NASA Johnson Space Center
Oral History Project
Edited Oral History Transcript
Interviewed by Jennifer Ross-Nazzal
Chantilly, Virginia – 22 March 2012
Today is March 22nd, 2012. This interview with Tony Carp is being
conducted at the [Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum] Steven
F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, for the Johnson Space
Center Oral History Project. The interviewer is Jennifer Ross-Nazzal,
assisted by Rebecca Wright. Thanks again for taking time out of your
schedule today to meet with us.
We certainly appreciate it. I’d like to start by asking how
you became involved in the preservation of [OV (orbiter vehicle)-101]
When we opened the Udvar-Hazy Center aviation hangar we were all very
involved with the buildout. We had one large assembly project, which
was the Enola Gay [B-29 aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb over
Hiroshima, Japan in World War II], and we brought a core team of people
together to do that work. Prior to that, we had not had to deal with
a project on that scale. Part of the idea of Enterprise coming into
the space hangar was that we would be able to do the work we needed
to do in front of the public. That appealed to us as restorers, to
be able to show what we’re doing right in front of people who
would be interested to watch it.
It was also the scope of the project [that appealed to us]. Rather
large aircraft—spacecraft in this case—[we] really needed
to have a handle on how to sequence all of that. We had a limited
timeframe in which to work, and that was the same case with Enola
Gay. A lot of the people who were involved with Enterprise had also
been involved with the Enola Gay assembly project, so that’s
how I think we were tagged as individuals. “Let’s put
you on this team because you have some experience dealing with a rather
large artifact and sequencing of events needed to do this type of
We were selected and that occurred probably January of 2004. We started
to work in earnest in March of that same year. By that time Enterprise
was in its display position in the [James S.] McDonnell Space Hangar,
but none of the other artifacts were yet installed around it. The
public had access to the aviation hangar, the Udvar-Hazy Center was
open, but there was a barrier between us working in the space hangar
and the main aviation hall. It was a barrier that simply, from safety
concern, kept them out of dangerous areas. They were able to actually
see us doing the work we were doing.
One thing I recall is no matter how few people were in the museum,
there was always a crowd of people right there at the barrier watching
what we were doing, because it was a very dynamic thing for them.
The unfortunate thing about a museum like ours is everything’s
very static. To actually see something happening, something going
on, I think the public appreciated that.
What was the state of Enterprise when you started working on her in
We pulled her in, I think it was November of 2003. When the Udvar-Hazy
Center opened she was already in place but not accessible to the public.
In its then current condition, [deemed] not what we felt as displayable.
Most of the damage [that] had occurred to the vehicle because it was
stored in uncontrolled environments and in some cases outdoors for
a period of time. So our task was, in very simple terms, to ready
it for display.
I understand that you were heavily involved in repairing the foam
that was on the orbiter. Would you tell us about that process and
what you found?
Yes, that was a surprise to all of us. Its last place of storage was
in an enclosed temporary hangar on the [Washington] Dulles [International]
Airport facility, which was environmentally uncontrolled and was not
sealed in any way that would keep pests or birds out. During that
timeframe, we believe woodpeckers had gotten in and started doing
what they do on our simulated foam tiles, which completely cover Enterprise
in any of the areas where the flown orbiters actually have the silica
tiles. We just have the foam pieces.
Interestingly, the birds would peck for a while and get through to
the substrate, and then once their beaks contacted that solid metal,
they would stop and they’d find another area and try it again.
I counted nearly 80 individual areas of damage, spread fairly evenly
between the two sides of the vertical tail. Most of that damage was
also up high, so repairing it required the use of an 80-foot personnel
lift just to gain the access. Assessing the damage and coming up with
the repair methodology was all part of my undertaking.
