Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

Topic Author
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:28 pm

NASA 747 SCA previous life

Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:23 pm

Hello all, happy new year!

Today there was a photo from NASA's shuttle carrier 747, and after seeing some more photos of it I noticed and read that it was once a JL plane, and a SR version nonetheless. Does anybody know how many hours it had when it was sold to NASA? What were the reasons for this choice? I would imagine a 747SR would have a lot of hours and cycles, and probably would be one of the last in my list of choices. Also, it was different from the first SCA which was a normal -100 version.

Regarding the paint scheme, I read a comment here that it was a reminiscent from its previous owner, Pan Am, but while searching I found that none were bought from PA (N905NA was bought from AA). What is the history behind it?

Here is the photo of it:

User avatar
Posts: 24836
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: NASA 747 SCA previous life

Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:41 pm has a pretty detailed history.

According to it, you are looking at the 2nd SCA. The first was ex-AA.

As for why the 747 was preferred:

The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy was considered for the shuttle-carrier role by NASA, but rejected in favor of the 747—in part due to the 747's low-wing design in comparison to the C-5's high-wing design, and also because the U.S. Air Force would have retained ownership of the C-5, while NASA could own the 747s outright.

It doesn't say why the ex-JL plane was chosen.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
Posts: 744
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 am

Re: NASA 747 SCA previous life

Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:00 am

Don't know for sure but maybe they selected the ex JL bird simply to save money. I don't know about back then but I know now NASA is run on a tight budget. Maybe they decided that since they wouldn't be putting many cycles on the aircraft anyway it would be smart to just buy the cheap and cheerful high cycle aircraft.
Been on: 320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 738, 739, 744, 752, 763, 764, 772, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, MD83, MD88, MD90, E70, E75, E90, TRIM
Flown: SEEKER, C150M C172N, C172R, C172S, C182RG, DA40, PA-46
User avatar
Posts: 1694
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:04 pm

Re: NASA 747 SCA previous life

Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:03 am

I must admit, for years I assumed the 2nd SCA was ex Pan-Am, given the livery NASA painted it in. The original SCA 747 operated in it's former AA basic scheme, minus titles/logos. Does that one still exist somewhere or scrapped ?
Posts: 7054
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:44 am

Re: NASA 747 SCA previous life

Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:21 am

They got it back in 1988 at a time when the likes of Continental, Northwest, United, TWA & Pan Am were still flying -100s. Since it's a Short Range version, I guess it was a matter of balance between requirements and money to spend, ie. no need for more range or empty weight. ... 911NA-NASA
Posts: 7101
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2000 6:25 am

Re: NASA 747 SCA previous life

Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:35 am

Choosing a 747SR as the second NASA SCA made perfectly good sense.

The SR had strengthened fuselage, wing and landing gear, and was built for 50,000 cycles instead of 25,000. It had increased payload and zero fuel weight. (At the expense of reduced fuel capacity).

No 747 version would fit better as the second SCA.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs

Popular Searches On

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos