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Pete Crow in Kennedy Media Center 5 am Friday, November 3, 2012. An unusually large number of media showed up to cover the final event in the American Space Shuttle program.

Once the decision was made in 2010 to shutter the American space shuttle program, the program began wrapping up.

The last mission was flown in July 2011, STS-135. It was an add-on mission to supply the International Space Station through the end of 2012 in hopes that SpaceX would be able to get  flying in time to re-supply the ISS and to avoid the shut-down of the ISS sometime early in 2013. SpaceX made its first re-supply mission earlier this year. The ISS is safe.

Next the decision was made where to send the shuttles.

The Smithsonian got the oldest surviving member of the fleet, Discovery, but it wasn’t without a fight. Los Angeles, south of Palmdale, where the shuttles were built, got the newest member of the fleet, Endeavour. It was decided toi leave Atlantis in Florida only a few miles where she was repeatedly launched into space.

And Houston where Mission Control and the astronauts live?  Houston was one of the two central places in the entire program. Houston got nothing.

Well, almost nothing:  — they got the “high definition” shuttle, a mockup built for the Kennedy Space Center.

The High Def leaves the Visitor Center in December 2011. This time the route did not include that guard house .

Meanwhile, Enterprise, which had been at the Smithsonian and was a test vehicle, was sent to New York where, reportedly, it was severely damaged by Tropical Storm Sandy in November 2012.

Why was Houston stiffed? Texans are convinced it was pure politics: — payback from President Barack Obama for not voting for him. It’s what they believe.

On Friday, November 3, 2012, Atlantis, the last of the surviving shuttles and the last shuttle to go to a museum, was guided along the roads at Kennedy Space Center, across open fields and eventually eased into its final resting place only a few miles from where she flew more than 30 missions. Atlantis is home, and now becomes a museum piece and, hopefully, an inspiration for generations to come.

Moving Atlantis on a circuitous 12 mile route  to the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center on Friday, November 2, 2012, was easy compared to the challenges of moving the Endeavour two weeks earlier through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center. The distance was the same — the challenges were not.

The rollover of the Atlantis from the Vehicle Assembly Building where she had been stored began early. The badging center for the media opened at 4:30 am — and closed at 6 am when the roads at Kennedy Space Center were roped off and closed. No one had any doubts this would be a long day. Any media that had traveled west for the move of the Endeavour in Los Angeles in mid-October 2012 knew things could get way off the reservation as they had to Los Angeles. The Visitors Center had fireworks planned for 7 pm when the Atlantis was scheduled to arrive at the building where she will be housed. Did Atlantis arrive on time? You betcha.

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The media was moved six times during the rollover’s 12 hours in a complicated series of handoffs. Initially the media came to the press site, parked and boarded buses to the VAB. Once the Atlantis was out of the VAB and on to the road, the NASA buses moved the media to a second location ahead of the shuttle. And, given how fast they were driving the shuttle, it was not long before here she came. Obligingly, the Atlantis was stopped at an intersection and the media moved in to shoot photos and video. For most of the press this was either the third or fourth shuttle move they had covered beginning with the movement of the High Definition shuttle in December 2011 which was sent from Kennedy Visitors Center to Houston to make way for the Atlantis.

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Many who worked on the shuttle program walked her from the VAB and then gave way to a local high school band, and still later to astronauts who had flown aboard her. The first stop for Atlantis was in front of the NASA/Kennedy administration building where Charles (“Charlie”) Bolton, NASA administrator and a former astronaut, signed the rights to exhibit the Atlantis over to the Kennedy Vistor’s Center. Unlike other shuttles, which were sold and rights relinquished, NASA will continue to own the Atlantis allowing the Visitors Center to exhibit her.

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Charles Bolton signs over the Atlantis. Familiar troubles were just beginning. NASA had put visitors in front of the press here and these guests began blocking any photographers who were not able to get onto the few photography stands. When asked to move most refused to do so. This behavior is becoming increasingly common.

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After the signing ceremony, Atlantis set out again, this time for an extended stay at the new NASA Exploration Park which currently is an open field, but where development is on the way. At Exploration Park Atlantis was parked for three hours allowing guests, media and those who had paid the Visitors Center for rights to see her here to walk closely around her. Food, exhibits, speeches and music also took place at the park. But at 3 pm, by which time most people had headed for the Visitors Center, Atlantis set out for the final leg of her journey The press was handed off here.  Visitors Center now assumed control and movement of the press.

