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Shuttle Carrier Aircraft


With the launch of the Space Shuttle program, the question arose about the transportation of space shuttles from the assembly or landing site to the launch pads. So there was the project Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), which was working on a carrier aircraft. In order to save money, NASA preferred to modify existing aircraft.

For rework, American Airlines bought a Boeing 747-100 airliner with b/n N9668. At the Boeing factories, the shuttle mounts were installed, the fuselage was strengthened, and vertical stabilizers were added. The aircraft received the designation Boeing 747SCA. The cruising speed decreased to 735 km/h, and the flight range-to 1850 km.

The first full flight of the Boeing 747SCA was performed with a prototype of space shuttles-the OV-101 Enterprise orbiter. In total, NASA finalized 2 such carrier aircraft, which carried shuttles until the program was closed in 2012.


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