Comprising six steel sections, the lower bow is more than 60 feet tall and is one of the heaviest superlifts to be placed on the ship. Construction of the lower bow superlift, the last major section of the ship below the waterline, began last year.
Gerald R. Ford represents the next-generation class of aircraft carriers. The first-in-class ship features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies and reduced manning. The keel for Ford was laid in November 2009. The ship is on track to meet its scheduled launch in 2013 and delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2015.
At the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, initial mating of space shuttle Discovery and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is complete in the mate-demate device. The device, known as the MDD, is a large gantry-like steel structure used to hoist a shuttle off the ground and position it onto the back of the aircraft, or SCA.
The SCA is a Boeing 747 jet, originally manufactured for commercial use, which was modified by NASA to transport the shuttles between destinations on Earth. This SCA, designated NASA 905, is assigned to the remaining ferry missions, delivering the shuttles to their permanent public display sites.
NASA 905 is scheduled to ferry Discovery to the Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia on April 17, after which the shuttle will be placed on display in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Following delivery of Discovery, NASA 905 will ferry Enterprise from Udvar-Hazy to the Intrepid Museum in New York City. Endeavour is scheduled to be similarly moved to the California Science Center in Los Angeles later this year.