Independence Plaza's NASA 905, an impossible plane

It wasn’t supposed to fly.

John Kiker and Owen Morris’ remote controlled models proved it was possible for a 747 jet to carry the shuttle orbiter on its back. In that moment at Ellington Field, history was made. Space Center Houston is proud to present it as part of the newest international landmark, Independence Plaza presented by Boeing.

When guests tour the massive complex, they walk through history, going inside NASA 905, the shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA) used in a majority of the ferry flights. One of the largest artifacts on public display from the Space Shuttle Program, NASA 905 gives guests a unique look into the ingenuity of NASA engineers.

There’s a little more space to maneuver in NASA 905 than the smaller shuttle replica that is mated on top of it. That means there are many more exhibits, displays and interactive activities for space fans of all ages to marvel at the shuttle era.

The plane has seven areas for exhibits, guiding guests through both the Space Shuttle Program and the history of NASA 905 and the shuttle carrier aircraft project. Guests can see the challenges NASA had to overcome to get the duo off the ground, get a look in a wind tunnel to see the forces that allow the pair to fly and practice mating and de-mating the two themselves in a scale model.

Kiker and Morris, two of the engineers who convinced their bosses at NASA that the project could work, are spotlighted and one of the remote-controlled 747 and shuttle mock-ups that they used is also on display.

Aside from these incredible exhibits, guests can see plenty of NASA 905 itself. Guests can also see a table set up in the forward area where crews would work on the flights returning from ferry missions and the microfilm reader where those crews could read maintenance manuals for the SCA. In the rear of the plane, guests can even see two SCA black boxes.

NASA 905, like Independence Plaza itself, is a giant testament to ingenuity. Get on board yourself at Space Center Houston today.