Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base


Go to the Home PageDue to unfavorable weather conditions in Florida, the Space Shuttle Discovery was diverted to Edwards Air Force Base at the conclusion of mission STS-92 on Tuesday, October 24.

The departure of the Discovery on the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft was initially scheduled for sunrise on Tuesday, October 31.

October 30

Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device, October 30, 2000 As of Monday afternoon, the shuttle was sitting on its landing gear under the Mate/Demate Device.  The yellow cradle of the crane was attached to Discovery at the hoist points on the sides of its fuselage.  NASA technicians were working to install the large cone on the tail that smooths the airflow around the orbiter while it is being carried on the 747.  

Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device, October 30, 2000 The first 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, N905NA was waiting next to the Shuttle maintenance hangar. It was modified from American Airlines 747-123, N9668, which first flew on October 15, 1970. It can be distinguised from the other Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, N911NA by the number of windows on the upper deck. There are only two windows on the upper deck of N905NA. N911NA is ex-Japan Airlines 747-146SR, JA8117.

Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device, October 30, 2000 That evening technicians began to encounter problems with the alignment of the tail cone.

Twenty-three years earlier, OV-101, Enterprise, August 12, 1977 the Space Shuttle Enterprise, OV-101 is towed into the Mate/Demate Device on August 12, 1977 following its first Approach and Landing Test flight.

Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device, October 30, 2000 After sunset, the first of the work lights were coming on. 

Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device, October 30, 2000 Later, the scene was entirely lit up under flood lights.

Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device, October 30, 2000 Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device and the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device, October 30, 2000 Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device.

Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device, October 30, 2000 Space Shuttle Discovery in Mate/Demate Device.

November 2

As a result of problems attaching the tail cone to the Discovery, its departure was postponed until Thursday. Initially, it was scheduled for 6:00 AM. Coincidentally, a test flight of the X-38 Space Station Lifeboat parachute recovery system demonstrator was scheduled to take-off at 8:00 AM. The X-38 is carried by NASA's Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership, 52-0008.

Northrop HL-10 The Northrop HL-10 lifting body, N804NA is mounted on a pylon at the intersection leading to the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

Visit the NASA Dryden HL-10 Home Page.

NASA Dryden display airplanes Display airplanes at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center include Lockheed F-104G Starfighter chase plane, N826NA; the second Grumman X-29 forward-swept wing demonstrator, 82-0049; the digital fly-by-wire Vought F-8 Crusader, N802NA; and the supercritical wing F-8 Crusader, N810NA.

Visit the NASA Dryden F-104 Starfighter Photo Gallery.

Space Shuttle Discovery on 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in Mate/Demate Device, November 2, 2000 The 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft had been moved into position under the Discovery.

Twenty-three years earlier, OV-101, Enterprise and 747-SCA, October 12, 1977 the Space Shuttle Enterprise, OV-101 and 747-SCA, N905NA wait in the Mate/Demate Device for the fourth Approach and Landing Test flight before dawn on October 12, 1977.

Space Shuttle Discovery on 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in Mate/Demate Device, November 2, 2000 There is a short period when the artificial light on the Mate/Demate Device and the natural light of the sky in the background are nicely balanced.

Space Shuttle Discovery on 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in Mate/Demate Device, November 2, 2000 Soon the light of day overwhelms the aritificial lights of the Mate/Demate Device.

Space Shuttle Discovery on 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in Mate/Demate Device, November 2, 2000 The first rays of the rising sun illuminate the piggyback pair as final preparations for their departure are concluded.

The take-off time of the Shuttle continued to slip. Eventually it fell behind the take-off of the NB-52B.

Boeing 737-900 Prototype, N737X The Boeing 737-900 prototype, N737X took off to the east as we arrived at the shooting location on the south side of the main runway. The 900 model has been stretched to a length of 138 feet, 2 inches. The 737-900 Prototype carries construction number 30017. It first flew on August 3, 2000. A short while later, the 737-900 landed going the opposite direction from its take-off. It turned around on the runway and departed to the east again.

