AirbusMDCFAN
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NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:15 pm

Source/Link: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... 000000taAh


"Inside a Hamburg maintenance hangar belonging to Lufthansa Technik (LHT), a 40-year-old Boeing 747 Special Performance is undergoing a heavy check to help keep the heavily modified, NASA-owned aircraft in service until 2034."

"The quad-jet – which was originally delivered to Pan Am in 1977 – is equipped with a 17t infrared telescope in the rear fuselage to conduct frequent long-haul space observation flights as part of a joint project between NASA and German aerospace research centre DLR."


With at least a dozen years till the 2030s, has NASA even given a thought as to what will eventually replace
this classic 747.
 
SteelChair
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:46 pm

So much for Trumps push for American jobs.....do maintenance in Germany on US Government airplanes.....and with Germany too boot, a country not currently on the best of terms politically with the USA
 
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AviationAddict
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:49 pm

SteelChair wrote:
So much for Trumps push for American jobs.....do maintenance in Germany on US Government airplanes.....and with Germany too boot, a country not currently on the best of terms politically with the USA


I'm pretty sure this aircraft and the program it flies for is a 50/50 (or close to) joint venture between NASA and the Germans.
 
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ssteve
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:50 pm

AviationAddict wrote:
I'm pretty sure this aircraft and the program it flies for is a 50/50 (or close to) joint venture between NASA and the Germans.


80/20, but the German flag on the airframe is a good indicator of that...
 
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enilria
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:53 pm

SteelChair wrote:
So much for Trumps push for American jobs.....do maintenance in Germany on US Government airplanes.....and with Germany too boot, a country not currently on the best of terms politically with the USA

If you think the government moves so fast that this program even could have changed in a year you are wildly optimistic.
 
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AviationAddict
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:54 pm

ssteve wrote:
AviationAddict wrote:
I'm pretty sure this aircraft and the program it flies for is a 50/50 (or close to) joint venture between NASA and the Germans.


80/20, but the German flag on the airframe is a good indicator of that...


Oh wow, I didn't realize it was that heavily in favor of NASA. Either way though the Germans certainly have a vested interest.
 
HOOB747
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:12 pm

Beautiful bird, and it's amazing how it operates under such unique flight parameters. And it sounds like it is in exactly the correct place for a heavy check. Lufthansa Technik has the experience for the job, so I'm not sure why people are questioning why an American plane is undergoing maintenance in Germany.
I love dem planes....
 
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kjeld0d
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:16 pm

SteelChair wrote:
So much for Trumps push for American jobs.....do maintenance in Germany on US Government airplanes.....and with Germany too boot, a country not currently on the best of terms politically with the USA


If you would bother yourself to read the article you would see that LH Technik is the only one who can service this aircraft properly. A "push for American jobs" is just that. There were, are, and will be unemployed people in AmericaLand. Regardless of president.
 
SteelChair
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:32 pm

HOOB747 wrote:
Beautiful bird, and it's amazing how it operates under such unique flight parameters. And it sounds like it is in exactly the correct place for a heavy check. Lufthansa Technik has the experience for the job, so I'm not sure why people are questioning why an American plane is undergoing maintenance in Germany.


I have no doubt of their technical capabilites, the issue is more a matter of trade....see the insipid Bombardier trade dispute for example. I guess no one cares about aviation technician jobs, or perhaps this is part of the long term contract as was intimated above.
 
SteelChair
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:34 pm

kjeld0d wrote:
SteelChair wrote:
So much for Trumps push for American jobs.....do maintenance in Germany on US Government airplanes.....and with Germany too boot, a country not currently on the best of terms politically with the USA


If you would bother yourself to read the article you would see that LH Technik is the only one who can service this aircraft properly. A "push for American jobs" is just that. There were, are, and will be unemployed people in AmericaLand. Regardless of president.


Sure, sure because someone wrote it it is true, only LH can do the work. Hahahahaha.
 
Bricktop
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:50 pm

And yet another thread on a.net is hijacked by someone trying to inject politics. :talktothehand:

I am glad the old girl is getting a life extension. Can we discuss that? Pretty please.
 
WIederling
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:02 pm

ssteve wrote:
AviationAddict wrote:
I'm pretty sure this aircraft and the program it flies for is a 50/50 (or close to) joint venture between NASA and the Germans.


80/20, but the German flag on the airframe is a good indicator of that...


We've gone through 2 generations of spectrometer backends ( obsolete ) because NASA couldn't get their stuff together.
Without LHT we'd still wait for it being servicable.
Murphy is an optimist
 
SteelChair
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:13 pm

Bricktop wrote:
And yet another thread on a.net is hijacked by someone trying to inject politics. :talktothehand:

I am glad the old girl is getting a life extension. Can we discuss that? Pretty please.


