With one of NASA's modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in the background, soon-to-be-retired Shuttle Training Aircraft NASA 944 is parked on the ramp at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center following its arrival on Aug. 19. › View Larger Photo
The left-hand controls and instruments in the modified G-II Shuttle Training Aircraft duplicate the flight deck of the space shuttles, while the right-hand position retains the controls and instrumentation of the original G-II flight deck. › View Larger Photo NASA 944, one of four Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft, arrived at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center from the Johnson Space Center in Houston Aug. 19 in preparation for its retirement and eventual static display.
Space shuttle astronauts flew the highly modified aircraft on practice landing approaches to runways at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California and White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico during the more than 30-year history of the shuttle program. The modified G-IIs were capable of simulating the flying characteristics of the unpowered space shuttles during their steep final approach to landing.
With the conclusion of the space shuttle program, all four Shuttle Training Aircraft are being retired at various NASA facilities around the country.
NASA 944, one of four Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft, is illuminated by the morning sun on the parking ramp at NASA Dryden. › View Larger Photo