might become a Space Shuttle launch and landing site.

NASA managers felt no need for a new launch and landing site; they already had two at their disposal. They planned to launch and land the Space Shuttle at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Florida's east coast and Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California. Nevertheless, for a time in 1971-1972, a NASA board reviewed some 150 candidate Shuttle launch and landing sites in 40 of the 50 U.S. states. A few were NASA-selected candidates, but most were put forward by members of Congress, state and local politicians, and even private individuals.

The Space Shuttle Launch and Recovery Site Review Board, as it was known, was chaired by Floyd Thompson, a former director of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The Board got its start on 26 April 1971, when Dale Myers, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, charged it with determining whether any of the candidate sites could host a single new Shuttle launch and landing site as versatile as KSC and VAFB were together. The consolidation scheme aimed to trim Shuttle cost by eliminating redundancy." Read the full article here at Wired

New Homes For Space Shuttles- From NASA

 B-21 Raider? Image- Nationalinterest .org

B-21 Raider? Image- Nationalinterest .org

 

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