Hawker From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 105 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3408 times:
Just noticed in the picture of the NASA 747 with the shuttle, it still seems to have all it's windows. So just wondering does it carry NASA personnel around and if not fitted with seats, how is the interior configured?
VirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4537 posts, RR: 48 Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3368 times:
I am pretty sure that they are only used for flying the shuttle around (and the occasional airshow appearance). As for the interior, it would appear to be empty other than seating in Zone A, and presumably on the upper deck:
Contrails From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1825 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3203 times:
The first NASA 747 shuttle-carrier was purchased from AA and was modified at their maintenance center at TUL. I watched it do some touch and go's one day, just before AA turned it over to NASA. I also saw it one day a few years later when it stopped off at TUL. I don't remember why anymore, but I'll always remember watching it climb out with a fighter escort.
As beautiful as this bird is, it used over 100,000 pounds of jet fuel to get the shuttle back to Cape Cananeral the other day; and that doesn't include the fuel the fighter and KC-135 escort used. I enjoyed watching the plane at TUL, but watching it the other day made me sick when I thought about how much the fuel cost.
Spacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3365 posts, RR: 13 Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2993 times:
There are two NASA shuttle carriers - 905 and 911. 905 was purchased in 1974 from AA and is a 747-100. 911 was purchased in the 1980's from JAL and is a 747SR.
I actually don't know which one ferried the Discovery back on the latest mission. (Edit: Just found a high-res image on NASA's site - it was 905.)
The interiors of these planes were gutted to save weight. I would think even covering the windows would just add a bit of unnecessary weight. There are already some pretty severe restrictions on flying these things with the shuttle attached - 250 knots max speed (or Mach 0.6), 13,000-15,000 ft. cruising altitude. And it always has to fly with about a 2 or 3 degree nose-up attitude when level. The shuttle itself does provide a little bit of extra lift with its wings so it's not like these planes need to lift the entire weight of the shuttle, but it's still quite a bit of extra bulk. (I don't know the exact number with the lift from the wings factored in.)
I remember watching the early shuttle carrier tests in the 1970's - back then they showed absolutely everything shuttle-related on live TV. I remember 905 was still painted in the AA livery for a while (just with the logos covered up, or sandblasted off). I've never seen 911 painted in JAL's livery - does anyone know what the original reg of this plane was?
FlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 15 Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2815 times:
The original registrations of both of NASA's 747 shuttle carriers are...
N9668, the 747-123 now known as N905NA. Line #86, first flight 1970.
JA8117, the 747SR-81 now known as N911NA. Line #221, first flight 1973.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
TomFoolery From Austria, joined Jan 2004, 512 posts, RR: 2 Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2641 times:
The original space shuttle, The Enterprise, was used for test purposes, ,but was never used in space. Some of the landing and flight tests involved hauling it up to (i think) 10,000 ft on the back of the 747, and letting it glide (keep in mind this is similiar to letting a slightly aerodynamic brick glide off of the plane). The enterprise is or will be displayed at the Smithsonian A&S museum Udvar Hazy Ctr at IAD.
I could only imagine that such a flight would take a great deal of cajones on the part of both flight crews.
The weight has changed some since then, with some weight reduced inside but gained back in equipment needed to dock at the Space Station. Discovery was probably well over 200,000 lbs. during her recent return to Kennedy Space Center.
The Boeing 747s are heavily modified to carry the Space Shuttles.
Quoting BA747400 (Reply 8):
Wow, what is going on in this pic?! The space shuttle has dismounted from the 741! Do they land separately? (Forgive me if this is an obvious answer...)
NASA conducted a series of Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) at Edwards Air Force Base, California in 1977. The program culminated in five free flights, with Enterprise released off the back of the 747.
Thorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2484 times:
Quoting SATL382G (Reply 11):
On Letterman a few nights ago Collins said Discovery weighed 227000lbs at landing. Ferry weight was that less propellants offloaded & crew cabin items removed.
Yep. Checking back, most of the Station resupply mission landing weights are in the neighborhood of 225,000 lbs. Those "empty weights" I gave must be about 10,000 lbs. higher now, because that from 227,000 lbs. would give a payload weight of 55,000 lbs. but the Shuttle is only capable of around 45,000 lbs. to the Space Station.