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Atlantis spent her the afternoon with her nose nestled among exhibition and food booths. As as was true in Los Angeles for Endeavour two weeks earlier, the public was allowed to walk right up to her. Because the shuttles never left KSC unless being launched, hardly anyone had ever seen them before the movements of them to museums. The reaction of most people when they first saw the shuttles (which weigh about 155,000 pounds and stand 55-high) for the first time? They were surprised how big they are.

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The Kennedy Visitors Center does a great job of educating about space and NASA’s programs including fun interactive games. At Exploration Park children and adults were invited to make their own rocket, attach fins, decorate, fire the rocket (using compressed air) and then go retrieve their rocket down range. Those sending their rockets the furtherest were, from time-to-time during the afternoon, awarded small prizes. Here several children begin to make their rockets.

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Rockets were fired with air which was compressed using a bicycle pump. Here a young rocketeer pumps and compresses air into a small canister.

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Then all you had to do was press as button and …. whoosh! Off your rocket goes! The children were being shown, and doing, all of the basic principals and steps of rocketry.

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After firing, the children headed down range to find out how far their rocket had gone and to retrieve it. They were welcome to fire as often as they wished since there were plenty of “firing stations” available.

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Late in the afternoon, Atlantis rounded the corner for the final time and approached the Visitors Center where she stopped while guests at the Visitors Center took pictures and had a second look at her.

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To move the Atlantis electric wires had to be raised, and stoplights and signs removed. It took extensive and time consuming preparation.

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Atlantis was led the final mile to the Visitor Center by astronauts who had once flown aboard her. It was a poignant moment reminding those watching how some of the once young and vigorous astronauts have aged. One used a walker.

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Atlantis will go on display in the summer of 2013 in a remarkable configuration allowing visitors to peak inside. Each of the shuttles are being displayed in different configurations although the museums did not co-ordinate with one another how how they planned to display their shuttles. Preparation for Atlantis’ arrival began last December with the removal of the “High Definition” shuttle mock-up that had been on display here. That mock-up was sent to Houston for display. After it had been removed construction on this building which will house the Atlantis began.

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This is where Atlantis will eventually be displayed. Currently the building is, obviously, still under construction. The beams that will support Atlantis as if she was in flight are visible in the lower right. Atlantis was moved into the building late Friday night November 3, 2012. She was then bundled up to protect her while construction continued. First up: the front of the building was closed in.

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As dusk approached, Atlantis was eased into the construction site where she came to a halt. Officials and media gathered. More words were spoken, and photos were taken. Fireworks were fired. And then about 8 pm Atlantis was driven into the building where sometime next summer she will be receiving visitors. The American Space Shuttle era had come to its final end. For the first time since the early 1980s, no space shuttles are either in the hangars at KSC or in space. It’s over, folks.

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[CLICK to ENLARGE] Kennedy Visitor Center Map of Atlantis route from VAB to Visitors Center

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[CLICK to ENLARGE] Kennedy Visitor Center Map of Atlantis route from VAB to Visitors Center

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Some of the Seine/Harbour Productions’ crew killing time at Kennedy Space Center waiting for Atlantis to show up November 3, 2012. (photo courtesy of AJ Achilles)

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PeteCrow/NASA, photographs and content, are the copyrighted literary property, © 2012 of Seine/Harbour™ Productions, LLC, Studio City, California.  Please visit our other sites, including The World ReBooted® by clicking HERE.



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After moving from the United Airlines Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to the adjacent Los Angeles suburb of Westchester, the Shuttle sat in a parking lot for about 8 hours, and then in the afternoon resumed its move on the streets of Los Angeles toward its greatest obstacle, the I-405 bridge on Manchester Boulevard. Here, the shuttle stopped, changed carriers and was dragged across the bridge by a Toyota as part of a commercial.

Location, late Friday at I-405.

Why Toyota? Why not. Moving the shuttle is ghastly expensive with ahead and behind the convoy armies taking down light poles, street signs and stoplights, laying metal plates to protect utilities and trimming (if not cutting down) trees. And after the shuttle passes? Everything must be put back exactly as before by the end of the weekend. So even the streets are being brushed and then scrubbed.

By late Friday crowds had gathered at the I-405 bridge as the shuttle arrived as the California Science Center handed out t-shirts that read “I Love my Space Shuttle” on the front and “Mission 26: THE BIG ENDEAVOUR!” on the back along with a picture of the shuttle and the California Science Center name.

