In the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the front end of space shuttle Endeavour is raised off the floor of the VAB by lifts, as workers prepare to attach an Approach and Landing Test Assembly (ALTA) pod to the back of the shuttle. The ALTA pod will be fitted over the area once housing the orbital maneuvering system (OMS) pod. The demonstration test is being conducted to ensure the center’s equipment will fit into the hangar at the National Air and Space Museum when installing an ALTA pod on shuttle Enterprise. The pod must be reinstalled on a shuttle for transport on a 747 carrier aircraft. The simulation also will test procedures and timelines necessary to carry out the process.
The work is part of the Space Shuttle Program’s transition and retirement processing. Enterprise, which was not equipped for space flight, was built as a test vehicle to demonstrate that the orbiter could fly in the atmosphere and land like an airplane. In 1985, Enterprise was ferried from the Kennedy Space Center to Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C., and became the property of the Smithsonian Institute. Enterprise will be moved from the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle. Photo credit: NASA/Ken Shiflett