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When NASA developed the Space Shuttle an important phase of the work was to conduct test flights. One way that this was done was to initially take off with the Space Shuttle Enterprise attached to the back of a Boeing 747 (Jumbo) Aircraft and the Shuttle then separated before gliding down to land. Many such trials were conducted at the Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA, which has extra-long runways. These test flights were iconic symbols of the shuttle programme.
NASA had two Boeing 747s which were known as Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA). The test flights were conducted in 1977. After the test flights were completed the SCAs were used to ferry the Space Shuttles from Edwards Air Force Base to the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA.
The Boeing 747 aircraft were modified in several ways, e.g., mountings added for the Shuttle, additional stabilizers on the tail wings for stability, all seating other than first class (used for crew) removed, fuselage strengthened, improved avionics, all stripped back to bare metal internally wherever possible.
This model is designed with the Shuttle attached to the Boeing 747 and currently on the runway in preparation for take-off. The wing flaps on main wings, tail wings and tail fin all work and the fuselage doors open and close (using mechanisms similar to formal LEGO aircraft models.) The top and nose of the 747 are modular to increase playability and the model includes kitchen and other facilities on the plane.
The Space Shuttle model is similar to Lego City Model 60080 but is extended to suit the size of the Boeing 747. The model has all the internals to allow play with this as a separate model and wheels for the Shuttle are included in the brick count to allow separate landing if required.
The Control tower and refuelling truck are inspired by the Control tower and type of truck that was operating at Edwards Air Force Base when the test flights were being conducted.
Additional decoration – the Boeing 747 and Space Shuttle would carry NASA stickers.