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.

Space Shuttle Orbiter

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Creating the Shuttle began with new ideas, processes and artwork...

Shuttle Artwork Concepts

Shuttle artwork at Rockwell in Downey , October 16, 1970. Image- ALF Archive

Shuttle artwork at Rockwell in Downey , October 16, 1970. Image- ALF Archive

Photograph of an Artist's Concept of a Sleek Space Shuttle Craft. Image- NASA

Photograph of an Artist's Concept of a Sleek Space Shuttle Craft. Image- NASA

Previously Unseen Space Shuttle Concept Art. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Previously Unseen Space Shuttle Concept Art. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Sleek Space Shuttle concept. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Sleek Space Shuttle concept. Image- Rockwell/NASA

SPACE ART Space Shuttle Payload Bay Concept 1970′s (galaxy wire)

SPACE ART Space Shuttle Payload Bay Concept 1970′s (galaxy wire)

Space Shuttle orbiter concept artwork. Image- NASA

Space Shuttle orbiter concept artwork. Image- NASA

Space Shuttle concept artwork October 1976. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Space Shuttle concept artwork October 1976. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Space Shuttle orbiter concept artwork. Image- Tony Ivancic (Rockwell/NASA)

Space Shuttle orbiter concept artwork. Image- Tony Ivancic (Rockwell/NASA)

Space Shuttle Basics- Space Shuttle History from NASA

"In September 1969, two months after the first manned lunar landing, a Space Task Group appointed by the President of the United States to study the future course of U.S. space research and exploration made the recommendation that "…the United States accept the basic goal of a balanced manned and unmanned space program. To achieve this goal, the United States should …develop new systems of technology for space operation…through a program directed initially toward development of a new space transportation capability…"

In early 1970, NASA initiated extensive engineering, design, and cost studies of a space shuttle. These studies covered a wide variety of concepts ranging from a fully reusable manned booster and orbiter to dual strap-on solid propellant rocket motors and an expendable liquid propellant tank. Each concept evaluated development risks and costs in relation to the suitability and the overall economics of the entire system.

 

For all of the captive flights and the first three free flights, the orbiter was outfitted with a tail cone covering its aft section to reduce aerodynamic drag and turbulence. The final two free flights were made without the tail cone, and the three simulated space shuttle main engines and two orbital maneuvering system engines were exposed aerodynamically.

After numerous tests across the United States, the Enterprise was ferried across the Atlantic for several air shows across Europe. Finally, on November 18, 1985, the Enterprise was ferried from Kennedy Space Center to Washington, D.C. and became the property of the Smithsonian Institution.

The second orbiter, Columbia, was the first to fly into space. Perched atop the 747 shuttle carrier, Columbia arrived at Kennedy Space Center from Dryden Flight Research Facility on March 25, 1979 to be readied for the space shuttle's first flight on April 12, 1981".

 

 

Space Shuttle Concept Art 1970's. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Space Shuttle Concept Art 1970's. Image- Rockwell/NASA

"On January 5, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon announced that NASA would proceed with the development of a reusable low cost space shuttle system. NASA and its aerospace industry contractors continued engineering studies through January and February of 1972; finally on March 15, 1972, NASA announced that the shuttle would use two solid propellant rocket motors. The decision was based on information developed by studies that showed that the solid rocket system offered lower development cost and lower technical risk.

On September 17, 1976, the first orbiter spacecraft, Enterprise, was rolled out. A total of thirteen test flights were performed. The Enterprise was built as a test vehicle and not equipped for space flight.

Five captive flights, with the Enterprise perched atop a 747 jumbo jet with no crew and unpowered, were conducted to test the structural integrity of the craft. Three crewed captive flights followed with the crew operating the flight control systems in preparation for the first orbiter free flight. Finally, five free flights occurred with an astronaut crew separating the orbiter from the 747 shuttle carrier and maneuvering to a landing at Edwards Air Force Base".

