Space Shuttle Carrier Heads Home10.3.14
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A SOLUTION!
When Space Center Houston wanted to move the iconic NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) from Ellington Field Airport to the space center, Agility Project Logistics offered its services for free.
Now retired, the SCA had a long and colorful history and was being moved to Space Center Houston to be part of a new, permanent exhibit. For 30 years, NASA deployed the SCA at landing sites to ferry space shuttle orbiters that had returned from their space missions back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Agility Project Logistics planned and managed the complex SCA move by selecting and working with a team comprised of a transport vendor, rigging company, and mobile crane provider. To prepare for the journey from Ellington to the space center, Agility conducted a series of road tests before preselecting a route that would take the SCA along nearly eight miles (approximately 13 km) of roads over a two-night period. The next stage involved disassembling the aircraft by removing the wings and tail section, leaving 318,000 pounds of aircraft parts to be transported, the largest of which was the fuselage measuring 25 feet wide and 35 feet tall.
Slow and steady
A 1,000-foot-long convoy comprised of seven different trailers then traveled at walking speed along the pre-selected road that had been temporarily blocked off. Street lamps, traffic lights, and utility and power lines were moved or lifted out of the convoy’s path. The convoy reached Space Center Houston as scheduled on the second night. After the SCA was reassembled, Agility proceeded to the final stage of the project by using a 440-ton crane to lift and mount a full-scale replica of the Independence orbiter on top of the aircraft in the ferry configuration. Scheduled to open in March 2015, the new exhibit will provide visitors access to the flight-deck, mid-deck, and cargo bay of the orbiter replica.