MEI Chosen for Crating and Packaging NASA’s FFT Space Shuttle

MEI LLC announced today that the company was chosen to supply packaging and build crates to transport NASA’s Full Fuselage Trainer (FFT) Space Shuttle for its journey from Houston’s Johnson Space Center to Seattle’s Museum of Flight. The FFT was carefully wrapped, crated, and packed by MEI in 22 large sections and will be reassembled later by The Museum of Flight for permanent display.

Photo Credits:Shuttle Trainer Engine Bell in the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery Photo: Ted Huetter , Various (NASA, JSC, MEI etc.)

Crew compartment fits into Super Guppy

Packaged by MEI Rigging & Crating, the 24-foot-long crew compartment of the space shuttle full-fuselage trainer, positioned inside a special cradle for travel, is loaded onto a NASA Super Guppy aircraft at Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Friday morning for transport to the Seattle Museum of Flight. Video courtesy of NASA.



Full Name: Full Fuselage Trainer

Shuttle Trainer leaves NASA for Seattle Museum of Flight – Click for photo gallery

Year Built: 1979
Place of Birth: NASA Technical Services Division
Retirement: 2012 at The Museum of Flight, Seattle
Dimensions: 24 ft. H x 18.6 ft. W x 122 ft. L
Vertical Stabilizer 46 ft. H
Used for: Crew training, engineering evaluations, instructor certifications, astronaut candidate training and more!


It took NASA 7 years to build the FFT Space Shuttle. It took less than one month to break it down for packing and crating.


MEI used enough shrink-wrap to cover 3 basketball courts.


The FFT Space Shuttle’s crew section is the same size as the Observation Deck of the Space Needle.


MEI Rigging & Crating worked enough man hours packing the FFT to travel to the moon & back 3 times.


MEI used enough 2″x 6″ wooden boards, if lined end-to-end, they would stretch over one mile. The wood is expected to be recycled for other projects in Seattle.


Over 300 pounds of nails were used to pack the FFT. This is equivalent to the weight of one modern space suit with life support. MEI used more than 60,000 staples to pack the FFT. Laid at end-to-end, they would stretch over 20 football fields.

 About the Shuttle Trainer

The FFT is a full-scale mockup of the space shuttle orbiter — without the wings. It was used as a test bed for upgrades to the shuttle fleet and for astronaut training such as extra-vehicular activity (EVA) and emergency egress. Built at Johnson Space Center in the 1970s, it was the oldest mockup in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF). The FFT includes flight quality systems, such as a payload bay, lighting and closed circuit TV (CCTV).


In the Media

Space shuttle trainer boxed up for flight to Seattle – June 21, 2012

NASA’s full-size shuttle trainer hitching a ride to Seattle – June 16, 2012

Space shuttle trainer starts to arrive at Museum of Flight – April 17, 2012


Info Line

For up to date information about the Guppy Arrival call: 206-764-5712

MEI Space Shuttle Move