BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 22--How do you move a space ship the size of an airliner--too large to fit inside any cargo plane, railroad car, or truck--from California factory to Florida launch site, without dismantling it and carrying it in sections?
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Background: BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 22--How do you move a space ship the size of an airliner--too large to fit inside any cargo plane, railroad car, or truck--from California factory to Florida launch site, without dismantling it and carrying it in sections?
Maybe piggyback. On another airplane.
This study in Lockheed's low speed wind tunnel at Burbank mounts a scale model of the United States' first orbiting space shuttle on the Lockheed c-5 Galaxy, world's largest aircraft. Both models are one-twentieth scale.
The orbiter's actual size: 125-foot-long fuselage, 84-foot-wide wing span, 56-foot-high tail. In 1976, the first of five orbiters will be launched, initially from Cape Canaveral, later perhaps from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Its missions include transporting people and cargo into space for earth resources studies, installing and maintaining space stations, and other projects.
For the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, both the Lockeed-California Company and the Lockeed-Georgia Company have suggested possibilities for transporting the orbiter.
Two concepts are being explored under NASA contract.
In California, engineers have completed 70 test runs in the wind tunnel to check takeoff, climb, cruise and landing with the orbiter mounted on the C-5 in three different locations and three different positions, or "angles of attack."
In Georgia, engineers are working on another study in which two C-5 fuselages, each with one wing removed, would be joined with a centre section carrying the orbiter.
Flying the space orbiter aloft serves another purpose, too. Undowered launches from the ferrying vehicle for gliding flight tests would provide pilot indoctrination in the space shuttle--give pilots the "feel" of the vehicle before actual flights.