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Help the U.S. Space & Rocket Center build a new public exhibition featuring the Shuttle Training Aircraft used by space shuttle astronauts!
U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation
Huntsville, Alabama
United States
5 Team Members
WE DID IT STA FANS!  Now, work begins on getting the STA moved to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center campus.  Keep checking back for updates on our progress, or follow along on social media: facebook.com/rocketcenterusa, @rocketcenterusa or facebook.com/spacecampusa, @spacecampusa.



***Astronaut Signatures Update 4/21
:  So far, shuttle astronauts Jim Halsell, Robert "Hoot" Gibson, Owen Garriott, Steve Nagel and L. Blaine Hammond have agreed to sign 50 of our STA posters, available at the $300 donation level!***

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation in Huntsville, Alabama is asking for your help to raise $70,000 to begin installation of a Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s Shuttle Park.  The aircraft, which bears the tail number N945NA, will be a museum exhibition and immersive classroom for our nearly 600,000 annual visitors and for trainees in our Space Camp®, Aviation Challenge® and Robotics Camp STEM education programs. 

About the “Land the Shuttle Training Aircraft” Exhibition Project

Established in 1970, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center® is home to one of the most extensive collections of authentic space hardware and artifacts in the world.  As the Official NASA Visitor Center for Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, our mission is to inspire the next generation of astronauts, explorers, scientists, inventors, technicians and leaders through immersive learning and hands-on STEM experiences.

In 2012, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center® acquired the Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (GII STA) N945NA from NASA.  This one-of-a-kind aircraft is specially modified to train astronauts to land the Space Shuttle Orbiter: half of the cockpit designed as a traditional Gulfstream cockpit and the other half designed to replicate the orbiter’s flight controls.  Currently, the aircraft is being decommissioned and stored at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in the care of the Alabama Air National Guard.

We plan to display the GII STA to the public in the Space & Rocket Center’s Shuttle Park, home of Pathfinder, the world’s only full-stack space shuttle display.  The display of the aircraft would allow the public to enter the vehicle, where they learn more about the history, operation, engineering and technology behind the GII-STA program.  The space inside the aircraft will also be used as an awesome classroom and ready room for Space Camp® and Aviation Challenge® trainees.

Project Needs

In order to transport this aircraft to our campus from its current location in Birmingham, we must first prepare the installation site to ensure the aircraft can be safely and securely mounted. The $70,000 goal will pay for the necessary work that will allow us to install the aircraft onto the museum campus, including site demolition, earthwork, concrete and paving, aircraft footings, and storm drainage.  If we reach our goal, we hope to have the STA installed in our Shuttle Park by the end of the summer for the public to enjoy.  And that's just the first step! 

The total exhibition plan for the GII-STA N945NA consists of two major phases.  The installation/exhibition phase consists of installing the aircraft in Shuttle Park, building a mock runway leading up to the aircraft, installing a canopy to protect the craft from the elements, and a scaffolding/staircase that will allow the public to explore the interior of the aircraft.  The second phase of the project is to build an ADA-compliant outdoor amphitheater underneath the GII-STA’s wingspan.  This will be an iconic venue for educational presentations and demonstrations, Space Camp and Aviation Challenge graduations, and special events at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

If you help us hit our $70,000 goal, it will be a monumental first step in bringing a fully-fledged STA exhibition, including access to the interior of the aircraft, to our museum.

Concept drawing of Phase I of the STA exhibition at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Concept drawing of Phase II of the STA exhibition at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Donation Levels and Perks

For our “Land the STA” project, we are offering some exclusive STA swag not available in our store, as well as one-of-a-kind experiences you won't find anywhere else. And in addition to the perks you see listed on the side bar, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center® team is working on some special items that will make you the envy of space and aviation enthusiasts everywhere!  Donors at every level also receive an appreciative shout-out on the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s STA website! For more detailed perk descriptions, check out the "Perk Descriptions" file in the gallery.

More Information and How to Help

If you have any questions or would like to help the "Land the STA" project in any way, you can contact Trevor Daniels by email at STA[at]spacecamp[dot]com.  Please feel free to share the link to our IndieGoGo page with friends, family, co-workers, or to anyone who will listen!  Keep checking back here or at www.rocketcenter.com to follow our progress on our fundraising efforts and for more content on the STA.  Thank you for your support in bringing another amazing exhibition to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and for helping us continue our mission to preserve the legacy of human spaceflight and inspire the next generation to keep exploring!

About the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. It supports the educational programs of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Space Camp®, through grants, fundraising, scholarships and corporate partnerships. The USSRC established the foundation as the fundraising component for the Center and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) designated the USSRC Foundation as a public charity on March 22, 2002.

Land the STA Community Partners
Huntsville and area businesses are showing their support for our Shuttle Training Aircraft exhibit by contributing and helping us promote our campaign! Is your business interested in joining team Land the STA as a community partner?  Does your business have a matching program for contributions to non-profit organizations?  Contact Trevor Daniels at STA[at]spacecamp[dot]com for more information on how to get involved!

Current STA Community Partners:
Straight to Ale, 4site, Gleneagles Family Medicine, Huntsville/Madison County CVB, Our Valley Events, Geek Out Huntsville, Hall Albright Garrison & Assoc.

More about the Grumman Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft

The fleet of four Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) played a pivotal role in the training of space shuttle pilots and commanders in landing the orbiter spacecraft.  Early in the development of training procedures for the space shuttle, there were several aircraft in consideration for this critical function, including the Boeing 737.  However, the Grumman Gulfstream II rose above the rest of the pack, becoming NASA’s selected vehicle because of its lower operational costs and its spate of flight capabilities.