I didnt mean to highjack the tread, just pointing out an irony that appeared to me. Must have stuck a chord.

The SPs were pretty cool jets, despite the short time that they had in service amd small production run.
 
SteelChair
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:14 pm

WIederling wrote:
ssteve wrote:
AviationAddict wrote:
I'm pretty sure this aircraft and the program it flies for is a 50/50 (or close to) joint venture between NASA and the Germans.


80/20, but the German flag on the airframe is a good indicator of that...


We've gone through 2 generations of spectrometer backends ( obsolete ) because NASA couldn't get their stuff together.
Without LHT we'd still wait for it being servicable.


Probably true....NASA spends the taxpayer's billions for basically nothing that helps the economy, standars of living, etc. Mho.
 
DarthLobster
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:30 pm

SteelChair wrote:
WIederling wrote:
ssteve wrote:

80/20, but the German flag on the airframe is a good indicator of that...


We've gone through 2 generations of spectrometer backends ( obsolete ) because NASA couldn't get their stuff together.
Without LHT we'd still wait for it being servicable.


Probably true....NASA spends the taxpayer's billions for basically nothing that helps the economy, standars of living, etc. Mho.


Do some basic research. Money invested in the space program generates a seven fold return into the US economy. The device you’re reading this on exists because of space technology, as does GPS navigation, satellite communication, weather and natural disaster monitoring, etc. Quite the bargain at 1/200th the federal budget, especially when you consider that twelve times that amount is spent on paying off interest in the national debt alone (which, by the way, benefits no one). In fact, investments in NASA have the most significant positive impact on the average citizen of any government agency.

Go whine about the F-35 if you want to bark up the tree of wasteful spending.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:30 pm

SteelChair wrote:
Probably true....NASA spends the taxpayer's billions for basically nothing that helps the economy, standars of living, etc. Mho.


Uhhhhhh... that high technology NASA uses and develops is very labor-intensive. When NASA contracts with SpaceX to build a rocket, I'm sure > 90% of the money ends up as salaries. The material value of any fancy thing NASA orders is practically zero.

And these engineers, scientists and other employees must eat, buy clothing, pay taxes...

David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
syntheticJake
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:46 pm

SteelChair wrote:
WIederling wrote:
ssteve wrote:

80/20, but the German flag on the airframe is a good indicator of that...


We've gone through 2 generations of spectrometer backends ( obsolete ) because NASA couldn't get their stuff together.
Without LHT we'd still wait for it being servicable.


Probably true....NASA spends the taxpayer's billions for basically nothing that helps the economy, standars of living, etc. Mho.


Woah. Before elaborating on such a brazen comment, might I suggest some light reading.

https://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/economics.html

A Midwest Research Institute (MRI) study of the relationship between R&D expenditures and technology-induced increases in GNP indicated that each dollar spent on R&D returns an average of slightly over seven dollars in GNP over an eighteen-year period following the expenditure
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:13 am

Good to see she'll be flying for years to come. It means I might have a chance of seeing her in person when she's down in NZ each year. ^_^
 
prebennorholm
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:42 am

AirbusMDCFAN wrote:
With at least a dozen years till the 2030s, has NASA even given a thought as to what will eventually replace
this classic 747.

No. It is almost brand new. It saw first light in 2010. It cost DLR and NASA 330 million dollars (2007 dollars) to build her, so she is one of the most expensive planes in the world. She wasn't fully operational until 2014.

Good to see that they are taking good care of her, and that she will soon be ready for her infrequent flights until 2034.

But there will be great sorrow around the word, not just in Germany and USA, if she doesn't last a lot longer than that. There is no serious reason why she shouldn't continue to do great service to the world for at least the next fifty years. Yes, it will take some planning for spares availability, they will manage that.

Clearly some contributors here are not very much aware of her contributions to mankind. They can start at the SOFIA Science Center web site at
https://www.sofia.usra.edu/
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
WIederling
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:18 am

prebennorholm wrote:
https://www.sofia.usra.edu/


ESA has much to learn on how to present their research in a sexy manner.
(They definitely don't lag in quality work. But the presentation is a continuing disaster.)
Murphy is an optimist
 
TheSonntag
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:40 am

WIederling wrote:
prebennorholm wrote:
https://www.sofia.usra.edu/


ESA has much to learn on how to present their research in a sexy manner.
(They definitely don't lag in quality work. But the presentation is a continuing disaster.)


I couldn't agree more. Nasa has been under public pressure to justify their work since the 1960s. It has therefore a very long tradition of being transparent, public and informative.

ESA is the opposite. A strange (non - EU) Organisation driven by politics and working silently. Not the way to get public attention. They dont have to, they get Money from the member states, so they do not have to be transparent. Quite disappointing.

However, astronauts like Alexander Gerst and other ESA astronauts on the ISS have been promising examples of a much better, open strategy. So all hope is not lost.
 
