Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Pathfinder

Huntsville's Orbiter for NASA's Fleet

 
 
Pathfinder Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 20, 2016
1. Pathfinder Marker
Inscription. Pathfinder is a 75-ton simulator which was used to practice lifting and handling the real Orbiters. It was originally built at Marshall Space Flight Center in 1977 as a stand-in for Space Shuttle Enterprise to fit-check the roads and facilities that were to be used during the Mated Vertical Ground Vibration Test. In mid-1978, Pathfinder was shipped by barge to Kennedy Space Center where it was used to fit-check the Mate/Demate Device, the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) and the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) platforms. It was also used for ground crew training. In early 1979, Pathfinder was used to rehearse post landing procedures at the Kennedy Shuttle Landing Facility, allowing convoy operations to be accurately simulated. In late 1979, Pathfinder was returned to Marshall Space Flight Center.

After several years in storage, a group of Japanese businessmen expressed interest in obtaining a full-scale Orbiter model for the Great Space Exposition. The Japanese group agreed to pay Teledyne Brown Engineering to modify the Pathfinder to more costly resemble an actual Orbiter. Following display in Tokyo, Pathfinder was returned to Marshall Space Flight Center and was later brought to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center for display.

Orbiter Data
Length: 120 ft.
Height:
Pathfinder Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 20, 2016
2. Pathfinder Marker
47 ft.
Wing Span: 78 ft.
Weight: 153,000 lbs.
Crew Cabin Volume: 2,325 cu. ft.
Vehicle Attitude: 10 Degrees
Pathfinder Developement: Marshall Center Test Laboratory
Teledyne Brown Engineering

 
Location. 34° 42.63′ N, 86° 39.128′ W. Marker is in Huntsville, Alabama, in Madison County. Marker can be reached from Tranquility Base 0.4 miles west of Madison Pike, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville AL 35805, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. External Tank (within shouting distance of this marker); Main Engines (within shouting distance of this marker); T-38 Talon (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pathfinder Orbiter (about 400 feet away); U.S. Army/NASA Juno II (about 600 feet away); NASA/U.S. Geological Survey (about 700 feet away); U.S. Army PGM-11 Redstone (about 700 feet away); U.S. Air Force SM-65 Atlas-F (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Huntsville.
 
Also see . . .  U.S. Space & Rocket Center. (Submitted on September 22, 2016.)
 
Categories. Air & SpaceMan-Made Features
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 200 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on September 22, 2016.
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