Sep 052009

Taken from a NASA briefing is a drawing showing a twin-fuselage C-5 transport plane designed to carry the Space Shuttle Orbiter. Advantages of doing it this way – rather than using a more-or-less standard 747 – include easier mating (simply tow the Shuttle underneath, no giant cranes needed) and safer drop testing… just drop it. Additionally, much more “stuff” could be carried by the aircraft.

Disadvantages would include a far more extensive modification and qualification program, as well as limitations regarding runway width.


 Posted by at 2:52 am
  • Pat Flannery

    Well, there’s the answer to the question nobody asked.
    I imagine this was the outcome of the big cross-range the DOD wanted out of the Shuttle, which could have had it landing at a lot of differnt military airfields that didn’t have the gear to lift it atop the 747.
    If nothing else, it would of made a good carrier aircraft for some sort of follow-on air-dropped military orbiter vehicle.


  • david winfrey

    Orbiter wing clearance looks pretty minimal for a drop test to me.

  • Badger

    It really reminds me a “Mistelbomber”. You know, the unmanned flying bomb version of a Ju-88 with a manned Fw-190 on top.

  • Pat Flannery

    If it reminds you of a Mistel, check out this:
    This basic concept has been around for a very long time, and probably served as the the inspiration for Rutan’s SpaceShip carriers.

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