This is nothing short of joyous.

The trek was to continue on Saturday ending mid-evening Saturday with the Endeavour sliding into its temporary new home for the next few years adjacent to the Los Angeles Coliseum. She will was to begin receiving visitors by the end of October.

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Endeavour pulled into a parking lot where only 2-hour parking is allowed early Friday morning, October 12 — and, sure enough, after lunch someone came along and towed her away.

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The Endeavour eases around a corner heading uphill to the Manchester crossing of Interstate 405. This was easily the most challenging part of the move since the shuttle ands its carrier were too heavy to cross the bridge together. The solution? Use a lighter carrier and have a Toyota truck tug her across. Plus! Toyota could make a commercial, pay a ot of money and help defray the huge cost of moving the Endeavour through the streets of Los Angeles. The city has never seen anything like this, and probably never will again.

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Endeavour stopped short of the I-405 crossing a block west where it was transferred to a different carrier. In her trip to the California Science Center near downtown Los Angeles she passed through from Los Angeles into the municipality of Inglewood and then back into Los Angeles. Inglewood, with a much smaller police force, drew on other police agencies including  the California Highway Patrol and the Amtrak police and Amtrak’s police dogs. Amtrak has dogs? — yes, Amtrak has dogs.

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Carol Anne Swagler, Seine/Harbour™ Productions photographer, wears California Science Center livery after being handed a t-shirt which reads “I love my Space Shuttle”. She stands next to a security official who oversaw the security for the media section at the I-405 bridge. Her name is Cookie and she was as good at handling people as anyone we have ever seen.

.These photographs and text are © 2012 by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC and Peter M. Crow

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The Final Space Shuttle on Pad 39A before Launch

The final mission in July 2011 the Space Shuttle program was STS-135, an add-on mission necessary to re-supply the International Space Station through the end of 2012.  This photograph is pre-dawn morning at Kennedy Space Center a day before the final flight.

Pete Crow at Launch Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, with STS-135, final mission in the shuttle program on pad behind him awaiting launch. (Carol Anne Swagler photograph, © 2011 Seine/Harbour Productions)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WEATHER  (again) POSTPONES SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR FERRY FLIGHT — FLIGHT WILL BE NO EARLIER THAN WEDNESDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012

(Text of Advisory to Media waiting at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, 3pm Monday, September 17, 2012):

CLICK to ENLARGE // Cockpit, SCA on ground at KSC, September 17, 2012

“NASA managers have postponed the ferry flight of space shuttle Endeavour to Wednesday, Sept. 19.The decision was made to ensure a safe flight for Endeavour and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

A low pressure front in the northern Gulf of Mexico is generating thunderstorms along the predicted flight path. Managers will hold another weather briefing at 11 a.m. Tuesday.”

This is the second day in which weather along the route of the 747-100 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft N905NA was deemed too risky to send the Endeavour west.

The Shuttle was mounted piggyback onto the 747-100 in two stages on Frday, September 14, and Saturday, September 15, 2012.

NASA added the additional Advisory to Media at 7:30pm EDT, September 17:

SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR FERRY FLIGHT RESCHEDULED TO SEPT. 19

WASHINGTON — NASA’s ferry flight of space shuttle Endeavour atop the
747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) is rescheduled for Wednesday,
Sept. 19 due to an unfavorable weather forecast along the flight path
on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Endeavour now is expected to arrive at Los
Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday, Sept. 21.

On Oct. 11, 2011, NASA transferred title and ownership of Endeavour to
the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The decision to
reschedule the flight was made Monday in coordination with the
science center to ensure a safe flight for Endeavour and the SCA.
Weather predictions are favorable Wednesday for the flight path
between Houston and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where the flight
will originate.

CLICK to ENLARGE The Mate/Demate device is located on the souheastern end of the Shuttle Landing Facility. The shuttle is driven in, then lifted allowing the 747 to be towed in beneath it. Then the shuttle is lowered onto the back of the 747-100 and secured. The process was successfully used for almost 40 years beginning with the early test flights. The primary 747-100, purchased in 1974, had been in commercial use by American Airlines before being acquired by NASA.

In cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration, the SCA is
scheduled to conduct low-level flyovers at about 1,500 feet above
locations along the planned flight path. The exact timing and path of
the ferry flight will depend on weather conditions and operational
constraints. Some planned flyovers or stopovers could be delayed or
cancelled. If the ferry flight is postponed again, an additional
advisory will be issued.

At sunrise on Sept. 19, the SCA and Endeavour will depart Kennedy’s
Shuttle Landing Facility and perform a flyover of various areas of
the Space Coast, including Kennedy, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor
Complex, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base.

The aircraft will fly west and conduct low flyovers of NASA’s Stennis
Space Center in Mississippi and the agency’s Michoud Assembly
Facility in New Orleans. As it arrives over the Texas Gulf Coast
area, the SCA will perform low flyovers above various areas of
Houston and Clear Lake before landing at Ellington Field near NASA’s
Johnson Space Center.

At sunrise on Thursday, Sept. 20, the aircraft will depart Houston,
make a refueling stop at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, and
conduct low-level flyovers of White Sands Test Facility near Las
Cruces, N.M., and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air
Force Base in California, before landing around mid-day at Dryden.

Options for the NASA Social at Dryden are being evaluated. Attendees
for the event will be notified by the NASA social media team once
plans are decided.

On the morning of Sept. 21, the SCA and Endeavour will take off from
Dryden and perform a low-level flyover of northern California,
passing near NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.,
and various landmarks in multiple cities, including Sacramento and
San Francisco. The aircraft also will conduct a flyover of many Los
Angeles sites before landing about 11 a.m. PDT at LAX.

Social media users are encouraged to share their Endeavour sightings
using the hashtags #spottheshuttle and #OV105, Endeavour’s orbiter
vehicle designation.

After arrival at LAX, Endeavour will be removed from the SCA and spend
a few weeks at a United Airlines hangar undergoing preparations for
transport and display. Endeavour then will travel through Inglewood
and Los Angeles city streets on a 12-mile journey from the airport to
the science center, arriving in the evening on Oct. 13.

Beginning Oct. 30, the shuttle will be on display in the science
center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion,
embarking on its new mission to commemorate past achievements in
space and educate and inspire future generations of explorers.

Endeavour completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited
Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles.

For information about NASA’s transfer of space shuttles to museums,
visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/transition

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NASA’s 747-100 SCA lands after trans-continental flight from Edwards AFB, California to Kennedy Space Center Florida, on September 11, 2012.

On Monday, September 17, 2012, Endeavour, atop this 747-100, will begin its final journal across the United States to Los Angeles and to the California Science Center.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour will arrive at the CSC on Saturday October 13, 2012 after an overnight and full day’s journey through the streets of Los Angeles from Los Angeles International Airport.

NASA’s 747-100, known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), took off from Edwards Air Force Base at 8:26 am PDT and landed on the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility 5 hours 39 minutes after its non-stop transcontinental flight.

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Few media showed up for the landing. Only nine media attended. NASA sent five staff members to keep an eye on them. The landing begins a series of seven days of activities at the Kennedy Space Center, culminating in the departure of the Endeavour at dawn on September 17, 2012.

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Later in the week media will be taken on board the 747-100, interview the crew, see updates to Kennedy launching pads, visit the old firing rooms and view the mating of the Endeavour to the top of the NASA 747-100.

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The flight path of NASA flight 905 from KEDW to KTTS on September 11, 2012.

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Stats on NASA Flight 905 from Flight Aware — http://www.flightaware.com

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(this is text of a NASA press release on Saturday, September 8, 2012)

WASHINGTON — Space shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop NASA’s modified

747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), will make the final ferry flight

of the Space Shuttle Program era when it departs Monday, Sept. 17,

from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida headed to Los Angeles

International Airport (LAX).

Endeavour, at top, leaves the OPF for the final time and heads for the VAB, as Atlantis takes its place. The switch took place in August 2012. Endeavour leaves KSC on September 17 and arrives in Los Angeles on September 20. It goes to the California Science Museum overnight October 12, arriving the afternoon of October 13. Atlantis goes down the road to the KSC visitor’s Center, scheduled to arrive on November 2. These are the last of the shuttles, and shuttle mockups that remain at KSC. When they are gone, the program is fully ended and the last personnel who worked on them will be gone as well. -photograph by Pete Crow for Seine/Harbour® Productions

On Oct. 11, 2011, NASA transferred title and ownership of Endeavour to

the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Under the terms of a

Space Act Agreement with the science center, NASA will safely

transport Endeavour to LAX for a planned arrival on Thursday, Sept.