What I decided was that the birds were not very conscientious of creating
symmetrical damage, they tend to just create damage. So the first
thought was we need to make this symmetrical so I can actually do
effective repair. I decided to core out the damaged areas. The amount
of pecking they had done went from about one quarter in diameter—literally,
a monetary quarter—to about three and a half to four inches
in diameter. I chose those sizes and used hole saws and set the depth
to core out the damaged area in each of those locations, the size
depending on how much [damage] the birds had done there.
Once the damaged area was cored out and made perfectly round, I went
back in with a small electrical Dremel tool to clean out the residual
bits and get down to the clean substrate. Then, using a fly cutter
mounted on a drill press, I was able to create plugs using the original
type foam that NASA had provided to us. Those plugs were then sized
to give an interference fit into the corresponding areas that I had
already [prepared] on the vehicle.
At that point I applied the RTV, the room-temperature vulcanizing
adhesive, onto the back side of the plug, and then press fit a plug
into each of the holes, and just repeated that process over and over
and over. How well I fit the plugs to the cored holes varied a little
bit, but I think overall the results were pretty pleasing. Certainly
from the display positions you can’t really pick out those areas,
and there were a lot of them.
Of course the last step was to go back and paint those foam pieces
to match the existing faded paint. It’s not as simple as just
matching to original paint. That [bird damage repair] tasking took
several months, but that was toward the end of the project.
When we were talking with Ed [Edward M. Mautner] this morning, he
talked about how NASA set specific guidelines for what you could and
couldn’t do on the orbiter, and what type of tools you could
use. Was that the same with the foam?
No, because the flown orbiters don’t utilize that foam, they’re
only dealing with the actual silica tiles. They had no real recommendation
for us. They were just adamant about not going through and damaging
the substrate beneath the foam. I was careful to set the depth of
the hole saw so that I would stop short of hitting the actual aluminum
structure, and then cleaned those out by other tooling means. The
concept of how to do the repair was really my own, there was really
no guidance there. I asked many of my coworkers, “What do you
recommend?” and nobody had any clue how to deal with this, because
frankly we just haven’t had to deal with woodpeckers in any
Have you worked on other aircraft or spacecraft restoration before?
Oh yes, I have. The underlying problem we have here at the museum
as restoration specialists is you will work a project and you will
learn a lot of things, and you take that knowledge and you try to
apply it to your next project, but we only collect one of each [of
these artifacts]. If you were doing production-type work and you find
a process that works, you continue that process down the line. Not
so here. You may learn some lessons from the last project, but they
usually don’t apply directly to the next project.
You really have to think intuitively, and each situation is so incredibly
different. You’re just not going to find the answers in a manual
or a procedure, you really have to come up with it on your own based
on all your past experiences. It’s an accumulation thing. As
we go along, we all tend to get a little better at our job because
we remember what did work on some things and what didn’t work,
and you try to refine your processes.
Tell us about cleaning the orbiter. Were you involved in that?
Yes. In the beginning we started with the cleaning process as step
one, which is pretty typical. I myself volunteered to deal with the
vertical tail and that area. We removed a panel at the base of the
vertical tail, an access panel, which allowed us to get to the mechanism
which controls the combination rudder/speed brake. We hand-cranked
the gearbox and allowed the torque tube to open up the speed brakes
and gain access to the inside, which was really pretty filthy too.
We were able to clean inside of that, then once we were done, closed
it back up.
It’s not really visible to the public, but our idea isn’t
to sweep things under the carpet. We don’t just clean what you
can see, we clean inside and out. We clean areas the public will never
see, and the reason is longevity. You’re trying to decontaminate
as much as possible and make these artifacts last as long as they
possibly can. Getting contaminants off is a big part of that.
Did you each take a specific part of the orbiter?
Yes, we divided into smaller teams. I worked with one volunteer, and
we did everything at the tail end, including the body flap, the tail
cones, and the exhaust nozzles, which are not real pieces in our case
on Enterprise. She, [the volunteer], had a term for what we were doing,
but it’s not really an appropriate term—cleaning the back
side [sounds nicer].
Were you involved at all with the OMS [orbital maneuvering system]
pods, which I understand have really degradated quite a bit?
That was one of the other key elements of the project that I took
on. Again, really no precedent for it. We knew the pods would have
to be removed and taken to our [Paul E.] Garber [Preservation, Restoration,
and Storage] Facility in Suitland [Maryland] and refurbished. How
to do that was very unclear to us because our pods are unique. They’re
only mockups from the orbital maneuvering system pods; in fact they’re
not even capable of ferry flight. They were just simple mockups, mostly
comprised of a thick aluminum base, probably about an inch thick.
Then to that are attached brackets, and to the brackets are simple
two-by-four [wood frames] and plywood. The outer surface was just
shaped foam to get the basic shape of the OMS pods. That’s what
we’re dealing with, but the exposure to the elements for those
several years really really wreaked havoc on those [mockups] and did
a lot of damage.
We knew they’d have to come off, there was no way we could properly
process them in place. Fortunately for us, Enterprise in its aft propulsion
bay is pretty well void of components. It’s mostly empty. The
thrust structure is in there, which is very impressive in itself,
but it does allow you the access to get in there and get up to areas
you need. I needed to find out exactly how our mockup OMS pods were
attached to the vehicle proper. Once I determined that, started looking
at methodology for removing and for slinging, attaching a rigging
[system] and actually lifting the pods off the vehicle.
We did contact NASA—several locations. We talked to NASA Goddard
[Spaceflight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland] as well. People thought
they knew what we had, but it turns out no one could really come up
with where our pods came from, who made them. “We’re not
even sure what you have, so we have no guidance for you.” I
could see that there were two lift points on the pods, so utilizing
the only knowns I had, I came up with a rigging scheme to lift them,
which comprised two vertical cable drops, [one] to the forward fitting
and [one to] the aft fitting. Using a spreader bar to keep those cables
separated, and then bring them at the top of the spreader bar to additional
cables coming into a central pick point.
The other problem was we did not know the CG [center of gravity],
the weight distribution of these pods, so we weren’t sure what
would happen once they came loose. Would they want to tip forward
or back? From the get-go we were fairly close, we were within the
ballpark. We came off with the first pod, made some tweaks, came off
with the second pod and got a little better. By the time we went for
the installation about six months later, we had it down right and
got the balance proper and they went on without any issues at all.
Because they mount at about a 45-degree angle on the vehicle, we knew
there was going to be a problem lining up the bolts. For our particular
pods there’s four attachment bolts, one at each corner. There’s
just no way to hold the pod in position and get those bolts to go
through, so my solution was to take two of the original bolts which
were not serviceable to be used again—I replaced the hardware—and
have our machinist turn them down and create alignment pins out of
the original bolts. I slipped the alignment pins in the two [smaller]
fittings as we came down at that 45-degree angle, and those alignment
pins guided the pod onto the vehicle structure and allowed the alignment
to take place. Then we attached the two upper bolts, got them in place,
and then pulled the pins from the lower fittings and put the proper
hardware in there [as well].
The system was untried, and no one really knew how effective it would
be, but it worked out beautifully. I wouldn’t change a thing.
NASA Kennedy Space Center [Florida] and USA [United Space Alliance,
I think] were pretty appalled at what we showed them. We showed them
pictures of the installation and how simple our rig was compared to
how they deal with the actual flight pods. They have a huge birdcage
type structure that fits over. It’s a strongback, and it attaches
at various points and allows for all sorts of adjustment. Well, we
didn’t have that, and we just went with the bare minimum. In
the museum we always strive to do things safely, but at minimum cost,
because we’re not doing production. We’re going to do
this once, then we’re never going to see it again.
Did NASA give you any schematics or manuals or anything attached to
Enterprise when she arrived? Was there something that you could go
to when you were looking at the structure to figure out how things
were attached, or was it just going up and looking at the vehicle
and assessing it on your own?
I think most of what we found on Enterprise surprised everyone working
at NASA now. When that vehicle was built and when it was used for
the Approach and Landing Tests, none of the people who were involved
in that still work at NASA today. I know NASA is pretty good about
keeping records, but putting their fingers on those records can sometimes
seem to be difficult.
No one really could come up with a lot of information for us. When
we said, “Hey, guess what, we found this,” the reaction
was usually, “Really? Wow, that’s not how it is on the
flown orbiters.” It was more we’re finding things that
they were unaware of, rather than they telling us what we’re
apt to be seeing. There’s many differences between this prototype
pathfinding vehicle as opposed to the flown orbiters.
But to make it perfectly clear, this is a real Space Shuttle. It is
built the same way that the other orbiters were built, has all of
the structure, including the thrust structure. From my perspective,
being an aircraft structures person, that vehicle not being outfitted,
it’s [so] unique [that] to me to go in there and see how it
was assembled. I can see how things were put together and see the
structure itself, which is incredibly impressive from my point of
Would you talk with us about working with NASA and USA? You mentioned
that you were finding things that they were surprised by. How did
that relationship work?
Well, a few people from NASA came up during the course of our refurbishment.
We had good rapport with them, they were very interested in what we
were doing. Most of my interaction with NASA, USA is more recent,
when they were here to do the preps [preparations] for Enterprise’s
ferry flight to the Intrepid [Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York
City]. For the most part we were the support team and they were doing
the primary work, so that was a reversal, but we were able to offer
up some information. “Did you think of this? This might be a
problem for you because we encountered it as a problem,” that
kind of thing. There was some good interaction, very professional
people. I really like the camaraderie they had and the let’s
focus and get to it kind of attitude.
We were the same way on our restoration team. I remember that very
fondly. The core group we had—which was just four of us initially—we
immediately developed this camaraderie and this feeling of we all
realize the significance of what we’re doing, and we’re
happy to come into work every day and turn to on it. As that project
went on, we did have to add a few more individuals in order to keep
our timetable, mostly when it came to the paint prepping, which was
Why don’t we talk about prepping the vehicle for paint and some
of the challenges that you may have encountered.
Dave [David] Wilson is our paint specialist, and he really has all
the good information about the process that we used. I was more involved
with the prep work, which we found to be surprisingly difficult. As
it turned out, Enterprise had an original primer and paint coat on
it when it came out of the factory at Palmdale [California]. Then
subsequently, as it was moved between particular locations and put
on temporary display, it got repainted several times. The very last
coat we surmise was just a simple latex house paint, which was very
thick and did not adhere well to the underlying paint surfaces.
I think they just needed to make it look pretty for temporary display,
but when it came down to it, we had to get rid of all of that material.
We’re using DA, which are dual-action sanders. These are air-driven
tools, and they have dust collectors attached to them so that we could
do this in a fairly safe environment. As we were working we’re
still in bunny suits and wearing respirators, but bear in mind that
this whole time we’re still [in view of the] public. The public
is standing off and seeing what we’re doing, so we couldn’t
have materials flying about and getting into the air handling system.
We did have to contain that very carefully.
It was a tedious process. We started out with a more mild grit paper.
It didn’t seem to do anything, the vehicle just seemed to laugh
at it. I kept calling back to the Garber facility and talking to our
paint expert, “Dave, send us more coarse paper.” Eventually
we wound up with 80 grit sanding paper, which is incredibly aggressive
paper. He kept warning, “Well, we don’t want to go dig
into the substrate.” I said, “Believe me, we’re
not going to get there.”
It took a big effort to get through those layers of paint and finally
get down to the substrate, and then go to progressively milder grits
of sanding papers until we got a smooth finish—[this was] on
the [vehicle] sidewalls, by the way—then prepped the metal and
eventually painted. We used a different technique for the payload
bay doors, because rather than a thick aluminum skin, those doors
have a very thin facesheet and then a core and another facesheet on
the other side. They’re a composite. In fact NASA was rather
adamant at the time—they considered our payload bay doors on
Enterprise to be flight spare, so they didn’t want them damaged
in a way that they couldn’t make them flight-ready if need be.
We tried several techniques that they had recommended, one of which
was plastic scrapers, which did nothing. They had a few recommendations,
and we tried everything they asked and really got no results so we
came up with our own technique—to apply heat. We were able to
use heat guns—not dissimilar to what you would blow-dry your
hair with, but a more powerful version of that—and two-inch-wide
metal scrapers. As we would heat the paint just in front of the scraper
and push the scraper forward into the heated paint, it would bring
it right off.
It actually worked very well, but as you can imagine, doing the payload
bay doors with two-inch-wide scrapers meant that we needed a few more
people and a lot of time. That process took weeks and weeks and weeks.
We try to do all of our processes with a minimum amount of intrusion,
least aggressive as possible and still get the results we need. That’s
what we had to come up with.
And the painting went well, after all of that effort?
It did. We were all very unsure about that. Normally these types of
paints, which were donated to us from PPG Aerospace-DeSoto, are sprayed
on. We did not have that option because we’re already in a display
facility, we’re not in a restoration hangar. We knew we’d
have to do the work at night anyway, but we decided that the best
way to contain the fumes and eliminate overspray would be to roll
the paint like you would roll the paint on your wall in your home.
Fortunately there was a material that was referred to as a roller
additive that was added into the paint mix and allowed that paint
to flow better using just rollers. The end result of that was, to
our minds, fairly impressive. From certain angles with certain lighting
conditions you can see roller marks, but if you step back, most times
you cannot realize that that paint was rolled on. It does look sprayed.
It’s a polyurethane paint I believe, and we used an epoxy primer.
It’s very durable, [and the] proper paint for the job. But also
bear in mind that everywhere we paint on Enterprise, that is thermal
blanket on the flown orbiters. So again, NASA said, “Well, we
don’t have painted orbiters, so we can’t help you there.”
A lot of it we just basically had to pull our resources together and
come up with solutions for these issues we were facing. It was a fun
time, because that’s exactly what we did. We worked as a team
and bounced ideas off of one another, came to a consensus, and kept
Tell us about working in front of the public. Normally when you work
on a plane are you working in front of visitors or are you doing that
in the back room?
No, unfortunately most of the restoration work does take place in
an area that is inaccessible to the public. That will change soon
when we reestablish our restoration shop here at the Udvar-Hazy facility,
because there is now an overlook where the public can look down upon
the restoration work taking place. It was different, we were all very
aware that we were on public display. Myself, having come from an
environment where I worked in a clean room and no one but people working
on spacecraft were allowed into the clean room—it was like a
fishbowl. There was always people standing around looking in, gawking.
That type of thing didn’t bother me whatsoever. I can’t
really speak for my coworkers, but I think we liked the public engagement
as a whole. There was questions. A lot of times we had to stay focused
on what we were trying to do and we couldn’t spend too much
time answering questions, but it was from moms bringing their little
kids in during the week [or] school groups. And of course die-hard
aerospace fans, [who tend to] know everything about the vehicle and
ask a lot of technical questions. It was all very good to see.
Our primary concern was keeping them at bay, keeping them away enough
so that they weren’t in any sort of danger from an OSHA [Occupational
Safety and Health Administration] standard [viewpoint] as to the type
of work we were doing, and I think we were effective at that. It was
an enjoyable time.
You had a pretty strict deadline, I understand. How did you deal with
that, since you were trying to determine some solutions to challenges
you had come across and NASA didn’t have the answers?
When you plan a project, you usually have a better sense of the steps
that are going to be necessary. Enterprise was a little awkward in
that regard because we didn’t have a good handle on what was
going to be necessary to make it “ready for display.”
Three simple words, but what does that mean? We did come up with a
plan that outlined what we thought, the processes we would have to
go through. Once we got into it, that plan had to be modified quite
The two things we did in order to maintain schedule was add more people
to our core team during certain phases, mostly the paint prep phase,
and we also deferred some of the actions. In fact we did go on display
prior to me completing the work on the top of the vertical tail where
the bird damage had occurred. I was still working nights, coming in
to continue that effort to finally get that wrapped up. That did extend
a little beyond our deadline.
But you were able to open to the public, and a good reaction?
Yes, and we often will do night work. As I mentioned before, the painting
all had to take place at night. There were very long nights, [until]
2:00 [or] 3:00 in the morning, we’re up there painting the vehicle.
That’s so that the paint would flash off enough so that the
fumes would be contained prior to museum opening the next day. We
really really wanted to be able to do the bulk of the work during
public hours and let them see the process going on. So I think that
was a good call.
That would have been interesting to come in and see people on the
At that time we had scaffolding. We had contracted to have a scaffolding
company come in and erect scaffolding up both sides of the vehicle
and bridges across the top, so we had full access all around the vehicle.
It gave it an interesting look because you can barely see it behind
all that scaffolding, but there was a vehicle being worked on.
I think once all that was removed and the paint was dried and when
we officially opened to the public, people were really pleased to
see it. For most people they had never had the opportunity to see
an orbiter at all, because the orbiters that were still being flown
by NASA were never in public view. Everyone had seen them through
pictures, but to actually walk up close to the vehicle and get a sense
of the size of it—which is about the size of a DC-9 jetliner,
[but] much heavier.
You had mentioned earlier you offered some advice to NASA as they
were preparing to ferry Enterprise up to New York. What advice have
I needed to develop some special tooling in order to remove our OMS
pods. I had taken a basic tool, which you could buy at any hardware
store and had it machined to certain dimensions so it would fit into
a fitting inside the vehicle. I needed to actually physically hold
a nut while the bolt was being turned from the outside. I did mention
that to the USA group. We looked over what they had, and as it turns
out the hardware they use to attach their pods was different.
Standard tools would work for them, would fit into that little cup
of a fitting inside the vehicle, which just didn’t work for
me. You would think common tools would be okay and you’d be
fine with that, but in those cases that’s what we do, we have
to design our own tooling. As I mentioned, we designed our own rigging
setup to do the job.
The other issue I recall USA having recently was the fact that there
was a crack in one of the false engine nozzles installed on Enterprise,
and they didn’t understand the construction of it. Helped them
through that process, telling them what we found. [We] talked about
the repair process, and came to a consensus about how to go about
that repair. They deferred a little of that to us, just because we
do more of that sort of thing than they do, and we did provide the
paints for the touch-ups for that nozzle because we’d already
premixed those [for] doing the touch-ups we had done back in 2004.
Are you helping in any way now with the Enterprise, now that you’re
getting close to ferry ops [operations]?
All of the preparations have been completed. I was here on site during
that timeframe, which was just last month. Mostly in a very supportive
role, logistically driving forklifts and moving crates, so I was not
at the forefront by any means. Acting as escorts for them and answering
any questions they may have had. And keeping the public at bay, although
we would allow as much public access as practical given whatever operation
they would have to be doing that particular day. We were always moving
barriers around to allow the public to get as close as practical.
Also we, as the museum staff, were engaging the public so that NASA
and their contractors weren’t having to answer a bunch of questions.
There seemed to be a lot of interest being built up. My feeling is
when this transfer takes place that it’s going to be a really
big deal, maybe the biggest deal that’s happened here since
we opened back in 2003.
How do you feel about Enterprise leaving now that you’ve done
so much work on it?
That’s the big question, that’s the question I’ve
been asked more than anything. I feel good about it. Yes, it was a
big effort, and I put a lot of time and blood, sweat and tears into
it. But I think as a museum, as a repository for everything that NASA
has flown and human spaceflight endeavors and wanting to preserve
those for posterity, the Smithsonian is the proper place for that,
and [OV-103] Discovery is certainly the flagship of the flown orbiter
fleet. I think we’re getting the right vehicle to replace Enterprise.
Enterprise has a unique story in itself, especially with the Approach
and Landing Tests. Back then you couldn’t do it all on the computer
and just know it was going to work the first time. You actually had
to go out and fly the vehicle and say, “Well, it’s a 150,000-pound
glider. Is it really going to work, are we going to be able to do
this?” Enterprise validated that process. I’m proud to
have worked on it, [to have been given] the opportunity to work on
it. I was very excited to get the assignment, and I’m excited
that it’s going to be going up to New York and be seen by millions
more people. Though they won’t know it, they’ll be looking
at my work. I’m quite pleased about it.
Do you plan to travel up to New York at some point in the future to
see her in her final resting place?
I think that’s a good idea. I have no immediate plans for that,
but I think I’ll have to make a go of that. Of course it may
be some period of months or years before they actually have it on
My understanding is they will keep the Approach and Landing Test configuration,
which is the tail cone and the ALTA pods, the Approach and Landing
Test [Article] pods. I had to once again remove our mockup OMS pods
just last fall, so that NASA could install the Approach and Landing
Test ferry pods. They dug those out of someplace in [NASA] Dryden
[Flight Research Center, Edwards, California], which no one had seen
I think the Intrepid may have a little work to do because the paint
on those, especially on the tail cone, is a little tattered and doesn’t
match up with the paint effort that we put forth on Enterprise proper.
If we’d had those pieces I think it would have been a nice display
for us, but at the time no one really put forth any effort to find
them. They literally didn’t know where they were for the longest
Do you anticipate that you’ll be doing any work on Discovery
when she comes in? We know you’re not going to restore her.
No, I think Discovery will be ready to display. It’s just a
matter of pulling it in, situating it. The one thing we as the museum
need to do is get it up on its display stands, and we do that to keep
the rubber of the tires off [the] concrete. That is for long-term
preservation of the tires themselves, the rubber. Not having the weight
of the vehicle loaded onto the tires, we can decrease the pressure
of those tires and make them last that much longer. Other than that,
the exhibits design department will have a lot of work to do in creating
new signage and so forth, but as far as vehicle prep it should be
pretty well ready to display.
Rebecca, do you have any questions for Tony?
I just have a couple. You were talking about getting all of the old
paint off before you put the new paint on. Did you have to treat that
surface in any way?
Yes, we used an Alodine [chromate conversion coating] process to treat
it. On the payload bay doors it was a wash which required no rinsing,
and on the side panels in some areas we were down to the bare metal
substrate. In other areas we got it to the basic first coat of primer
and it was smooth, so we didn’t feel like we had to strip right
down to bare metal. We just needed a good smooth surface. The bare
areas of the metal were prepped with an Alodine process before we
reprimed everything. Of course everything got the epoxy primer coat
prior to the topcoats.
We understand the decision was made to restore it back to how you
received it and not its original paint, is that correct?
Yes, Ed was our lead on this. We were all pretty equal as restorers,
but you have to tag somebody as the lead, so Ed got that. He dealt
with those kinds of issues. I can’t really say with any authority
how that decision process came about.
I can see there’d be some discussion.
Oh yes, absolutely. Mostly through the curator. Ed represented us
on that discussion, and there may have been others involved as well.
When Enterprise leaves, will she have a tool bag of specially designed
tools to take with her?
Yes. We’ll offer Intrepid our knowledge, our documentation—I
have outlined all of those processes step by step—the special
tools that I had used. Although our mockup pods won’t have to
go. We have no idea what to do with those, they have no use for us
anymore. We’re donating some of the leftover paints we had and
the special mixes. When we mix paint to match our simulated tile,
we’re mixing it to match the faded paint. It’s unique
to that, so it’s good that we can provide them that if they
need to do touch-ups.
Is there anything you want to look at in your report? I think we’ve
answered all the questions that I had come up with.
No, I think that covers most of my tasking.
Well, thank you very much for your time this morning.