NASA plans to remove engines on Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) is putting together a plan to remove the engines from the two retired Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), according to contract documents posted Friday on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

“NASA/DFRC has a requirement for engines removal, assessment for airworthiness and packing for shipment of Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines JT9D-7J,” the space agency said in contract documents. “The engines are currently installed on two retired Boeing 747SCA. These 747SCA are located in two different locations: one aircraft is located at the Dryden Aircraft Operation Facility in Palmdale, Calif., and the other aircraft is located at the Johnson Space Center, Ellington Field, Houston, Texas.” All assessments must be conducted at these locations, NASA said.

“The government's delivery schedule for the engines is very critical,” NASA said in contract documents. “For the aircraft located at Ellington Field, engine assessment and removal required to be completed by Aug. 31. For the aircraft located at Palmdale, and all other tasks expected to be completed by Oct. 1.”

NASA provided no clear reason for the removal of the engines in contract documents.

SOFIA engines

In June, DFRC issued a request on the FBO website to acquire four Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7J engines specifically configured for a Boeing 747SP legacy aircraft.

The four jet engines are needed for NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) program to sustain the projected 20 year flight envelope of the science platform. The highly modified Boeing 747SP SOFIA jet carries a German-built telescope used for infrared astronomy research.

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