Shuttle Carrier Aircraft Cockpit

The cockpit of Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) 905 hasn't been updated since it was built in 1970. There are no computer screens and no joystick controls. Both the pilot and co-pilot do have their own ashtrays, harkening back to the days when smoking would be common while flying a jumbo-jet. The additional weight and drag of the passenger orbiter dramatically limits the range of this aircraft because it can't carry as much fuel and is forced to fly below 15,000 feet. Without the orbiter, the 747 can travel over five times further between stops but is forced to carry pig-iron in its cargo hold to balance out the center of gravity.

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Credit: Jon Brack/National Geographic
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