Mounted on special lowboy trailer dollies, one of the two space shuttle solid rocket boosters is hauled up the ramp from Rogers Dry Lake after arrival at NASA Dryden. › View Larger Image
Two giant cranes gently lift one of the two space shuttle solid rocket booster casings prior to placing it into its temporary storage location outside NASA Dryden's former shuttle hangar. › View Larger Image Two space shuttle solid rocket booster replicas arrived at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center Aug. 29 after a transcontinental trip from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The inert booster casings, each of which is more than 149 feet long and more than 12 feet wide, were hauled overland by modified tractor-trailer rigs.
Now owned by the California Science Center in Los Angeles, they will remain in storage at NASA Dryden until the science center's planned Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center exhibit hall to house the space shuttle Endeavour is built. The booster replicas will be mounted alongside Endeavour in a vertical configuration, similar to what they would have been during launch into space.
The booster replicas had been on display at Kennedy's visitor center since 1994 prior their transfer to the science museum in Los Angeles.
The largest solid rocket motors ever developed, the four-segment space shuttle boosters weighed about 193,000 pounds empty and 1.3 million pounds when loaded with more than 1.1 million pounds of propellant. The boosters were each capable of producing 2,650,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff, and provided the additional thrust needed for the first two minutes after launch to enable the space shuttles to escape the gravitational pull of Earth. Their propellant, composed primarily of atomized aluminum powder fuel and ammonium perchlorate oxidizer bound together with a synthetic rubber compound, was developed at the Air Force Research Laboratory Propulsion Directorate at Edwards Air Force Base.
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The wheels of the tractor-trailers carrying the two space shuttle solid rocket booster casings and their escort vehicles kick up clouds of dust in the early morning sunlight as the entourage crosses Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base for their temporary home at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. › View Larger Image