Astronaut transfer van
The astronaut transfer van, also known as the Astrovan, was a NASA vehicle used at the Kennedy Space Center to transport astronauts from the Operations and Checkout Building to the launch pad before a launch mission, to the pad for launch dress rehearsals, and back to Operations and Checkout Building following a shuttle landing.
According to driver Ronnie King, the astronauts liked the history-filled vehicle, even if it is somewhat old, and even argued against upgrading the vehicle. "We were staged to get a new one," King said, and added that word came that the rookie astronauts wanted to keep the vehicle that was a tradition of the astronauts who traveled those nine miles to the pad before them.
During the twenty-minute drive from the Operations and Checkout Building to the launch pad for shuttle launches, the Astrovan usually stopped at least once along the way. An astronaut rode with the crew to the Shuttle Landing Facility, and was let off there to board the Shuttle Training Aircraft and assess local weather conditions. Senior NASA management often rode along as well, and were dropped off at the Launch Control Center.
- On October 21, 2019, the Boeing Company and Airstream announced Astrovan II, a modified Airstream Atlas touring coach that will carry Boeing commercial crew astronauts out to the launchpad where they will board the CST-100 Starliner on their way to the International Space Station. Astrovan II has seating for up to eight (including the driver), and was built at Airstream's Jackson Center, Ohio production facility.
- From STS-9 until the final Space Shuttle mission (STS-135), NASA used a modified 1983 Airstream Excella motorhome nicknamed the Astrovan.
- Early shuttle flights had fewer crew members, so they used the Apollo-era astronaut transfer van. That vehicle is now on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's Apollo/Saturn V Center.
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