Image- Rockwell/NASA

Image- Rockwell/NASA

"For all of the captive flights and the first three free flights, the orbiter was outfitted with a tail cone covering its aft section to reduce aerodynamic drag and turbulence. The final two free flights were made without the tail cone, and the three simulated space shuttle main engines and two orbital maneuvering system engines were exposed aerodynamically.

After numerous tests across the United States, the Enterprise was ferried across the Atlantic for several air shows across Europe. Finally, on November 18, 1985, the Enterprise was ferried from Kennedy Space Center to Washington, D.C. and became the property of the Smithsonian Institution.

The second orbiter, Columbia, was the first to fly into space. Perched atop the 747 shuttle carrier, Columbia arrived at Kennedy Space Center from Dryden Flight Research Facility on March 25, 1979 to be readied for the space shuttle's first flight on April 12, 1981." More here...Space Shuttle Links

Windjammer deploys a satellite in Earth orbit.. The Windjammer was an early 1970's HTHL SSTO proposal initially developed by Boeing & North American Rockwell and later refined by Len Cormier in 1970-73. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Windjammer deploys a satellite in Earth orbit.. The Windjammer was an early 1970's HTHL SSTO proposal initially developed by Boeing & North American Rockwell and later refined by Len Cormier in 1970-73. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Pre-White Knight 2 concept - the Conroy Virtus 2 x B-52 fuselages to transport Shuttle Orbiter. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Pre-White Knight 2 concept - the Conroy Virtus 2 x B-52 fuselages to transport Shuttle Orbiter. Image- Rockwell/NASA

North American Rockwell again refused to pick a favored concept and only noted that a case could be made for either solid or liquid boosters depending on.... Image-  NASA

North American Rockwell again refused to pick a favored concept and only noted that a case could be made for either solid or liquid boosters depending on.... Image-  NASA

Photograph of an Artist's Concept of a Sleek Space Shuttle Craft. Image- Rockwell/NASA

Photograph of an Artist's Concept of a Sleek Space Shuttle Craft. Image- Rockwell/NASA

"The Space Shuttle is the world's first reusable spacecraft, and the first spacecraft in history that can carry large satellites both to and from orbit. The Shuttle launches like a rocket, maneuvers in Earth orbit like a spacecraft and lands like an airplane. Each of the three Space Shuttle orbiters now in operation -- Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour -- is designed to fly at least 100 missions. So far, altogether they have flown a combined total of less than one-fourth of that. " NASA

"See you there...."

"See you there...."

Skylab, 1972. Image credit NASA

Skylab, 1972. Image credit NASA

This November 6, 1975 photo shows a scale model of the Space Shuttle attached to a 747 carrier, inside NASA's 7 x 10 wind tunnel.(NASA)

This November 6, 1975 photo shows a scale model of the Space Shuttle attached to a 747 carrier, inside NASA's 7 x 10 wind tunnel.(NASA)

A technician works on sensors installed in the back end of a scale model of the Space Shuttle in NASA's 10X10 foot wind tunnel, on February 15, 1977. Image- NASA

A technician works on sensors installed in the back end of a scale model of the Space Shuttle in NASA's 10X10 foot wind tunnel, on February 15, 1977. Image- NASA

Space Shuttle models 5-11- 1972. Image- NASA

Space Shuttle models 5-11- 1972. Image- NASA

"Columbia was the first Space Shuttle orbiter to be delivered to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in March 1979. Columbia and the STS-107 crew were lost Feb. 1, 2003, during re-entry. The Orbiter Challenger was delivered to KSC in July 1982 and was destroyed in an explosion during ascent in January 1986. Discovery was delivered in November 1983. Atlantis was delivered in April 1985. Endeavour was built as a replacement following the Challenger accident and was delivered to Florida in May 1991. An early Space Shuttle Orbiter, the Enterprise, never flew in space but was used for approach and landing tests at the Dryden Flight Research Center and several launch pad studies in the late 1970s. 

