Hurricanes, Transporters and Grand Openings: Busy Week for Retired Space Shuttles

Atlantis is seen in the Vehicle Assembly Building Highbay 4 for the last time before she was rolled to her final home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Center. Credit: John O’Connor/

Last week was a busy one for the retired space shuttles, and here’s a gallery of images of what’s been happening lately: Atlantis was the last shuttle ever to be in the Vehicle Assembly Building, and was transported over to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex this weekend where it will be put on permanent display. Last week the California Science center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion officially opened, And unfortunately, shuttle Enterprise suffered some damage during Hurricane Sandy.

Enterprise damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Credit: AP

Enterprise, which is now at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City sustained minor damage to its tail (a.k.a vertical stabilizer), after the fabric pavilion that protected the shuttle was torn by winds. A top piece of the tail came off, said a museum spokesperson. Enterprise will be repaired at the earliest opportunity, the Intrepid museum said, and also the rest of the museum remains closed because of storm damage.

“Enterprise remains safely in place and partially covered by the fabric of the damaged pavilion, which was left in place as a protective measure,” said museum director Susan Marenoff-Zausner.

Enterprise never flew in space but was used for atmospheric drop tests. It was formerly at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C., was switched out for shuttle Discovery — the only shuttle to not have any action last week, except for the thousands of visitors that regularly visit her.

Space shuttle Atlantis is transported along Kennedy Parkway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on its 10-mile journey to the Kennedy Visitor Complex where it will be put on public display. Credit: NASA/Tony Gray

Space shuttle workers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, watch as the space shuttle Atlantis is transported to the Kennedy Visitor Complex. Credit: NASA/Tony Gray

Flag waving children welcome space shuttle Atlantis as it approaches Space Florida’s Exploration Park. Credit: NASA/ Tony Gray

If you’d like to see some awesome high-resolution full panoramas of Atlantis in the VAB, check out this page at the website.

Guest walk around space shuttle Endeavour after the grand opening ceremony for the California Science center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Los Angeles. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Endeavour’s Grand Opening Ceremony. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

All 135 Space Shuttle Launches at Once

We’re not sure how we missed this when it came out last year, but this incredible video shows all 135 launches of the space shuttle program at once. Creator McLean Fahnestock calls it “The Grand Finale” and rightly so. A great display of “fireworks” and a wonderful homage to the legacy of the space shuttles.

The one launch failure, Challenger on STS-51-L does stand out in this video and the words “obviously a major malfunction” will always linger. But the drive to keep striving for the heavens will always be there.