Press Release

Media to be Briefed on MDD Demolition, New Space Exploration Goals

By SpaceRef Editor
August 14, 2014
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NASA’s transition from the now-concluded space shuttle era to it’s present and future goals of human solar system exploration beyond low-Earth orbit will be in focus on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at an informal media opportunity at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, California.

The NASA field center on Edwards Air Force Base has begun demolition of its iconic space shuttle Mate-Demate Device (MDD), one of the last vestiges of the Space Shuttle Program at NASA Armstrong. Media are invited to view demolition activity and interview employees who had worked with the device during the on-site media opportunity, slated for 9 a.m. PDT.  

Several NASA and contractor personnel who were involved with the center’s support of the space shuttle over several decades will be available for comment, including:

George Grimshaw, the center’s last shuttle landing and recovery manager;

Lance Dykhoff, shuttle flight support coordinator;

Susan Ligon, Edwards air support coordinator;

Phil Burkhardt, former United Space Alliance space shuttle site manager;

Jim Kelly, shuttle ground support equipment mechanic.

NASA Armstrong center director David McBride will also brief media members on the center’s work in support of NASA’s current and future space exploration and technology goals. Among those efforts is continued support for the agency’s Commercial Crew Development program participants, the Orion-Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle abort flight test, and support for the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities Program. 

The large, gantry-like MDD structure was used for de-servicing the space shuttles after they landed at Edwards Air Force Base and for lifting and placing them on NASA’s modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for their ferry flights back to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Constructed in 1976 at a cost of $1.7 million, the MDD was first used in 1977 for the prototype shuttle orbiter Enterprise’s approach and landing tests. It was last used for turnaround operations of the shuttle Discovery following its STS-128 mission that landed at Edwards in 2009.

U.S. media interested in participating in this media opportunity should contact Alan Brown at the Armstrong public affairs office no later than 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at 661-276-2665 or by email at

For more information about the center’s historic Mate-Demate Device, visit:

For more about NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, visit:


SpaceRef staff editor.