Walkaround #1031

Space Shuttle

These photos were taken by Justin Davenport at the Kennedy Space Center in June 2007.

Click on images below to see larger images

Shuttle Explorer mockup at the KSC Visitor Center. Right nose with RCS jets.  Explorer is a pretty good representation of an actual orbiter. Left nose with RCS jets and gear Close up of nose landing gear


Closeup of nose gear well.  The gray color of the well is actually a reflective metallic color on the real orbiter. Back of nose gear and tiled underside. Right wing and OMS pod.  Some RCC panels on the wing would be slightly different shades of gray on the real thing. RCC leading edge and main landing gear. 


Main landing gear well.  Again, the gray color would be reflective metallic on the real thing. Left main landing gear. The aft half of the orbiter.  The gray building lets visitors enter the interior of the orbiter. The business end of the orbiter.  The real thing can put out about 1 million lb. of thrust on the 3 liquid fueled SSME's.


Closeup of SSME and aft RCS jets.  The real thing has white circles surrounding the SSME attachment points. The cargo bay interior with a replica of the Intelsat kick motor and cradle used in the STS-49 mission. The cockpit with a mannequin in a NASA launch and entry flight suit mandated after STS-51L Challenger. The middeck of the orbiter with lockers.  Clothes, food, and experiments are housed in the lockers.


The power head of the SSME - I believe this is a retired actual flight engine. Another view of the SSME power head.  Each SSME has over 375,000 lbs. of thrust. Still another view of the SSME power head.  The SSME gets its fuel from the rust-colored external tank. The Shuttle Atlantis on Pad 39A the day before launch.  We got to see it from an observation tower.


The aforementioned External Tank with a set of SRB's.  This sits across the plaza from Explorer. The back of the SRB's.  The real thing has separation rockets on the inside of the SRB nozzle casing, facing the other nozzle casing. The business end of the SRB.  Each SRB produces 3.3 million pounds of thrust. The ET and SRB nose section.  The display ET does not have any foam insulation, we are seeing the metal structure.


The left side of Explorer.  The first 10 or 11 payload bay black hinge tile areas are rectangles on current orbiters. The back of the ET and SRB's.  Note the circular doors - these are access areas for things like ECO sensors. STS-117 climbs into the sky on 7.5 million pounds of thrust!!  The yellow exhaust was really bright and dazzling. STS-117 Atlantis climbing higher.  I will ALWAYS remember this sight.


The crews of Columbia and Challenger immortalized along with other fallen astronauts. The cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building. Launch pads 39A and 39B two days after STS-117 blasted off.  Note the empty launch platform on 39A. Closeup of pad 39B.  This pad is not scheduled for use again until the Orion/Ares program starts test flights.

Photos and text by Justin Davenport