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People flock to see Shuttle Carrier Aircraft’s trip - The Galveston County Daily News: Space

July 4, 2015

People flock to see Shuttle Carrier Aircraft’s trip

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Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 12:45 am

UPDATE: Heavy fog rolled in early this morning and delayed the aircraft's move. Expect some traffic delays.

HOUSTON — People gathered on the side of state Highway 3 on Monday night to see sections of the eight-story Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft inch their way toward Space Center Houston.

In between intersections, bystanders and members of the work crew were taking selfies and FaceTiming with their smartphones and iPads as they waited for power lines to be disassembled so the massive aircraft could advance down the street.

Laura Larkin, whose father used to be the director of Johnson Space Center, brought her 7-year-old twin daughters Abigail and Anna to see the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

Anna really likes space, especially planets.

“It’s going to be really cool,” she said. “I wanted to come see it.”

This isn’t the first time the family has seen the aircraft. Three years ago, they got to go inside the plane when it came to Ellington Field.

“We’re really happy and excited it’s going to be here,” Laura Larkin said. “I think it’ll be really fun for the kids.”

Peter Mikkelson of League City brought his 4-year-old son Benjamin to see the aircraft travel down the street.

“This is the last time we’ll get to see this thing out in the open,” Mikkelson said. “This is a historic moment.”

Benjamin loves space. While he’s never seen a shuttle take off, Mikkelson said his son has many books on the subject.

“He loves the space industry,” Peter Mikkelson said.

As an engineer with ExxonMobil, he said he’s used to seeing large vessels brought to the plant. However, the vessels are usually brought by boat, not through public streets like the Boeing 747.

“This is much different,” he said. “It’s a huge undertaking, and it’s really impressive to see.”

Bud Bradley, an engineer at Boeing, came to Houston from Seattle to help with the aircraft’s reassembly.

Bradley said the weather was perfect for an project of this magnitude.

“We were hoping the wind would calm down,” he said. “Last night would have been troublesome.”

Bradley said it’s fantastic to be a part of the move. He said he only knows of three companies that have taken apart a plane and moved it to a different area.

He was surprised at the amount of people who came to watch the aircraft’s final journey.

“It’s neat that they let people out here,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime.”

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The Houston Airport System proposed building a spaceport at Ellington Field that would serve as a terminal for commercial space tourism, high-speed cargo flights and hubs for commercial space companies and education facilities.

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