Shuttle replica “Explorer” berths at NASA in Houston

The Space Shuttle replica “Explorer” is towed on a barge up the channel into Clear Lake on Friday

Clear Lake was the scene last Friday noon, of a dramatic “sail-by” as the government moved a replica of the Space Shuttle to its new permanent home at Space Center Houston. Tug boats pulled and pushed the barge holding the Shuttle up the channel, under the Highway 146 bridge, past the Kemah Boardwalk, and on to a temporary mooring next to the Hilton Hotel on the north shore of Clear Lake.

The vessel had started its journey days earlier, having been removed from its previous location at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Tug boats pulled it around Florida and into the Gulf on its way to Houston.

Hundreds of watchers lined the docks along the channel, and the coast line from the bay to the NASA barge dock near NASA Parkway. The barge dock was built 50 years ago, at the start of the space program, and has been rarely used.

Sunday, the Shuttle was lift on to a huge truck with 144 wheels, and hauled down the highway to the Space Center Houston site.

After a few months of preparation, the Shuttle will be open for public tours, including the inside of the vehicle.