(Photo: Rossbarranco at English Wikipedia-Public Domain)
With the NASA Space Shuttle circuit program long over, the Space Center in Houston recently unveiled NASA 905—the designator for the Boeing 747 that once ferried Shuttles on their backs across the country for decades.
Beginning in the early 1980’s to the end of the shuttle program in 2011, the 747’s were called upon to ferry shuttles, flying low and slow, at between 13,000 to 15,000 feet and at 285 miles per hour.
Space Shuttle Enterprise was once flown to England and the Paris Air Show back in 1983.
NASA’s choice of the 747 – nicknamed the “Jumbo Jet” first flew commercially with now defunct Pan American World Airways. The 747 opened up global aviation to the general public by bringing prices for travel and operations lower. The Boeing 747 Model 905 actually started life as a commercial airliner with American Airlines in 1970. NASA bought it as a testing aircraft four years later, renaming it Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. .
NASA 905 ended its 42-year career (and 223 flights) in 2012 after delivering the shuttles Enterprise, Discovery and Endeavour to their respective museums in New York, Virginia and Los Angeles. It is now on static display at the Space Center’s Independence Plaza.
(Earthrise Photo Courtesy of NASA)
Now comes word that Elon Musk has decided to promote a flight for two people around the Moon. This is a very dangerous adventure, as Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders assumed tremendous risks. If their math was off by even centimeters during their flight trajectory, they would have been hurled into space and eventually killed once their oxygen supply was exhausted. For this reason, I am against the civilian space project. It is not a game.