Mid-morning Monday, if you are driving along Ga. Hwy. 18 or I-185 between Pine Mountain and Columbus and you see something that looks like a space shuttle on the back of a truck, well, it probably will be.
That’s when a quarter-scale replica of the shuttle is expected to enter the Chattahoochee Valley on its way to eventually being permanently displayed at the Columbus State University Coca-Cola Space Science Center.
The replica’s destination Monday will be Flightways Columbus at the Columbus Airport, scheduled to arrive in the parking lot at 11:30 a.m., when it will be prepared for storage. CSU will develop plans and raise money to house the one-of-a-kind engineering prototype.
CSU’s news release Friday described it this way: “As an artifact, it is an irreplaceable part of our nation’s heritage.”
Considered the largest sub-scale prototype of the space shuttle, it is large enough to simulate all of the primary structural elements and joints, the release said.
“The system features a 30-foot orbiter with a 19.5-foot wingspan, a 38-foot-long external tank with a 7-foot diameter, and two 37-foot-long solid rocket boosters,” the release said. “When stacked vertically, the prototype stands more than 48-feet tall. The prototype could be tested in a variety of angles and configurations, including variable loading of the external tanks, allowing replication of the most critical stages of the shuttle’s flight to space.”