The STA provided an invaluable tool for training shuttle pilots and commanders – shuttle orbiters, often referred to as “flying bricks,” returned from space as a glider with no power other than the energy from its previous orbital velocity, and thus no chance to go around to recover from an initial bad approach or attempted landing.  Training for approach and landing was critical as the orbiter pilots only had one chance to land after re-entry, and there was very little margin for error.  For that reason, commanders and pilots normally flew around 1,000 approaches in the STA during their train-up for an assigned mission.

These training sorties would normally begin at around 30,000 feet, allowing the STA to be configured for the landing simulation.  The orbiter pilot would begin the landing simulation at 20,000 feet and 15 miles from touchdown, which in this case was a point where the pilot’s eyes were 32 feet above the runway as if they were in the orbiter.

The trip from 20,000 feet to the ‘touchdown’ point took only two minutes (the STA never actually touched down, rather its landing gear was about 22 feet above the runway).  As the simulation began, the STA would deploy its main landing gear, extend its specially-modified wing flaps, and throw its two Rolls-Royce Spey engines in full reverse, all to create the amount of drag that would be felt on the re-entry of the orbiter.  Onboard computers also contributed to the simulation, making adjustments to replicate the feel of the orbiter’s landing approach, and allowing the training orbiter pilot to command inputs to the STA’s control surfaces via their joystick in the same manner as if they were flying the orbiter.  All of this was done while flying the STA in an 18 to 21 degree dive, descending almost seven-times steeper than a normal commercial airliner.  As you can imagine, it made for one heck of a ride! 

Inside the cockpit of the STA, which contains both orbiter and standard GII controls.
Find This Campaign On
raised by 307 people in 2 months
102% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$70,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on May 3, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    STA Digital Sponsor Badge

    Show the internet that you helped land the STA at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center!

    25 claimed
  • $15USD
    STA Logo Key Ring

    Spruce up your set of keys with an STA key ring! Features the STA logo on one side and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center logo on the other. Donors also receive the perks listed above.

    55 out of 300 claimed
  • $35USD
    STA Logo Bumper Sticker

    Make sure the person behind you in traffic knows how cool you are with this "My Other Vehicle Is Parked at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center" bumper sticker featuring the STA project logo! Donors also receive the perks listed above.

    21 out of 300 claimed
  • $44USD
    Space Ice Cream

    The U.S. Space and Rocket Center's birthday was March 17. Help us celebrate by donating $44 to our Land the STA campaign, and we'll send you a packet of Space Camp freeze-dried ice cream in addition to all the perks at the lower levels!

    12 out of 50 claimed
  • $50USD
    GII STA Art Poster

    Add this awesome aircraft to your art collection with a special edition poster featuring original art and the STA project logo! Donors also receive the perks listed above.

    40 out of 150 claimed
  • $75USD
    STA Mission Patch (ONLY)

    Mission Patch enthusiasts: here is your chance to snag the exclusive Land the STA 4" embroidered patch featuring NASA 945. Let your fellow #spacetweeps know that you helped land STA NASA 945 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center! (Does not combine with perks at lower levels)

    11 out of 20 claimed
  • $100USD
    STA Artwork T-Shirt

    Show the world you helped land the STA at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center by wearing this T-shirt featuring original STA art and the STA project logo wherever you go! Donors also receive the perks listed above.

    35 out of 100 claimed
  • $150USD
    STA Perk Combo

    Donate $150 and choose ANY TWO perks from the following list: STA Keychain, STA bumper sticker, STA art poster (unsigned), STA art T-shirt, or the STA mission patch. Once selected, email STA[at]spacecamp[dot]com with your picks!

    1 out of 20 claimed
  • $250USD
    STA Mission Patch

    The mission patch is hallmark of the achievements of astronauts and aviators. You can wear this one with pride knowing you helped land the STA! Available in large only. Donors also receive the perks listed above.

    11 out of 80 claimed
  • $300USD
    Signed STA Poster

    We are reaching out to the Space Shuttle astronauts who trained on the STA to have them autograph 50 of our exclusive Land the STA art posters! We won't stop collecting signatures until the campaign is over! Check the updates to see the most current list of signatures! Also receive all the perks at the lower levels (except the unsigned poster)!

    7 out of 36 claimed
  • $500USD
    Aviation Challenge Flight Suit

    It may be olive, but it's not drab...so, flight suit up in our Aviation Challenge gear. A perfect place to put your mission patch! Available in several sizes. Donors also receive the perks listed above.

    1 out of 100 claimed
  • $750USD
    Hall of Fame Weekend VIP

    Be our VIP guest on August 8-9, 2014 during the Space Camp Hall of Fame Weekend. Includes a museum/Space Camp tour by our curator, special guest speakers, and tickets to the Hall of Fame ceremony! Meals included. Travel to Huntsville and lodging are not included, but special hotel rates are available. Also receive all perks at the lower levels!

    0 out of 24 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $1,000USD
    Lifetime Membership to USSRC

    Become a part of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center family and receive free general admission for life! See project text for details. Donors also receive the perks listed above.

    20 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Adult/Family Space Camp

    You're never too old for Space Camp! You and a friend or family member can have the ultimate space or aviation experience at the world-famous Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. See project description for details. Travel to Huntsville not included. Donors also receive all perks up to the $1,000 level.

    3 claimed
  • $10,000USD
    Fly with an Astronaut

    Ever wanted to meet an astronaut? Well, here is your chance to fly with one! Five-time shuttle astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson will take you and a guest on a one-hour tour of Huntsville, Alabama in his Beechcraft Bonanza! Plus, you will receive a USSRC VIP package, including meals, behind-the-scenes tours and every-single perk we are offering! Travel to Huntsville and accommodations not included. Flexible dates available. Visit will be coordinated by donor, USSRC and Hoot Gibson.

    0 out of 3 claimed
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