For more than 30 years, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet known as N905NA transported NASA space shuttles across the country, famously giving Endeavour, Discovery and Enterprise their final rides in 2012.
Now, Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) N905NA is the one being shuttled.
On April 28, the partially-dismantled aircraft started a short but extremely slow eight-mile journey from its former home at the Johnson Space Center to its new home at Space Center Houston, where it will be put on display.
The largest part to be transported intact is the fuselage, stretching about the length of two NBA basketball courts. All together, the four self-propelled trailers and three tractor-trailers hauling the parts create a 1,000-foot convoy.
Built in 1970, the aircraft was Boeing's 86th 747 and was an American Airlines jetliner until NASA purchased it in 1974. It was the sole shuttle transporter until NASA added a second SCA in 1990. It flew its final missions in 2012, transporting the Discovery, Endeavour and Enterprise shuttles to their museum homes. In all, in logged 3,774 flights over more than 35 years.
N905NA will be on reassembled and on display at Space Center Houston starting in 2015. It will also be carrying a full-size replica space shuttle, Independence, on its back, creating an 8-story exhibit open for tours.