Every once in a while, the MSFS community comes up with an unexpected new experience for the simulator, often in the shape of cool new scenery mods or unique aircraft. Today, we’re bringing you a sensational new add-on that promises to capture simmers’ imagination: a replica of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft!
The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) were two highly modified Boeing 747s that were used by NASA to ferry the Space Shuttle between landing sites and the Kennedy Space Center. First introduced in 1977, these airplanes accompanied the Space Shuttle program throughout its life, retiring in 2012. Both are still preserved today and on display for visitors to see.
The SCA with a Space Shuttle on top is one of the most uncanny flying machines the world has ever seen. The original Boeing 747-100 had to be extensively modified to accommodate the additional weight of the massive Space Shuttle. The whole thing was so heavy and big that it could only travel around 1,000 nautical miles before refueling, at a ceiling altitude of only 15,000 feet.
MSFS simmers can now get a taste of what this rare machine might have been to fly. Developer LordFrites brings us an impressive replica of the SCA, based on Salty’s 747 (which itself is based on Asobo’s 747-8). LordFrites built a non-flyable model of the Endeavour Space Shuttle and placed it on top of the 747, which also gained a new tail section designed to match the one in the real aircraft.
The end result is an awesome new aircraft to fly in Microsoft Flight Simulator, enabling simmers to emulate the life of NASA pilots who used to ferry the Space Shuttle around the US. Beware that range is limited, as in the real world: the engines have been tuned to be… a little more thirsty!
There’s not much to this, really. It’s a Space Shuttle flying piggyback on a Boeing 747. But LordFrites hopes to add some cool new features in the very near future! A system to detach the orbiter midair is currently being developed, along with new engine models that should better match the look of the 747-100 engines. These updates are almost done and should be available very soon.
Furthermore, the developer is also looking to add a special defense feature that the real SCA gained sometime during its lifetime: flares!
All in all, this is one of the coolest flying machines we’ve seen in MSFS and it’s well worth trying for all the aerospace fans among you. The Boeing 747 SCA is now available for free!