October 14, 2011: Flight Test Team Honored at Gathering of Eagles

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  • Air Force Flight Test Center

The Flight Test Historical Foundation’s 2011 Gathering of Eagles theme was “Salute to the Space Shuttle.” Five shuttle teams were honored: National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Approach and Landing Test and Orbital Flight Phase team, Dryden’s Space Shuttle Operations team, Boeing’s Space Shuttle team from Plant 42 in Palmdale, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s Space Shuttle Main Engine Team in Canoga Park, Calif., and Edwards AFB’s United States Air Force Space Shuttle Recovery team. X‑15 and Shuttle pilot Maj Gen Joe Engle accepted the award on behalf of the team. Speakers at the event included Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame, and NASA consultant recruiting female and black candidates for the space program, and shuttle pilot Col Lee Archambault, who spoke of his experiences as a shuttle pilot and commander with STS-117 and STS-119.

Team Edwards was one of five teams honored at the 2011 Gathering of Eagles Salute to the Space Shuttle that took place at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds Oct. 14.  Hundreds gathered at the Poppy Pavilion to pay tribute to one of the programs that kept the United States on the forefront of space exploration, honoring the five teams that played an integral role that made it all happen.

The five teams honored were:

  • U.S. Air Force Space Shuttle Recovery Team, responsible for the safe and secure recovery of the orbiters as they returned from space and landed at Edwards
  • NASA's ALT/OFT Team, responsible for the early approach and landing test and orbital flight test phase of the program at the Dryden Flight Research Center on base
  • NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's Space Shuttle Operations Team, provided continual operational support
  • Boeing's Space Shuttle AIT Team at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, responsible for the assembly, integration and test of all space shuttle orbiters
  • Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Space Shuttle Main Engine Team in Canoga Park, responsible for the production and testing of the SSMEs

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