WIederling
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:26 am

What I could garner there is also the issue that NASA seems to hold rights to all relevant research data
while for ESA projects this sits with the individual research group.
i.e. where NASA is able to publish imagery on short notice ESA is held back and busy in an oriental market.
Murphy is an optimist
 
WIederling
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:22 pm

TheSonntag wrote:
Nasa has been under public pressure to justify their work since the 1960s.


That same pressure also lost missions and killed astronauts. a narrow edge to walk on.
Murphy is an optimist
 
SteelChair
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:48 pm

syntheticJake wrote:
SteelChair wrote:
WIederling wrote:

We've gone through 2 generations of spectrometer backends ( obsolete ) because NASA couldn't get their stuff together.
Without LHT we'd still wait for it being servicable.


Probably true....NASA spends the taxpayer's billions for basically nothing that helps the economy, standars of living, etc. Mho.


Woah. Before elaborating on such a brazen comment, might I suggest some light reading.

https://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/economics.html

A Midwest Research Institute (MRI) study of the relationship between R&D expenditures and technology-induced increases in GNP indicated that each dollar spent on R&D returns an average of slightly over seven dollars in GNP over an eighteen-year period following the expenditure


I've been reading about the space program for over 40 years....

Just because someone published a study doesn't make it true.

My cellphone doesn't have core rope memory or any other tech from the space program (ok maybe a little somewhere but very little). I've heard astronauts claim we wouldn't have inertial navigation if not for NASA's manned space program....that just isn't true.
 
SteelChair
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:00 am

WIederling wrote:
TheSonntag wrote:
Nasa has been under public pressure to justify their work since the 1960s.


That same pressure also lost missions and killed astronauts. a narrow edge to walk on.


Their loss was highly regrettable, but the safety record is amazing considering the magnitude of the risk, and they volunteered for the program knowing the risks.

I often wonder, for example, what was Pete Conrad or Jim Lovell's risk of an extended stay in the Hanoi Hilton, or worse, compared to the risks they ran in the space program? I wonder how many space junkies know the name C.E. Southwick, or are aware of others who survived mulitple ejections in combat in Vietnam?
 
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neutrino
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:43 am

SteelChair wrote:
I've been reading about the space program for over 40 years....

Just because someone published a study doesn't make it true.

My cellphone doesn't have core rope memory or any other tech from the space program (ok maybe a little somewhere but very little). I've heard astronauts claim we wouldn't have inertial navigation if not for NASA's manned space program....that just isn't true.

With respect, just because you SAID you had been READING about the space program for over 40 years doesn't make you more expert than someone who published a study. At best you are at the same level as that someone. And that's giving the benefit of the doubt.
Potestatem obscuri lateris nescitis
 
prebennorholm
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:10 am

WIederling wrote:
prebennorholm wrote:
https://www.sofia.usra.edu/


ESA has much to learn on how to present their research in a sexy manner.
(They definitely don't lag in quality work. But the presentation is a continuing disaster.)

I just wonder why you bring ESA up in this thread. ESA is a space flight organization.

This thread is about the SOFIA infrared astronomic observatory, and it certainly can't fly in space. It suplements ground based telescopes and observatories. It observes above 99% of the water vapor in the atmosphere, therefore seeing wavelengths which can't be observed from ground level. And it observes occultations also over the oceans and unpopulated polar regions, which happen to cover some 80% of out planet.

SOFIA works closely together with mainly US and German universities. NASA designed and operates the plane. DLR designed and operates the payload. US state and German state share costs 80/20% since there are four times more Americans than Germans.

If you want to learn about results, then study astronomy, buy and read relevant books, subscribe to astronomy magazines, or google such things. Can it be easier?
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
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SamYeager2016
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:21 pm

prebennorholm wrote:
If you want to learn about results, then study astronomy, buy and read relevant books, subscribe to astronomy magazines, or google such things. Can it be easier?


I'm sure you're very knowledgeable but you come across as a patronising prat at times.
 
WIederling
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:40 pm

prebennorholm wrote:
This thread is about the SOFIA infrared astronomic observatory, ...

If you want to learn about results, then study astronomy, buy and read relevant books, subscribe to astronomy magazines, or google such things. Can it be easier?

I have been involved in SOFIA backend hardware for a decade. Due to NASA delays 3 generations.
Does that suffice or do I need to study some more?
Murphy is an optimist
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:51 pm

SteelChair wrote:
HOOB747 wrote:
Beautiful bird, and it's amazing how it operates under such unique flight parameters. And it sounds like it is in exactly the correct place for a heavy check. Lufthansa Technik has the experience for the job, so I'm not sure why people are questioning why an American plane is undergoing maintenance in Germany.