20.

In cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration, the SCA is

scheduled to conduct low-level flyovers at about 1,500 feet above

locations along the planned flight path. The exact timing and path of

the ferry flight will depend on weather conditions and operational

constraints. Some planned flyovers or stopovers could be delayed or

cancelled. If the ferry flight must be postponed for any reason, an

additional advisory will be issued.

At sunrise on Sept. 17, the SCA and Endeavour will depart Kennedy’s

Shuttle Landing Facility and perform a flyover of various areas of

the Space Coast, including Kennedy, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor

Complex, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base.

The aircraft will fly west and conduct low flyovers of NASA’s Stennis

Space Center in Mississippi and the agency’s Michoud Assembly

Facility in New Orleans. As it arrives over the Texas Gulf Coast

area, the SCA will perform low flyovers above various areas of

Houston, Clear Lake and Galveston before landing at Ellington Field

near NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Weather permitting, the SCA and

Endeavour will stay at Ellington the remainder of Sept. 17 and all

day Sept. 18.

At sunrise on Wednesday, Sept. 19, the aircraft will depart Houston,

make a refueling stop at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, and

conduct low-level flyovers of White Sands Test Facility near Las

Cruces, N.M., and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air

Force Base in California, before landing around mid-day at Dryden.

On the morning of Sept. 20, the SCA and Endeavour will take off from

Dryden and perform a low-level flyover of northern California,

passing near NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.,

and various landmarks in multiple cities, including San Francisco and

Sacramento. The aircraft also will conduct a flyover of many Los

Angeles sites before landing about 11 a.m. PDT at LAX.

Social media users are encouraged to share their Endeavour sightings

using the hashtags #spottheshuttle and #OV105, Endeavour’s orbiter

vehicle designation.

After arrival at LAX, Endeavour will be removed from the SCA and spend

a few weeks at a United Airlines hangar undergoing preparations for

transport and display. Endeavour then will travel through Inglewood

and Los Angeles city streets on a 12-mile journey from the airport to

the science center, arriving in the evening on Oct. 13.

Beginning Oct. 30, the shuttle will be on display in the science

center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion,

embarking on its new mission to commemorate past achievements in

space and educate and inspire future generations of explorers.

Endeavour completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited

Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles.

For information about NASA’s transfer of space shuttles to museums,

visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/transition

For more about NASA missions and programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

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Endeavour which flew its final flight on STS-134 is now in OPF-2 (Orbiter Processing Facility 2) where it is being readied for being turned over to the California Science Museum in September 2012.

Pete Crow in the Commander seat on the flight deck of the Space Shuttle Eneavour on March 7, 2012. The photograph is by Tony Achilles of radio station WPKN in Bridgeport, CT.

As NASA did with the shuttle Discovery, the media was invited to have a look around on March 7, 2012 including visits to the flight deck.

Status of the three surviving orbiters (originally there were 5 — the first two, Columbia and Challenger were lost):

Endeavour — in early stages of preparation for Los Angeles
Discovery — goes to Smithsonian at Dulles Airport April 17, 2012
Atlantis — goes to Kennedy Space Center Visitors’ Center — building to house Atlantis is under construction

The Houston Johnson Space Center will get the shuttle mockup that has been at the Kennedy Space Center. It is on the dock at KSC in front of the Media Site 39 awaiting its barge ride to Galveston, Texas.

New York City will get, or may already have, the shuttle mockup that has been at the Smithsonian Museum at Dulles Airport.

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See my interview with Buddy McKenzie of the Space Alliance standing under the tail of the Endeavour on March 7 below:

DISCUSSION OF THE SHUTTLE TILES and challenges they presented to the NASA ground crews. This runs about five minutes.  Tony Achilles, WPKN in Bridgeport, Connecticut, shot this footage. This clip, which features Pete Crow interviewing Mr. McKenzie can also be found here. More of Mr. Achilles excellent footage of others events can also be found at this link.

NASA invites everyone associated with the shuttle, including the Media, to sign the walls of the White Rooms which will go to Museums. Pete’s signature is at the bottom of the Endeavour White Room wall on your right as you enter.

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.”petecrow/NASA” is jointly copyright © 2012, by Seine/Harbour® Productions, Studio City, CA, and by the Peter Michael Crow Trust.

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