Downey, California's Proud Legacy

 Primary Shuttle work done in Downey and final assembly in Palmdale/Lancaster.

Shuttle Leaves Southland Imprint". The Los Angeles Times Tuesday July 5, 2011.

Shuttle Leaves Southland Imprint". The Los Angeles Times Tuesday July 5, 2011.

The Space Shuttle Orbiter by John Young, Captain, USN Retired PDF

 

 

Quarter-Scale Space Shuttle Model- By Stan Barauskas

Quarter Scale Shuttle model at Calgary Airport in Canada.

Quarter Scale Shuttle model at Calgary Airport in Canada.

"At the outset of the Space Shuttle Program, a Ground Vibration Test of the individual and mated Shuttle elements was included in the overall test and verification planning. The production schedules and availability of the flight Shuttle elements made it desirable to consider sub-scale rather than full-scale vibration testing. The Saturn V one-tenth scale model, for example, was successfully used to provide some satisfactory vibration data but at one-tenth scale it was necessary to simulate some upper stage structure and joints and did not provide the same degree of correlation with theory as desired. There was some consideration given to a one-eighth scale and a one-fifth scale Shuttle model but each had its limitations. The final size selection of a quarter-scale Shuttle model was large enough to permit near replication of all primary structure and joints while meeting the size limitations of the available test facilities. The design and fabrication of the test article was initiated in mid-1974; the testing began in late 1976 and was concluded in December 1977. " Article continued here...

IMG_1600 Quarter scale orbiter in Calgary.JPG
IMG_1600 Quarter scale orbiter in Calgary.JPG
November 1978  Mock-up of the Space Shuttle on display at the Rockwell Plant in Downey. Scott Harrison, LA Times.

November 1978  Mock-up of the Space Shuttle on display at the Rockwell Plant in Downey. Scott Harrison, LA Times.

Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey inspects mock-up of engine section of space shuttle during visit to North American Rockwell plant in Downey June 5, 1972.

Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey inspects mock-up of engine section of space shuttle during visit to North American Rockwell plant in Downey June 5, 1972.

Queen Elizabeth visits Rockwell plant in Downey, 1980's. She is inside the Space Shuttle mock-up in the DEI Room, sitting with George Jeffs. Image- Aerospace Legacy Foundation Archive.

Queen Elizabeth visits Rockwell plant in Downey, 1980's. She is inside the Space Shuttle mock-up in the DEI Room, sitting with George Jeffs. Image- Aerospace Legacy Foundation Archive.

Shuttle Orbiter Mock-Up in DEI Room, Building 001, Rockwell, Downey 1970's.

Shuttle Orbiter Mock-Up in DEI Room, Building 001, Rockwell, Downey 1970's.

Space Shuttle mock-up at Rockwell in Downey, California, 1970's.

Space Shuttle mock-up at Rockwell in Downey, California, 1970's.

Space Shuttle orbiter with beautiful profile over the Earth...

Space Shuttle orbiter with beautiful profile over the Earth...

Shuttle engine "Out test"

Shuttle engine "Out test"

Lunar base concept, 1995. Image credit Pat Rawlings NASA

Lunar base concept, 1995. Image credit Pat Rawlings NASA

Shuttle Columbia

Lettering of word "Columbia" on that orbiter at Rockwell International

Lettering of word "Columbia" on that orbiter at Rockwell International

"Columbia was the first Space Shuttle orbiter to be delivered to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in March 1979. Columbia and the STS-107 crew were lost Feb. 1, 2003, during re-entry. The Orbiter Challenger was delivered to KSC in July 1982 and was destroyed in an explosion during ascent in January 1986. Discovery was delivered in November 1983. Atlantis was delivered in April 1985. Endeavour was built as a replacement following the Challenger accident and was delivered to Florida in May 1991. An early Space Shuttle Orbiter, the Enterprise, never flew in space but was used for approach and landing tests at the Dryden Flight Research Center and several launch pad studies in the late 1970's." NASA

Looking aft toward the cargo bay of NASA's Space Shuttle Orbiter 102 vehicle, Columbia, Astronauts John Young (left) and Robert Crippen preview some of the intravehicular activity expected to take place during the orbiter's flight test, at Kennedy Space Center October 10, 1980. Image NASA. More here...

Looking aft toward the cargo bay of NASA's Space Shuttle Orbiter 102 vehicle, Columbia, Astronauts John Young (left) and Robert Crippen preview some of the intravehicular activity expected to take place during the orbiter's flight test, at Kennedy Space Center October 10, 1980. Image NASA. More here...

NASA space shuttle Columbia hitched a ride on a special 747 carrier aircraft for the flight from Palmdale, California, to Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on March 1, 2001. Image- NASA

NASA space shuttle Columbia hitched a ride on a special 747 carrier aircraft for the flight from Palmdale, California, to Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on March 1, 2001. Image- NASA

 

Shuttle Enterprise

Part of the crew of the television series Star Trek attend the first showing of America's first Space Shuttle, named Enterprise, in Palmdale, California, on September 17, 1976. From left are Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, DeForest Kelly and James Doohan  

Part of the crew of the television series Star Trek attend the first showing of America's first Space Shuttle, named Enterprise, in Palmdale, California, on September 17, 1976. From left are Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, DeForest Kelly and James Doohan

 

Shuttle Atlantis

A view photographed from the International Space Station in 2007 shows the Space Shuttle Atlantis above the Earth, as the two spacecraft were nearing their link-up in Earth orbit.

A view photographed from the International Space Station in 2007 shows the Space Shuttle Atlantis above the Earth, as the two spacecraft were nearing their link-up in Earth orbit.

 

Space Shuttle Discovery

Rollout of space shuttle Discovery is slow-going due to the onset of lightning in the area of Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on August 4, 2009. The rollout was in preparation for launch on the STS-128 mission to the International Space Station

Rollout of space shuttle Discovery is slow-going due to the onset of lightning in the area of Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on August 4, 2009. The rollout was in preparation for launch on the STS-128 mission to the International Space Station

 

Space Shuttle Endeavour

The docked space shuttle Endeavour, backdropped by a nighttime view of Earth and a starry sky are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 28 crew member on the International Space Station, on May 28, 2011.

The docked space shuttle Endeavour, backdropped by a nighttime view of Earth and a starry sky are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 28 crew member on the International Space Station, on May 28, 2011.

Space Shuttle launch configuration. NASA. More here...

Space Shuttle launch configuration. NASA. More here...

 

The Space Shuttle- By William Shatner (Below)

NASA Space Shuttle's Final Voyage of Atlantis  (Below)

Space Shuttle STS-112 Atlantis Space Station Assembly ISS-9A S1 Truss 2002 NASA

 

Shuttle artwork by Adrian West.

Shuttle artwork by Adrian West.

“It’s going to go down as a remarkable achievement and its legacy will be very strong. I t’s been inspirational to the nation, and its success has made an enormous contribution to our future in space.” – John Mulholland, Vice President and Program Manager, Boeing Space Shuttle Program
— Boeing

 

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft - Space Shuttle Endeavour Landing at LAX

 

Space Shuttle Enterprise OV-101

Space Shuttle Enterprise OV-101

 

 

The Space Shuttle

A Proud Heritage

Orbiter heat tile work at Rockwell International

Orbiter heat tile work at Rockwell International

Orbiter Enterprise in vertical position

Orbiter Enterprise in vertical position

Piggyback! Enterprise and special 747.

Piggyback! Enterprise and special 747.