Over on the main flightline, the tail of the NB-52B began to move. Several miles away the Discovery and 747 could be seen being pushed back out of the Mate/Demate Device. They were towed to the Dryden flightline to start the engines of the 747.

A variety of airplanes were using the main runway. After the number one F-22 Raptor took off, an Air Force Beech C-12 Super King Air made a mid-field take-off.

Czech Aero L-39 Dolphin of the Civilian Test Pilot School A brown and green camouflaged Czech Aero L-39 Dolphin, N8125R registered to Jet Team LLC took off.

Boeing 737-900 Prototype, N737X The Boeing 737-900 Prototype made several more landings, take-offs, and a low pass over the runway without touching down.

Goodyear Eagle Cam, Cessna 337 Skymaster The red Eagle Cam Cessna 337 Skymaster, N337WA with a Gyron 935 gyro-stabilized video system took off from mid-field. It transmitted live television of the parachute descent of the X-38. It is registered to Gyron Eagle, Ltd of Pasadena, California. It is operated by Wolfe Air and is regularly scheduled for MTV’s ‘Senseless Acts of Video.

Link to Wolfe Air's fleet page.

Shortly before 8:00 the NB-52B lined up with the main runway.

NASA F/A-18B chase plane A white and blue NASA F/A-18B Hornet chase plane, N846NA took off. It made one circuit of the pattern and lined up with the runway to catch the NB-52B as it took off.

Visit the NASA Dryden F-18 chase aircraft Fact Page and F-18 chase aircraft Photo Gallery.

The tower radioed clearance for the NB-52B to take-off. The shrill whine of the eight J57 turbojets increased in volume and a dense cloud of black smoke billowed up behind the Stratofortress.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat The NB-52B lifted off after rolling nearly 8,000 feet.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat

Photography Prints You can buy framed prints or greeting cards of this photograph.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat X-38, V-131R is an 80%-scale testbed of the Space Station Crew Return Vehicle.

Forty years earlier, NB-52B takes off with X-15, September 1960 the NB-52B takes off with the X-15-1 from runway 04 in September 1960. Photo courtesy AFFTC/HO.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat Mission symbols for the five previous X-38 parachute recovery system tests can be seen on the side of the fuselage of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat

Visit the NASA Dryden B-52 Stratofortress Mothership Fact Page.

The tails of the 747 and Discovery could be seen moving past the contractor's area. A gray Lockheed C-141B Starlifter taxied out ahead of the Shuttle. It would serve as the pathfinder, checking the flight path ahead of the Shuttle for rain.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat High overhead, contrails streamed from the engines of the NB-52B as it flew around a racetrack pattern with its F/A-18A chase plane.

NASA F/A-18B chase plane A second NASA F/A-18B Hornet chase plane, N852NA took off shortly before the 747 carrier airplane.

Boeing 737-900 Prototype, N737X Boeing 737-900 Prototype makes a low pass over Runway 04 as the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Discovery taxis out.

Boeing 737-900 Prototype, N737X

The 737-900 Prototype was delivered to Alaska Airlines as N302AS on April 29, 2003. Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990, N302AS flight ASA292 to Los Cabos, Mexico departing Los Angeles International Airport on March 2, 2006.

It was going on 9:00 when the 747 turned onto the main runway.

747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Discovery The radio crackled with clearance from the tower and the 747 began to roll.

Twenty-three years earlier, OV-101, Enterprise and 747-SCA, October 12, 1977 the Space Shuttle Enterprise, OV-101 and 747-SCA, N905NA take off on the fourth Approach and Landing Test flight on October 12, 1977. This was the first of two glide flights that the Enterprise made without the streamlined tailcone. A taller mount supported the front end of the shuttle to increase the rate of separation of the two airplanes when the shuttle was released for its glide flight. NASA used Northrop T-38A Talons as chase planes in those days.

747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Discovery takes off from Runway 04

747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Discovery takes off from Runway 04 The 747 with the Discovery lifted off after a roll of nearly two miles.

Photography Prints You can buy framed prints or greeting cards of this photograph.

Visit the NASA Dryden Shuttle Carrier Aircraft Fact Page.

