You get a “two-fer” today — two images of a space shuttle you may not have heard of: Explorer.
There is, of course, a reason for this. Explorer never flew, and isn’t in fact, a real space shuttle. It’s just an extremely high-fidelity mockup of a space shuttle. I took both these images of Explorer at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as it was being prepared for its trip to Houston.
Explorer (given the honorary orbiter designation OV-100) is a full-scale, high-fidelity replica built for public display at Kennedy Space Center in 1993. As such, it’s externally a very realistic looking creation, but internally not particularly accurate.
As the shuttle program wound down, and the flying orbiters sent off to their “forever homes,” Explorer was removed from its post at KSC late in 2011 and sent to JSC in Houston in the summer of 2012. Before it goes on display again, the interior will be upgraded to give its visitors a more-realistic look at the interior of a real shuttle.