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Space Shuttles

September 21, 2012 | By Scott Sandell and Noelene Clark
The space shuttle Endeavour arrived in Los Angeles on Friday, flying atop a modified 747 over landmarks such as Disneyland, the Getty Center and the Griffith Observatory before landing at Los Angeles International Airport. But that's nothing compared with previous shuttle missions, such as saving planet Earth from a doomsday asteroid. The latter, of course, refers to the shuttles deployed in the 1998 film "Armageddon," starring Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. And it only hints at the history of the spacecraft's use in movies, which actually predates the first launch of Columbia on April 12, 1981.
March 1, 2014 | By Joe Mozingo
Wearing a nitrogen-powered jet pack, Dale Gardner stepped from the space shuttle, alone and untethered, 224 miles above Earth. Armed with a 5-foot probe called a stinger, Gardner drifted toward a wayward satellite, the Westar 6, which was spinning slowly, 35 feet away. When he got close enough Gardner inserted the stinger into the orbiter's spent rocket nozzle and brought it to a halt. "I got it," he exclaimed. The mission to salvage the Westar and another communications satellite, the Palapa B-2, in November 1984 marked a high point of the space shuttle program, feeding a growing sense of NASA's infallibility that would end just a year later, when the Challenger exploded just after launch over Florida.
April 12, 2012 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON -- When you need to move a nearly 175,000-pound space shuttle with a 78-foot wingspan, who you gonna call? NASA, of course. But also companies that own big cranes. In New York, call a barge owner. And in Los Angeles, traffic engineers and the LAPD. Delivering retired orbiters to their final display sites in Los Angeles, New York, the Washington, D.C., area and Florida's Kennedy Space Center is presenting special challenges to the agency that put men on the moon. Delivery crews have dusted off an apparatus last used in the 1980s for transporting the shuttle.
October 12, 2013 | By Kate Mather
The space shuttle Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center nearly one year ago, and the Exposition Park museum is throwing its crown jewel quite the anniversary party. Saturday marks the second day of "Endeavour Fest," a three-day event featuring astronaut presentations, film screenings and other displays related to science and engineering. The museum will also have on display the SpaceX Dragon -- the first commercial spacecraft to make a successful delivery to the International Space Station -- and the capsule and pressurized suit Felix Baumgartner used when making his recent record-breaking leap from the stratosphere.
Facing possible bad weather in Florida, the space shuttle Endeavour instead touched down safely Wednesday at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert. "This is not the place we intended to land, but this is a great day here, and we brought back a good vehicle," Endeavour Cmdr. Ken Cockrell said about landing at Edwards, the primary alternate landing spot for space shuttles. "Everything is going well and we'll now go through the effort of getting Endeavour back to Florida."
November 5, 1990 | From United Press International
A small amount of cocaine was found here in a hangar where space shuttles are readied for launch, NASA officials said Sunday. Space agency spokesman Karl Kristofferson said the drug was found early Friday in an orbiter processing facility, one of two at the space center. It is the first time cocaine has been found at the Kennedy Space Center.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's plan to transfer work modifying space shuttles from Palmdale to its Kennedy Space Center in Florida has triggered protests from California's congressional delegation and the governor's office. The NASA decision affects about 500 jobs at Rockwell International's Palmdale facility, where five of the orbiters have been assembled since the 1970s and where the space agency has done major modification work on the shuttle fleet.
Choosing a wing-shaped spacecraft whose design was first sketched on a note pad only four years ago, NASA awarded a $1-billion contract Tuesday to Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop the prototype for the nation's next-generation space shuttle.
March 16, 1994 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA to Keep Shuttle Work in Palmdale: About 300 employees of Rockwell International will continue modifying the nation's space shuttles under a decision by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The space agency had considered shifting the work--in which the shuttles undergo months-long changes for upcoming missions--to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
August 14, 1993 | From Associated Press
The main engines of NASA's space shuttles are reportedly more prone to catastrophic failure than previously believed and are in need of rapid improvement. A NASA safety panel said the main engines are so temperamental that the risk of a catastrophic failure during liftoff is 1 in 120 instead of earlier NASA estimates of 1 in 171, the New York Times reported in today's editions.
October 10, 2013 | Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times
Tens of thousands of spectators crowded sidewalks and rooftops last October as the space shuttle Endeavour crawled across the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood, an overwhelming welcome home for the retired spacecraft. Two weeks later, when the California Science Center opened the shuttle to public view, attendance at the Exposition Park museum surged. In just a few months, more than 1 million people visited the Science Center, which had averaged roughly 1.6 million visitors per year prior to the shuttle's arrival.
