Friday, July 20, 2007

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

Given the not-insignificant percentage of nerds in my readership, it's pretty likely that most of you are aware of the specially-modified 747 that serves as the transportation for the Space Shuttle, carrying it from the landing strip in California back to Cape Canaveral in cases where the Shuttle needs to land at Edwards Air Force Base.

In case you need a refresher, here's a picture of the Space Shuttle carrier, showing the shuttle itself mounted in position:


In that picture, you can easily see the little pylons where the shuttle itself attaches to the plane. Obviously, a neat solution to a significant problem, and much faster than sticking it on a boat and floating it through the Panama canal. It was creative thinking like this that inspired me to want to work at NASA when I was a little kid*.

Yet I have recently come across some information that highlights the fact that apparently not everyone who works at NASA is a rocket scientist. Those very same connection pylons that latch the shuttle to the carrier plane apparently are designed with a little warning, which is shown on little signs painted on their side (click on the image for better detail):

You know, all warning signs are there for a reason. I just can't stop giggling when I think of the situation that prompted the placement of those signs.
NASA Chief: "Johnson! Get over here! The black side goes *down* you nincompoop!"

Johnson: "Oooooh. Is *that* why the tail ripped a hole in the roof of the plane?"

NASA Chief: "Dammit Johnson, do I have to put a *sign* on all the pylons?!"
Ah, government bureaucrats...

* Well, that and the movie Spacecamp. Leah Thompson + Kelly Preston = HOT! Plus, the added bonus of a pre-Gladiator/Walk The Line Joaquin Phoenix as Max, the requisite annoying little kid who's obviously too young to actually go to SpaceCamp but exists in the story purely to convince 11-year olds like myself that we're perfectly capable of surviving the trip, and are indeed essential to America's space program, even if NASA doesn't acknowledge it and rejected the application I sent in immediately after seeing the film.

3 comments:

towwas said...

Ha! That's hilarious. Hooray for whoever ordered that stencil having a sense of humor.

J.Bro said...

As a fellow SpaceCamp fan, I had to re-check that all those now-stars* were actually in the movie - holy crap they are!

*or whatever

grrrbear said...

Of course, J.Bro. This is not one of those blogs where the blogger sits around declaring opinions as fact!

Oh, and don't forget about the-guy-who-played-Lamar-in-Revenge- of-The-Nerds who played the quirky Token Black Guy Rudy *and* Tate Donovan.

I tell you, in retrospect, the cast of that film is amazing. One wonders when the sequel will hit the screen. Lamar's probably being a diva and holding the whole thing up...