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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: Post Mission Shuttle Transport
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 03:16:58 GMT

In article <>,
Mary Shafer  <> wrote:
>> the problem of its height (it couldn't fit under any
>> underpasses).
>So you go on a route with no underpasses.  It's rare that a load like
>this would go on the freeways.  Instead, such loads go on the first or
>second class of road down from a freeway.

Also, all the older US Interstates -- not sure about the latest ones --
are designed to be usable even if every underpass is collapsed by bombing.
They were designed, first and foremost, as *military* roads.  When
approaching a collapsed underpass, exit to the right, and just as you
reach the crossroad, make a 90deg left turn, cutting across the crossroad.
It's not an accident that an onramp leading back onto the Interstate is
right in front of you, and that any median strip has a wide gap placed to
permit the crossover.  (These design features may not have been maintained
properly in more recent work, but the ability to quickly and easily go
around any underpass while staying on hard-surface all-weather roadways --
assuming you're a military truck convoy and can violate traffic laws as
necessary -- was a design requirement for the old Interstates.)

Mind you, I don't think these bypass routes were designed for oversize
cargo, and in any case you'd prefer to use roads that can be temporarily
closed with less disruption, so Mary's certainly right that freeways are
not the first choice...

>...the front corner of camper shell met the trailing edge of the
>X-15 wing, which sliced through it like a hot knife though butter.
>...the mechanics managed to separate the X-15 and the
>camper and inspect the X-15 and its tie-downs.  So far as they could
>see, there was no major damage, although the surface of the wing was
>slightly marred in one place...

For those who find this a bit surprising, note that the X-15 was built to
go Mach 8 at a time when very little was known about hypersonic flight,
so the wing was built *strong*.
The space program reminds me        |  Henry Spencer
of a government agency.  -Jim Baen  |      (aka

From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: Post Mission Shuttle Transport
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 17:17:47 GMT

In article <>,
JamesStep <jamesstep@aol.comNO-SPAM> wrote:
>Yes; I think it would be almost impossible!
>Not only do you have the problem of the width of
>the shuttle (talk about a wide load!), but you also have
>the problem of its height (it couldn't fit under any

You might be surprised at what can be done.  The X-33 will be trucked back
from its distant landing sites to Edwards.  They'd originally talked about
using one of the NASA 747s to move it, because doing it by surface looked
hard, but then it occurred to them to ask a company which specializes in
moving oversize objects by road... and the answer was "sure, no problem".
Surprise surprise, people who actually make their living doing things like
this are much better at it than aerospace engineers trying to improvise.
The space program reminds me        |  Henry Spencer
of a government agency.  -Jim Baen  |      (aka

From: Mary Shafer <>
Subject: Re: Post Mission Shuttle Transport
Date: 18 Jan 2000 12:53:55 -0800

"Justin Wigg" <> writes:

> Dan Foster <> wrote in message
> news:85o38c$i10$

> > Perhaps, the original poster was thinking of when they trucked the
> > Shuttle around -- it was very early in the program; for the ALT tests,
> > perhaps?

> I remember seeing the photos of Enterprise's overland trip to
> Edwards in National Geographic - a very impressive sight!  One of
> the first pictures that truly revealed the scale. (It's pretty hard
> IMO to judge the sheer scale of the shuttle in pics taken inside the
> VAB or on the pad if you can't tell how big those reference points
> are.  Take a picture of a shuttle on a roadway with a few cars
> around it however...)  Didn't they have to cut down telegraph poles,
> road signs etc from the sides of the roads to allow for the
> Orbiter's wingspan?

No, they didn't.  The USAF and NASA, not to mention a number of
contractors, had been using that route for a couple of decades, so the
roads were designed for such uses.  Challenger Way, formerly 10th
St. West, is more than wide enough without any modification.  I think
that all the overhead lines are high enough that they need not be
modified, too.

Remember that this entire Valley ran on aerospace.  It was our
principal industry and the various governments (city, county, state,
and federal) put a lot of effort into building and maintaining the
appropriate infrastructure.  These agencies got together and devised
the overland route and laid out the requirements.  It was built to
those requirements and is still maintained to them.

Mary Shafer     Of course I don't speak for NASA
Lead Handling Qualities Engineer, SR-71/LASRE
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA
For non-aerospace mail, use please

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