October 6, 2013 | By Jane Engle
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - I was inept at moonwalking. My rocket was a dud. And I crashed the space shuttle. Fortunately, I was just an astronaut wannabe and not the real deal. But it's as close as this middle-aged space geek is going to get. That geekiness, inspired by IMAX documentaries on space and news coverage of NASA's final shuttle launch in 2011, was what brought me to Adult Space Academy. The trip was a gift from my wife. The three-day program is among more than a dozen versions of Space Camp, which the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville created more than 30 years ago to give visitors a taste of what it's like to train as an astronaut.
September 27, 2013 | By Walter Hamilton
The gig: Richard Plump is chief executive of Plump Engineering Inc., an Anaheim architectural engineering firm with 38 employees. Plump helped oversee the transportation of the space shuttle Endeavour from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center in Exposition Park last year. He made sure the spacecraft did not damage streets or underground pipes as it wound through a 12-mile stretch of Inglewood and Los Angeles. He had previously overseen the movement of the huge rock that's now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Troubled childhood: Plump, 51, overcame a difficult childhood.
August 22, 2013 | By Steve Chawkins
C. Gordon Fullerton waited years for his chance to go into space but less than six minutes after the space shuttle Challenger took off in 1985, he was starting to rethink it. One of the Challenger's three main engines suddenly shut down and Fullerton, the mission's commander, didn't know whether the others would follow. "Absolutely, with no warning - kapow! - there was an immediate drop in acceleration," he later told reporters. "The red light came on, and there we were. " Fullerton and pilot Roy Bridges immediately dumped a load of surplus fuel, worked the two remaining engines harder, and maneuvered the Challenger into orbit just 45 miles lower than planned.
March 22, 2013
WASHINGTON - So what if it never flew into space? The retired space shuttle Enterprise, NASA's test orbiter, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The orbiter, now at New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, becomes the first space shuttle to receive the honorary designation. The National Park Service described the orbiter as "exceptionally significant" because of its role in the shuttle program. New York landed the Enterprise after a fierce national competition for the retired shuttles.
March 12, 2013 | By Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times
More than 1 million people have visited the California Science Center since space shuttle Endeavour made its debut just over four months ago, far surpassing officials' expectations for the Exposition Park museum. Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph initially guessed about 2 million people would see the retired orbiter in its first year at the free museum, which averages about 1.6 million visitors per year. Now, he estimates at least 2.5 million people will pass through its turnstiles - a record.
October 10, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
After performing a series of delicate maneuvers above the Earth, SpaceX's cone-shaped Dragon capsule moved in Wednesday for a historic docking with the International Space Station. Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, is on track to become the first private company to resupply the space station on a contracted mission for NASA. At about 3:56 a.m. PDT, the crew aboard the space station used its robotic arm to grab the Dragon as it floated outside.
April 16, 2003 | Scott Gold, Times Staff Writer
The space shuttle Columbia's wings and fuel tank were riddled with a virtual minefield of holes and cracks, a flaw that was largely overlooked by NASA but which almost certainly contributed to the craft's demise, investigators said Tuesday. According to interviews and internal documents, NASA has known since the early 1990s that its fleet of aging shuttles was pocked with pinholes. What it failed to grasp -- and could not see -- was the danger beneath the holes.
January 21, 2013 | By Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times
Gerald Blackburn walked out of his office and surveyed the ruins of what was once the nerve center of America's space race. The vast debris field with giant cranes nosing through heaps of broken concrete and metal sheeting had been home to the Downey Industrial Site, a 160-acre campus southeast of Los Angeles where engineers like Blackburn designed the spacecraft that put Americans on the moon. The largely abandoned buildings were leveled over the holidays to make way for a big-box retail center.
January 6, 2013 | By Scott Powers
ORLANDO, Fla. - Does anyone need a 15,000-foot landing strip? How about a place to assemble rocket ships? Or a parachute-packing plant? A launchpad? Make us an offer, says NASA, which is quietly holding a going-out-of-business sale for the facilities used by its space shuttle program. The last shuttle flight was in July 2011, when Atlantis made its final touchdown. That orbiter, like its sisters Discovery and Endeavour, is now a museum piece . As soon as some remaining cleanup is finished at Kennedy Space Center, the shuttle program will be history.
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