The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a Boeing 747, is now parked at Ellington Field. Beginning this fall, workers will start taking it apart, into six pieces, for the move to Space Center Houston.
It will take a six-mile trip through city streets to Space Center Houston. Center officials said the aircraft will travel south on Highway 3, then north on NASA Road One in early 2014.
The 747 will have to go the wrong way, against traffic, on NASA Road One in order to avoid an overpass.
Once the jet arrives at Space Center Houston, a replica of a space shuttle will be mounted on top to form a six-story, exhibit fully open to the public.
"It's unbelievable," said Richard Allen, the president of Space Center Houston. "Anybody that you talk to and tell them about it and show them a picture of what it looks like, they just get unbelievably crazy about it."
Allen said the center will move the shuttle model into the parking lot and out of the way. The exhibit will open in 2015. The total price tag is $12 million. Allen said the center has raised about half of that.
Beginning Thursday, you can help "Name the Shuttle."
A spokesperson said the free contest "gives one lucky Texan the opportunity to name the high-fidelity Shuttle replica that will sit atop the massive 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA).
Launching at noon on July 4, residents submit an original name that symbolizes the spirit of Texas and its unique characteristics of independence, optimism and can-do attitude. The contest closes at noon on Labor Day, Sept. 2.
The center promises an exhibit that "Will provide a one-of-a-kind visitor experience exclusive to Space Center Houston.
It will be the only place in the world where guests can climb aboard the huge 747 SCA and the Shuttle replica and experience the 30-year Space Shuttle program in the most dynamic, hands-on environment imaginable.
The attraction will also expand Space Center Houston’s current educational programs, which aim to inspire students to consider careers in math and science."