Wallpaper Wednesday

8 12 2011
Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery with RSMEs. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

While at the Kennedy Space Center over Thanksgiving, I had the privilege of visiting the Space Shuttle Endeavour in its temporary home in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). As our guide explained, ordinarily Endeavour’s decommissioning process would have taken place in one of the nearby Orbiter Processing Facilities, but both were occupied: Discovery (shown above) was in Facility-1, while Atlantis was in Facility-2. The orbiters are being prepared  for their new museum homes, but before they can be put on display, all toxic materials and significant re-usable parts have to be stripped from them. Three major components were removed from the shuttles, including the Shuttle Main Engines (SMEs). The photo above shows Discovery with new Replica Shuttle Main Engines (RSMEs) in place of the originals.

The Kennedy Media Gallery contains multiple images, in multiple sizes, of the SME replacement process (enter item numbers KSC-2011-8168 through KSC-2011-8198) in the search box at the top of the page).

(Sorry for the delay, I know it’s Thursday! Between end-of-the-semester grading and work-related travel, I’m really stretched for time this week. I’m working on something awesome about SETI and the Kepler observations, though. Trust me.)