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Shuttle Chopper Rolls Out to Honor NASA Employees
Space Shuttle Tribute Bike

Image above: Paul Teutel Sr. of the Orange County Choppers in New York rides the chopper-morphed Shuttle bike between crowds in true biker style. Credit: NASA

The Shuttle rolled out Monday in a new fashion -- chopper style.

After countdown, a deep rumble ignited hundreds of NASA employees who gathered for an unveiling of the long, lean bike built to pay tribute to the thousands of people who make the real Space Shuttles fly.

The bike's unveiling was held at Space Center Houston, the official visitor's center next to the Johnson Space Center. The Space Shuttle Tribute Bike was a project of a group of JSC employees teaming up with the Discovery Channel's popular "American Chopper" television show.

"This is about the workers behind the space program," said Shuttle Tribute Bike Project lead Gary Dalrymple, Electrical Systems Flight Controller of Barrios. "It's about a joy and love for the [Shuttle] vehicle."

The Shuttle Tribute Bike committee foresees the bike as a great way to educate the public and excite new audiences about space exploration. They chose to have a chopper-style motorcycle built because a chopper symbolizes the hands-on, uniquely American style that is reflected in the work ethic that built the space program.

The Discovery Channel will air two one-hour episodes of "American Chopper" on the building of the Space Shuttle Tribute Bike at the beginning of the next season.

+ Read about the Teutels' previous JSC visit

Amiko Nevills
NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston