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Mating and Demating a Space Shuttle — when NASA got sexy

29 May 2012

Mating and Demating a Space Shuttle — when NASA got sexy

The MDD essentially is a gantry structure supporting a large hoist (“lift beam” in NASA speak), like those seen at port facilities. The MDD is unique in that its design enabled the attaching or detaching of an orbiter to a modified Boeing B-747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

This MDD consists of a pair of towers (100 feet/30.3m) supporting a horizontal structure 80 feet/24.2m above the ground which extends 70 feet/21.2m bearing the 120 ton force/106.8kN lifting beam. The MDD was designed by a firm in Coral Gables FL named Connell Associates — underscoring the technical and geographic reach of NASA needed to accomplish its missions.

NASA’s provides this MDD fact sheet.

Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, suspended orbiter and an MDD — NASA photo

A Space Shuttle positioned under the MDD’s lifting beam (painted yellow), note the aerodynamic tail cone which covers the main engine nozzles is absent — NASA photo

An attached orbiter, note the cherry picker platform and technician positioned at the left main attachment point  — NASA photo

Shuttle with aerodynamic tail cone fitted hangs from the MDD lifting beam — NASA photo

Another Shuttle transport mission takes off — NASA photo

One Comment leave one →
  1. travelforaircraft permalink*
    18 January 2013 09:31

    Thank you 🙂

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