Texas — Part 2

We just landed here at Lackland Air Force Base’s Kelly Field. I scrambled off the C-9 and made it out on the runway in time see Atlantis/SCA’s second Texas landing. We’ll have video soon!

The 37th Training Wing here at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, is the largest training wing in the Air Force. Kelly Field is the longest continually used runway in the Air Force (since 1917) and population wise is the largest Air Force base in the United States.
Ben, our photographer caught this cool shot of Lackland AFB 2nd Lieutenant, Natassia Cherne taking a moment after the landing.

We’ll refuel here, take a minute for lunch and to get one last check of the weather forecasts and then be on our way to Mississippi.

Oh, and I’ve noticed in the comments several people are asking about why it is that the orbiter can’t fly in the rain since it’s not a problem if the orbiter gets rained on when it’s sitting on the launch pad. The answer is that the rain hits the orbiter’s tiles a lot harder when we’re flying over 300 mph than it does at the pad. At those speeds the rain would be like a shotgun blast to the tiles. (Have you ever held your hand outside your car window when you’re driving through a rainstorm?)

7 thoughts on “Texas — Part 2”

  1. That first shot with the SCA landing with an F-16 in the foreground is a pretty awesome shot!

  2. Just for clarification and since the Air Force has only been around (officially) since 1947, I thought I’d add the following:

    The Army created the first antecedent of the Air Force in 1907, which through a succession of changes of organization, titles, and missions advanced toward eventual separation 40 years later.The United States Air Force became a separate military service on 18 September 1947, with the implementation of the National Security Act of 1947.[9] The Act created the United States Department of Defense, which was composed of three branches, the Army, Navy and a newly-created Air Force.[10] Prior to 1947, the responsibility for military aviation was divided between the Army (for land-based operations) and the Navy, for sea-based operations from aircraft carrier and amphibious aircraft.

    The predecessor organizations of today’s U.S. Air Force are:

    Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps (1 August 1907 to 18 July 1914)
    Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps (18 July 1914 to 20 May 1918)
    Division of Military Aeronautics (20 May 1918 to 24 May 1918)
    U.S. Army Air Service (24 May 1918 to 2 July 1926)
    U.S. Army Air Corps (2 July 1926 to 20 June 1941) and
    U.S. Army Air Forces (20 June 1941 to 17 September 1947)

  3. Enjoying tagging along with you Dan! Very interesting to get an inside look of how the shuttle gets home. You can really appreciate the logistics and planning that go into moving such a national asset. Awesome!

  4. Dan, are you flying with Rick Brewer? If so, give him a hug!! Love your blog- makes it easy to keep track of where you guys are!

  5. Can you post the flight path into Cape Canveral so that those of us in the area will know where to go to get a view of this approach and landing?

  6. You said “We’ll have video soon” for the landing at Lackland. Just curious if you’d forgotten about it.

    It still seems curious that a vehicle that plows through the atmosphere at very high mach numbers has to fear raindrops at sub-sonic speeds.

    I had the opportunity to watch Columbia aboard the SCA land at Offutt AFB back in 1985. A truly amazing sight. Probably the most astounding part of it for me was when they took a turn over downtown Omaha. I couldn’t believe how hard they banked the SCA with that load on top.

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