Complex plans to move space shuttle model revealed

More than 1,000-mile trip expected to take at least a week

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HOUSTON - A 130,000-pound model of the space shuttle is headed for Houston, and the complex plans of that move have been released.

The full-scale shuttle model was built over the course of 13 months for $1.7 million.

The more than 1,000-mile trip begins at sea, where it will towed by a 54-feet wide, 180-feet long barge from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Johnson Space Center.

Two ocean-going tugs with a whopping 850 horsepower each will push the barge around the tip of Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico.

The trip, which began Thursday, is expected to take seven to 10 days.

The barge will be handed off to two inland tugs for transport down the Houston Ship Channel. Before entering Clear Lake, the inland tugs will hand over the barge to four smaller push boats.

The push boats will bring the barge underneath the Kemah Bridge and guide it through Clear Lake to the Johnson Space Center at the intersection of NASA and Space Center Boulevard.

Officials at the JSC will build a temporary ramp from the barge to the dock so they can get to the shuttle. Cranes will lift the shuttle so a 144-wheel trailer can be positioned beneath it. The trailer will then take the shuttle a little more than a mile to it's destination at Space Center Houston for your viewing pleasure.

The Shuttle model is free-standing and displayed on its three landing gears. Interior of the model will be accessible to the public on two levels. Replicas of the flight deck and mid-deck will be visible from the public area inside of the payload bay.

Details of the model are based on early vehicle flight configurations such as analog gauges and docking connector.

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