I have no doubt of their technical capabilites, the issue is more a matter of trade....see the insipid Bombardier trade dispute for example. I guess no one cares about aviation technician jobs, or perhaps this is part of the long term contract as was intimated above.


So what airline in the US would maintain it? Since the end of 2017, there are no more airlines from the US that fly 747's.
 
SteelChair
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:14 am

So you think all the technical expertise goes poof when the airplanes go to the desert?
 
Aptivaboy
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:21 am

And yet another thread on a.net is hijacked by someone trying to inject politics. :talktothehand:

I am glad the old girl is getting a life extension. Can we discuss that? Pretty please.


This. :bigthumbsup:

I'm very happy to see another 747 still flying, and for a long time to come, apparently. The Queen still reigns, at least at NASA. As for NASA's contributions to modern society and technology, they are manifold. One needs only to do a little basic research to see that. I'll stop there out of risk of entering the political path.

Long live the Queen! Oh, and if any of you are modelers and want to built this lovely lady, I'd suggest the Authentic Airliners 1/144th kit (https://www.authentic-airliners.de/epag ... ts/K144-47).

Bob
 
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N14AZ
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:46 am

SteelChair wrote:
.....do maintenance in Germany on US Government airplanes.....

Bricktop wrote:
I am glad the old girl is getting a life extension. Can we discuss that? Pretty please.


I am not sure if this has mentioned in the posts above. It's not the first time this 747SP is in HAM for maintenance works.
She was there in 2014 as well and there is a very nice report about it: http://www.dglr.de/publikationen/2015/370363.pdf

From that report:

2. BACKGROUND – WHY LHT?
In 2010, NASA indicated for the first time their desire to perform a heavy maintenance visit at a renowned Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility.
A D-Check had been performed during the years of structural modification at the L-3 facility in Waco, TX.
However, this D-Check was done on a system-availability basis over a longer period of time. Thus, the older calendardriven
maintenance events began cropping up at a time when SOFIA started to get into a regular observation schedule.

In addition, documentation deficiencies became obvious once SOFIA was operated and flown on a - more or less -daily basis. Maintenance tasks had to be performed at ever increasing levels of complexity and missing or outdated documentation became a problem. NASA therefore started a market research and came up with several MRO facilities in the US which were still able to
perform heavy maintenance on B747 “classic”-type of aircraft. However, none of these facilities had a regular B747SP-customer base. Solid experience with this type of
aircraft and also required special tooling was often missing.

At this stage Lufthansa Technik AG (LHT) in Hamburg/Germany came into consideration. LHT provides worldwide MRO-services for a large customer base.
Customers are mostly airlines, but also operators of VIP jets and public-sector clients. The LHT-facility in Hamburg is well known for its capabilities in performing aircraft conversions
and cabin modifications for both government and private customers.
The proven history of maintaining B747SP aircraft was the decisive reason which eventually led to issuing the maintenance-contract to LHT. For a period of about 30 years
LHT held and still holds service contracts with several operators of this type of aircraft. During the layover inHamburg there were indeed two instances when anotherB747SP was placed next to our dock.


... and another little detail:

The RH wing gear support end fitting was a very interesting example of a finding. During structural inspections of the
wing to fuselage area, LHT-mechanics noticed the peculiar position of this fitting. They checked drawings and other
technical documentation and eventually determined the fitting was installed in the wrong orientation

Ooops...

... and very many nice pictures in that article
 
WIederling
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Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:27 am

SteelChair wrote:
So you think all the technical expertise goes poof when the airplanes go to the desert?


Sometimes you do not want endless PR statements of proficiency but get your work done.
( man did I hate teleconferencing with JPL people )
Murphy is an optimist
 
Gemuser
Posts: 4726
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:09 pm

SteelChair wrote:
So you think all the technical expertise goes poof when the airplanes go to the desert?

Not "poof" but you'd be surprised how quickly an organisation, any organisation, not just an airline, loses technical expertise when the primary reason for having it goes away. Often the real experienced personal retire when the primary reason goes away, assets are written off and disposed of or repurposed asap and so on.
I bet DL & UA will not be able to maintain a B744 within the next 12/18 months because of factors like these.

Gemuser
 
HaveBlue
Posts: 2128
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:36 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
So what airline in the US would maintain it? Since the end of 2017, there are no more airlines from the US that fly 747's.


One of my very best friends still flies 747-400's out of the US for a worldwide cargo operation, as do many others. Just because the US isn't flying passengers in them doesn't mean that they aren't flying or are not supported.
 
WIederling
Posts: 6229
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Re: NASA keeps 747SP fit for life beyond 2030

Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:58 am

HaveBlue wrote:
Just because the US isn't flying passengers in them doesn't mean that they aren't flying or are not supported.


LHT exposed that significant previous work on the plane was not done by sufficiently competent people.
Murphy is an optimist

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