Monday, August 22, 2011

Last shuttle main engine removed at KSC

Kennedy Space Center technicians this morning removed a space shuttle main engine from an orbiter for the last time.

The last engine out: Unit No. 2047, one of the three that help propel Atlantis into orbit July 8 on the 135th shuttle launch. The engine flew on 15 missions.

In the hangar called Orbiter Processing Facility-2, the engine was pulled from the No. 1 engine position, which is at the top of the triangle the engines form.

The final mission's first engine was removed last Thursday, from the lower-left position, and a second Friday, from the lower-right slot.

The reusable Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne engines were trucked across the street to a shop where they'll go through standard post-flight processing and be stored for potential future use. NASA could use the engines for testing or in the first generation of a planned heavy-lift rocket.

Different sets of display engines will be installed in each orbiter before its transfer to a museum. The so-called "engines on a stick" will primarily consist of a refurbished nozzle without all the turbo pumps and electronics that are normally hidden from view inside the aft section.

NASA has 14 shuttle main engines certified for flight and a 15th awaiting certification.

IMAGE: In Orbiter Processing Facility-2 at Kennedy Space Center on Aug. 19, technicians use a Hyster forklift to position an engine removal device on Engine #3 on space shuttle Atlantis. Inside the aft section, a technician disconnects hydraulic, fluid and electrical lines. Credit: Frankie Martin


steele-environmental said...

How many reusable Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne engines exist? If they are re-used in future heavy lift rockets (a good use of them) will they be recovered, or allowed to plop down next to their long lost Saturn V 1st Stages?

Mike in Maine said...

I'm sorry but this goatrope has got to be called what it is, a surrender of the USA's position in space. There is absolutely no reason why NASA can not take the existing shuttle's and refurbish them for more flight's. And this nonsense about costs is another way of some aerospace beancounter to try to milk more $ from NASA for nothing. That or some aerospace contractor trying for another re-invented program we don't need. The shuttle's construction frame's and jig's are still intact. There is absolutley no reason why these same frame's and jig's can't be used, with new materials and techniques and technologies, to build a 2nd generation shuttle, one that will fly for the next 15 years while NASA diddles around with the next version of Constellation 2. And given the engine's are all intact, there is no reason why NASA has to go re-invent the wheel as far as a powerplant. Wake up NASA ! And shame on those who advocate surrender to leadership and vision. JFK would puke his guts out if he saw what NASA had become.

Mark Lopa said...

How ironic that NASA dumps the shuttles when they have never been more safe to fly. Now these megnificent SSMEs will be stored and either rot away or used in some tests that destroys them. Mike is absolutely correct. There is much more life in these vehicles, one way or another. But now...we are spending money to lay them in permanent tombs to show people not what they have done, but what they still could have done. Money? Bull! How much money do we spend so the president can fart around on Martha's Vineyard? Or to send our enemy North Korea rice? Too bad Dave from the movie "Dave" was not president. He could find money to fly the shuttles for another 15 years. NASA + Washington = IDIOTS!

J. said...

Sad commentary but Mike you nare so right where is this country's resolve to be the best. GO SPACEX GO!!