Home SCIENCE Shuttle Carrier Aircraft – The World’s Greatest Piggyback Ride

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft – The World’s Greatest Piggyback Ride

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It has been called the world’s greatest piggyback ride: a space shuttle, atop a Boeing 747 jet aircraft. But this is no ordinary 747, this is the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft…the SCA. This specially modified jumbo jet was not only a taxi service for the shuttle, but also helped in the development of the shuttle itself.

source/image(PrtSc): NASA Johnson

In 30 years of flying, the majestic image of a spacecraft joined to the SCA, became a symbol of American invention and ingenuity.The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is Boeing 747, like the other aircraft of its type is 232 feet long , 63 feet tall to the top of the tail and has a 196-foot wingspan.

The Avionics and engines were also upgraded, and an escape tunnel system similar to that used on Boeing’s first 747 test flights was added. While carrying a space shuttle, the SCA maximum speed is 0.6 Mach 695 kilometers per hour. The service ceiling is 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) and its range is 1,850.75 kilometers.

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Shuttle Carrier retired on February 8, 2012 after its final mission to the Dryden Flight Research Facility at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California, and was used as a source of parts for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft, another modified Boeing 747.

VIANASA Johnson
SOURCEwikipedia
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