Space Shuttle Discovery Departs from Edwards Air Force Base, August 19, 2005
The Space Shuttle Discovery departed from Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base on 747 Carrier Aircraft NASA Nine Oh Five at 8:31 A.M. PDT Friday, August 19, 2005. It is returning to the Kennedy Space Center. It landed at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma at 1:31 P.M. CDT. It arrived at Barksdale Air Force Base at 5:46 P.M. The shuttle remained at Barksdale Air Force Base on Saturday and continued to the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, arriving at 10:00 A.M. EDT. Discovery is scheduled to perform the next Space Shuttle mission in March.
I could almost title this display, Vintage Aircraft at Edwards. Of the aircraft pictured on this page, Discovery is the youngest at 22 years old.
Paralift Incorporated's Douglas DC-3-G202A, N20TW took off shortly before the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft lined up on Runway 22.
See Runway 22/04 on Google Earth.
DC-3, N20TW carries Douglas construction number 2236. It is 65 years old. It was delivered to Eastern Airlines as DC-3-201C, NC25648 in June 1940. It flew for North Central Airlines from May 1957 until April 1968. It has been registered to Paralift Incorporated since February 1988.
DC-3, N20TW is providing students of the Air Force Test Pilot School with proficiency training in unfamiliar airplane types.
Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker, 59-1470 of the 92nd Aerial Refueling Wing based at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington served as a pathfinder for Discovery. The pathfinder flies ahead of the 747-SCA to observe weather conditions, particularly turbulence and rain. For this mission, 59-1470 flew under the call sign NASA Three Eight One. It is 46 years old.
McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18B-4MC Hornet, N852NA took off from mid-field and made a circuit in the pattern. It flies under the call sign NASA Eight Five Two. It is the third pre-production F/A-18B and is about 25 years old. It was delivered to the U.S. Navy as TF-18A, BuNo 161217 as part of F/A-18 Lot 3. TF-18As were redesignated F/A-18B in the early 1980s. It joined NASA in 1985. The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center also operates the first two F/A-18Bs as N845NA and N846NA. An unusually large crowd of observers was assembled on the other side of the runway.
NASA Eight Five Two carried a video camera operator in the back seat to provide live television of the take-off and ascent.
NASA Eight Five Two.
NASA Eight Five Two lined up parallel to Runway 22 as the 747-SCA started rolling at 8:31 A.M. PDT.
Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, N905NA flies under the call sign NASA Nine Oh Five. It is 35 years old. It was originally American Airlines 747-123, N9668. Its Boeing construction number is 20107. It made its first flight on October 15, 1970, and was delivered to American Airlines two weeks later. NASA acquired it on July 18, 1974
Discovery's official designation is OV-103. It is 22 years old. It departed from Edwards Air Force Base on this 747 Carrier Aircraft on November 9, 1983. It made its first orbital flight, STS-41D, on August 30, 1984. STS-114 was its thirty-first orbital mission.
Twenty-eight years ago: The same 747-SCA, N905NA takes off with Enterprise at the beginning of the first Approach and Landing Test (ALT-1) on August 12, 1977. The American Airlines heritage of the 747-SCA was still apparent.
The 747-SCA lifted off farther down the runway and climbed more slowly than I expected. It was just rising from the ground 12,000 feet along the runway. Discovery was particularly heavy, with much of the material that it had unloaded from the International Space Station still stowed in its payload bay.
The piggyback stack remained close to the ground.
NASA Eight Five Two maintained formation with the 747-SCA and Discovery as they receded to the west.
The 747-SCA and Discovery turned right and made their way eastward, north of the base.
Northrop T-38A Talon, 68-8205 took off five minutes after NASA Nine Oh Five. It carries an air data boom on its nose that is not typical of the Talon. It is 37 years old.
DC-3, N20TW made a touch-and-go landing on Runway 22 eight minutes after the departure of Discovery.
You can buy a 2009 Calendar featuring my photographs of Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
A dozen photos of 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Events depicted include:
Put a copy of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 2009 Calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart.
747-SCA N905NA/Enterprise Approach and Landing Test 1 take-off on August 12, 1977.
747-SCA N905NA/Enterprise Approach and Landing Test 4 rollout and take-off on October 12, 1977.
747-SCA N905NA/Columbia delivery take-off on March 20, 1979.
747-SCA N905NA/Challenger static and departure take-off on July 4, 1982.
747-SCA N911NA/Endeavor delivery take-off from Palmdale on May 2, 1991.
747-SCA N905NA/Columbia landing at Palmdale on September 25, 1999.
747-SCA N905NA/Discovery take-off on November 2, 2000.
747-SCA N905NA/Discovery take-off on August 19, 2005.
747-SCA N905NA/Atlantis take-off on July 1, 2007.
747-SCA N911NA/Endeavor take-off on December 10, 2008.
More pictures from previous Space Shuttle events.
A 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is scheduled to fly at the 2005 Edwards Air Force Base open house and airshow on the weekend of October 22 - 23.
Go to the Airshow Page of the Goleta Air and Space Museum.
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