Flight director Charles R. Lewis (left) studies a chart display on his console's monitor in the mission operations control room (MOCR) in the Johnson Space Center's Mission Control Center, in April of 1981. Image- NASA

Flight director Charles R. Lewis (left) studies a chart display on his console's monitor in the mission operations control room (MOCR) in the Johnson Space Center's Mission Control Center, in April of 1981. Image- NASA

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, this space shuttle mock-up, dubbed Pathfinder, is attached to the Mate-Demate Device for at fit-check on October 19, 1978

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, this space shuttle mock-up, dubbed Pathfinder, is attached to the Mate-Demate Device for at fit-check on October 19, 1978

Space Shuttle 101 assembly. Image- Boeing
Space Shuttle orbiter work at Rockwell. Image- ALF Archive

Space Shuttle orbiter work at Rockwell. Image- ALF Archive

Shuttle Discovery with jets. Image- NASA

Shuttle Discovery with jets. Image- NASA

The crew module initial build continues in Bldg 290 high bay at the Rockwell Downey facility.

The crew module initial build continues in Bldg 290 high bay at the Rockwell Downey facility.

On April 14, 1981, the rear wheels of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia touched down on Rogers dry lake at Edwards Air Force Base, NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center (then Dryden Flight Research Center), in southern California, to successfully complete a stay in space of more than two days. Astronauts John W. Young, STS-1 commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, were aboard the vehicle. The mission marked the first NASA flight to end with a wheeled landing and represented the beginning of a new age of spaceflight that would employ the same hardware repeatedly. An area of the air base was set aside for public viewing of the landing, and crowds numbered well over 200,000 people, with some estimates as high as 300,000 visitors who flocked to the site. Media from around the world added to the throng, as radio and TV trucks of all shapes and sizes rolled in from everywhere. James Young, Chief Historian of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, remembered the landing well. "You just had to be there to hear, even feel, the double crack of the sonic boom," Young said. "It was such a tremendous sense of excitement to see something never seen before, to witness such a historic event." Photo Credit: NASA

On April 14, 1981, the rear wheels of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia touched down on Rogers dry lake at Edwards Air Force Base, NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center (then Dryden Flight Research Center), in southern California, to successfully complete a stay in space of more than two days. Astronauts John W. Young, STS-1 commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, were aboard the vehicle. The mission marked the first NASA flight to end with a wheeled landing and represented the beginning of a new age of spaceflight that would employ the same hardware repeatedly.

An area of the air base was set aside for public viewing of the landing, and crowds numbered well over 200,000 people, with some estimates as high as 300,000 visitors who flocked to the site. Media from around the world added to the throng, as radio and TV trucks of all shapes and sizes rolled in from everywhere.

James Young, Chief Historian of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, remembered the landing well. "You just had to be there to hear, even feel, the double crack of the sonic boom," Young said. "It was such a tremendous sense of excitement to see something never seen before, to witness such a historic event."

Photo Credit: NASA

The Los Angeles Times, Tuesday March 19, 1996

The Los Angeles Times, Tuesday March 19, 1996

Artist concept of X-33 and VentureStar Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). Image- NASA/ Boeing

Artist concept of X-33 and VentureStar Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). Image- NASA/ Boeing

X-33 Contractor Design Proposals NASA Dryden January, 2000. Image- Boeing / NASA

X-33 Contractor Design Proposals NASA Dryden January, 2000. Image- Boeing / NASA

NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with the space shuttle Discovery mated on top rolls into position for demating at Washington Dulles International Airport, Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Sterling, VA. Image- NASA

NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with the space shuttle Discovery mated on top rolls into position for demating at Washington Dulles International Airport, Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Sterling, VA. Image- NASA

NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with the space shuttle Discovery mated on top rolls into position for demating at Washington Dulles International Airport, Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in Sterling, VA. Discovery, the first orbiter retired from NASA's shuttle fleet, completed 39 missions, spent 365 days in space, orbited the Earth 5,830 times, and traveled 148,221,675 miles. NASA will transfer Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum to begin its new mission to commemorate past achievements in space and to educate and inspire future generations of explorers. NASA

The Space Shuttle Orbiter by John Young USN Retired (Courtesy- NAAR Winter 2007)

Shuttle liftoff