747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Discovery takes off from Runway 04

747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Discovery takes off from Runway 04

Discovery has been delivered to Orbiter Processing Facility bay 1 at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The next flight of Discovery is an eleven day mission tentatively scheduled for February 15, 2001.

A short while after the departure of the Discovery, the X-38 was dropped from the NB-52B at an altitude of 36,500 feet. It made an unplanned 360-degree roll after launch. After twenty-four seconds of gliding flight, it deployed an 80-foot diameter drogue chute. It deployed the 7,000 square foot parafoil at an altitude of 19,000 feet.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership A smoke generator has been installed on the left wing of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership to assist in tracking the airplane.

X-38 Space Station Lifeboat parachute recovery demonstrator A Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter flew near the X-38 to transmit live television of the test. The parafoil turned slowly in a half circle as it descended to the lakebed.

X-38 Space Station Lifeboat parachute recovery demonstrator The trailing edge of the parachute curled downward to flare the chute for landing.

X-38 Space Station Lifeboat parachute recovery demonstrator The skids of the X-38 hit the lakebed and kicked up a cloud of brown dust as the lifting body pitched forward for a moment.

X-38 Space Station Lifeboat parachute recovery demonstrator The parafoil settled to the ground alongside the X-38, reflected in the lakebed mirage.

Link to the NASA Dryden press release about the X-38 parachute test.



More Space Shuttle photos

More Space Shuttle photos More pictures from Space Shuttle events.

More Edwards Air Force Base displays

Edwards AFB displays Edwards AFB displays.




- advertisement -

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

2018 calendar

You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

A dozen photos of 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Events depicted include:

747-SCA N905NA/Enterprise Approach and Landing Test 1 take-off on August 12, 1977.
747-SCA N905NA/Enterprise Approach and Landing Test 4 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/Atlantis take-off on July 1, 2007.
747-SCA N911NA/Endeavor take-off on December 10, 2008.
747-SCA N911NA/Discovery take-off on September 20, 2009.
747-SCA N905NA/Endeavor flyover at LAX, September 21, 2012.

Buy my Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 2018 calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 2018 calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.

Space Shuttle Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base

2018 calendar

You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of Space Shuttle Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Space Shuttle Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Space Shuttle Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base

Bad weather caused the Space shuttle Endeavour to divert to Edwards Air Force Base at the conclusion of STS-126 on November 30, 2007. Following servicing in the Mate/Demate Device, it departed from Edwards on the back of 747 Carrier Aircraft N911NA on December 10.

Buy my Space Shuttle Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base: 2018 calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the Space Shuttle Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base: 2018 calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.


Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base

2018 calendar

You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base

A dozen photographs of the Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base. Bad weather at the Kennedy Space Center caused the Space shuttle Discovery to divert to Edwards Air Force Base at the conclusion of mission STS-128 on September 11, 2009. Following servicing in the Mate/Demate Device, it departed from Edwards on the back of 747 Carrier Aircraft N911NA on September 20.

Buy my Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base: 2018 calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base: 2018 calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.


Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flights

2018 calendar

You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flights.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flights

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flights

A dozen photos of Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flights. Boeing 747-Shuttle Carrier Aircraft N905NA and Space Shuttle Endeavour arrived at Edwards Air Force Base from Biggs Army Airfield on September 20, 2012. The pair were placed on static display at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center that afternoon. The 747/Shuttle stack departed from Edwards Air Force Base on the morning of September 21. It toured California and several landmarks in the LA Basin. It made two low passes over Los Angeles International Airport before making its final landing. The 747-SCA was flown to Edwards Air Force Base on September 24 where it was retired. The Endeavour ison display at the California Science Center.

Buy my Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flights 2018 calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flights 2018 calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.


- advertisement -

Books and Videos about the Space Shuttle from Amazon.com

Books

DVDs

Visit the Lockett Books Amazon Webstore for a selection of aviation and space related books and DVDs.

- advertisement -



More Space Shuttle photos

More Space Shuttle photos More pictures from Space Shuttle events.


Go to the home page of the Goleta Air and Space Museum.

Send a message to Brian.