The Orbiter Processing Facility

Heatshield of Endeavour

It takes a few moments to realize, that the ceiling in the hall you’ve just entered in fact is the belly of the orbiter, in this case the heat shield of the Endeavour.

Tiles of the Shuttle's heat shield

These are the famous tiles for the heat shield of the orbiters. They are incredibly light weighted, even more incredibly heat resistant and absolutely most incredibly expensive. The price for one (1) tile is $ 10,000. To the left you see the material used for the rest of the orbiter’s surface, that is covered with heat resistant tissue.

Space Shuttle Endeavour

Looking towards the front, you see the connection pipe to the external fuel tank.

Nose of the Endeavour

Seen from the front, the spacecraft now is more easily to recognize.

Wing of the Endeavour

We all know how vulnerable it is. To avoid any accidental damage, it is covered with sheets of soft tissue.

Endeavour's main landing gear

Endeavour’s right main landing gear. The French among you will be pleased to read that the tires are manufactured by Michelin.

Side view of the Endeavour

Standing within reach of the Endeavour without really seeing her could make you crazy. However, touching it with your own hands sure is an experience you only share with a few people on this planet.

Rear view of the Endeavour

The engines and the vertical tail are removed thus giving you a view to some inner organs and a lot of maintenance piping around. However, you never would think of a whole orbiter behind all this, would you?

Rear view of the Endeavour

... is the most complex machine on earth - well, maybe besides the LHC at CERN. Once you look behind the scenes, you can understand why. It’s not only the orbiter, it’s all the infrastructure behind.

Office within the OPV

If you always wanted to know, how an office in the shadow of the Shuttle looks like - voilá.

Schedule board the the Orbiter Processing Facility

Walking over to High Bay 1, I came across this schedule board *ggg*. Now, seven months later, STS 135 is official and confirmed, so no problem to show it here ;) - the time table above however will be delayed I guess.

Robert D. Cabana

It became totally quiet, when this gentleman and his daughter entered OPF 1 and we had a short but very heartly meet & greet. Afterwards I learned, who Robert Cabana really is. A space shuttle veteran with over 1,000 hours in space logged, and the director of the Kennedy Space Center.


Tail of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Officially kept and maintained as emergency backup, it was already quite sure that she will fly one more time. Good luck on your last missions, Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis!

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