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Big Move: 747 Shuttle carrier moves to Space Center Houston

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To safely move 318,000 pounds of aircraft parts nearly eight miles it will take more than a determined education foundation; in fact Space Center Houston is teaming with 30 public, private and government agencies to “bring the legacy home” -- many of whom offered their services at little or no charge.

“Even in a state as big as Texas, a move of this size is unprecedented,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “This massive exhibit will celebrate American ingenuity and create an international icon highlighting Houston’s leadership role as Space City, USA.”

The Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and space shuttle replica Independence will be joined to become an international landmark, opening in 2015. The attraction will stand over eight stories tall and feature interactive educational exhibits inside the shuttle and jumbo jet. Visitors will enter the shuttle while it is mounted in the ferry configuration over 60 feet off the ground – an experience unique in the world. The exhibit will explore the remarkable history of the shuttle program and how it is shaping current NASA initiatives to explore asteroids, the moon, Mars and beyond.

A capital campaign is under way to raise the remaining $3 million needed to complete the exhibit. The public is encouraged to participate by texting “Shuttle747” to 41444 to pledge a donation, or contacting Space Center Houston’s Development Department at 281-283-7707.

Crawling at the speed of a person walking, 3 miles per hour, the jumbo jet is moving nearly six miles on Monday night/Tuesday morning, and two miles on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. It arrives early Wednesday morning at Space Center Houston. The center is working in partnership with more than 30 public, private and government agencies, many of whom gave their services at little or no charge.

The largest piece in the convoy was be the fuselage segment of the 747, measuring 25 feet wide and 35 feet tall. The length of 190 feet is roughly the height of Niagara Falls or as long as two NBA basketball courts.

“Our primary concern during the move is for the safety of our community and the workers involved. We also are working diligently to minimize impact on our neighbors,” said Richard Allen Jr., president and CEO of Space Center Houston. “The relocation of the 747 will be a grand sight, but we want to make sure everyone affected is fully prepared for the road closures.”

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