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Space Shuttle Explorer replica arrives in Galveston

Friday, June 01, 2012

The space shuttle Explorer is getting some repairs done in Galveston and taking a bit of a rest from its long trip to Clear Lake from Florida.

The seven-day trip from Cape Canaveral left the shuttle replica with some bumps and bruises. Along the trip, a fastener gave way on a wing, causing some damage. A NASA crew wants to make sure repairs are made before today's big celebration.

As it arrived yesterday, plenty of spectators were on hand to watch the full-size replica complete its journey across the Gulf.

"We chased it down to Seawolf Park and then they said that it came down this way, and it was like, wow what a surprise," said Jason Fennelly, who was on hand to see the replica arrive in southeast Texas.

Many people watched the 122-foot long shuttle mock, mounted atop a barge, make its way into Port Bolivar yesterday via SkyEye 13 HD, the last leg of the trip from its home of 18 years at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It's new home soon to be Space Center Houston.

"Seeing it on a barge and having seen it from your helicopter, it's really weird seeing it on the water," said Fennelly.

"History, you know, just something we've never seen before," shuttle watcher Julie Harris said.

The sunset made the replica seem even more majestic, but the fact that it took a barge to bring it here pours a little salt in the wound. A brown pelican even taking flight in front of the unable replica didn't help.

"We should of had a real one," said resident Don Harris.

"I was with NASA for 15 years and it was a big disappointment and I know a lot others were disappointed, but this is the next best thing," said Fennelly.

"Mockup is better than nothing, I guess," said Harris.

The shuttle replica will arrive in Clear Lake this afternoon.

"Shuttlebration" schedule of events:

Friday, June 1:

* 2:00 PM - Event Area Open to Public
Transportation to and from Johnson Space Center will begin. Street party area will include NASA space exploration exhibits, music and entertainment from 2pm - 9pm.
* 3-5:00 PM Shuttle Replica Arrives at NASA Dock with Fire Boat Water Arch
* 4:30 PM Welcome Ceremony & T-38 Flyover
* 6:30 - 8:30 Music by Max Q, the all Astronaut Band
9:00 PM Fireworks Display on Clear Lake
10:00 PM Final Tram Returns to Parking Area
* Schedule subject to change

Saturday, June 2:
The space shuttle replica will be loaded onto a mobile transfer vehicle for transport to SCH. The lakeside load-out will take a full day to complete. There are no public events planned for this day.

Sunday, June 3:
5:00 - 8:00 AM - Replica transported along NASA Parkway from JSC dock to Space Center Houston. NASA Parkway and NASA 1 Bypass will be closed from 5 AM - 9 AM
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Following the arrival, there will be a free, family-oriented public celebration in the Space Center Houston parking lot, offering viewing opportunities of the replica, NASA space exploration exhibits, fun activities for the entire family and much more. Discount admission to Space Center Houston is available online.

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Tags:
nasa, johnson space center, shuttle, galveston, clear lake, local, erik barajas
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