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NASA STS Recordation Oral History Project
Edited Oral History Transcript

William J. Roberts
Interviewed by Jennifer Ross-Nazzal
Cocoa Beach, Florida – 15 April 2012

Ross-Nazzal: Today is April 15, 2012. This interview with Bill Roberts is being conducted for the NASA STS Recordation Oral History Project in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The interviewer is Jennifer Ross-Nazzal, assisted by Rebecca Wright.

Thanks again for taking time out of your schedule to meet with us today.

Roberts: You’re welcome.

Ross-Nazzal: We certainly appreciate it. The last time we spoke was about a year and a half ago?

Roberts: Yes, I think so. I think it was August of 2010, if I remember right.

Ross-Nazzal: I believe so, yes, because the [Space Shuttle] program was still flying, and you were talking to us about two documents that you had been working on with your team of former subsystem managers.

Roberts: Yes, one being the Orbiter Fleet Safing Document, which was written to establish the criteria on how to safe a vehicle. It was the criteria that established what were the hazardous commodities in the vehicle and then what should be the mitigation steps to either eliminate or minimize those hazards to achieve that goal of getting the vehicle safed for public viewing.

The Orbiter Fleet Safing Document, which we refer to as the OFSD, was completed, and then the group, the former subsystem managers and myself, started writing the End State Subsystem Safing Requirements Document, the ESSRD. That took the criteria documented in the OSFD and turned those into requirements, by subsystem, on addressing those hazardous commodities that were identified in the OSFD. Those requirements noted in the ESSRD established what had to be done to eliminate those hazards, or minimize those hazards.

Another thing in the ESSRD, we put in the ferry flight requirements for a safed vehicle. Normally when we were flying in the operational mode, all of our ferry flight requirements were documented in our ferry flight drawings and tech [technical] orders and such. It was agreed before we got into the transition and retirement timeframe that we were not going to release any new drawings during this period of time, for a variety of reasons. Part of transitioning out of the program was to eliminate a lot of the processes that were in place during operations, and one of those processes was engineering release and configuration management.

Since we were not going to have the ability to update and modify the ferry flight drawings, because the release system wasn’t going to be in place, we took all those ferry flight requirements previously documented in the ferry flight drawings and documented them into the ESSRD that were applicable to a safed vehicle. There’s a lot of ferry flight requirements in the drawings that are only applicable when you have a fully operational vehicle. The difference was a fully operational vehicle has hypers [hyperolic fuels], pyros [pyrotechnics], and a safed vehicle does not. That’s how we filtered out the requirements associated with hypers, pyros, fluids. We left them out of the ESSRD and brought all the other requirements into the ESSRD that were applicable out of the ferry flight drawings.

That all got documented and reviewed. We had multiple reviews, not only through our group, but also the Space Shuttle program folks that were in the operational area of the program. After that series of reviews, the following October after I met with you in August, we brought them to the PRCB [Program Requirements Control Board] and had those two documents, the Fleet Safing Document and the ESSRD, baselined. They became NSTS [National Space Transportation System] documents, so they are official NASA documents now.

After they got baselined, the ESSRD requirements were then taken by the KSC [Kennedy Space Center, Florida] ground ops [operations] folks and Work Authorization Documentation was generated to safe the vehicles. Those WADs (Work Authorization Documents) were put through the system, reviewed, and approved. By the time [Orbiter Vehicle (OV)]-103 [Discovery] flew the last flight in February last year, all of the safing documentation was already released and ready to go. When 103 landed from that flight, they had a period of time—I believe it was 30 days or 45 days—post-wheel stop to do their normal down-mission processing, and then from that point on they got into the ESSRD safing requirements, and those WADs directed that work.

The ESSRD is a document that is not vehicle-specific, but the WADs associated that were written for 103 were vehicle-specific. Each vehicle, 103, [OV]-104 [Atlantis], and [OV]-105 [Endeavour], all had vehicle-specific Work Authorized Documentation generated from the ESSRD requirements.

Ross-Nazzal: Why is that?

Roberts: In writing that ESSRD document, it would have been much more difficult writing a vehicle-specific document that is a baseline NASA document, rather than having the ground ops guys write their WADs vehicle-specific. There’s slight differences because certain vehicles have certain design changes. Some requirements that were in the ESSRD may be applicable to 103, but may not be applicable to 104, so we allowed them that latitude to change their work documents and make note that this requirement doesn’t apply to 104 but it did apply to 103. There were slight changes in their documentation.

As you know, 103 is fully safed and ready to go. 104 and 105 are going through their safing right now. 105 should finish up with all of its safing in July, and 104 should finish up with all of that vehicle’s safing, I believe, in August. Then that’s it with all those requirements. Never to be used again, because there won’t be another one of these vehicles to be safed.

Ross-Nazzal: What was your role as they were processing Discovery and then started working on Endeavour and Atlantis?

Roberts: Well, as the work got started on Discovery, the ground ops folks had suggestions at times to change the requirement, do something a little different. Maybe instead of removing an LRU, a Line Replacement Unit, they may want to disassemble it partially and remove only the parts that were affected by the hazardous commodity. We had weekly meetings with ground ops, and whenever there was an issue associated with changing the ESSRD we had to discuss it and try to value their input. The problem with changing the ESSRD—every time there is a change to it, we have to go back to PRCB, which is a large process, and get those changes baselined into the document. So we tried to minimize the amount of changes to the ESSRD as much as possible, and we tried to keep any deviations or any modifications to safing requirements limited to the WADs that were being generated down here. We gave the ground ops folks options of either they could take a waiver against that requirement or an exception, rather than change the parent document—the requirements document.

We had a lot of discussions with them early on during the 103 safing period and it resulted in multiple changes. Since the baseline version was released of the ESSRD, I think we have two revs [revisions] out of that document, and each rev had 10 or 15 requirement changes.

Ross-Nazzal: There had also been a decision to have the SLS [Space Launch System] take some of the equipment out of the orbiters. Did that have an impact on what you guys were doing?

Roberts: My team, my group that I was working with, obviously we were heavily involved and were the lead in establishing the safing requirements. We were also involved in the design issues of the vehicle associated with weight and CG [center of gravity], structural altercations, that kind of stuff. SLS requested to remove significant hardware out of the aft fuselage and the mid- [fuselage].

We were asked by our customers, USA [United Space Alliance] and NASA, that anytime there’s any significant configuration change to the vehicle, such as the SLS removal requests, to evaluate the issues associated with removing those, see if it would impact ferry flight, weight, and CG. Most of the stuff wouldn’t impact any kind of outer mold line, but most definitely if it was significant enough, we’d have to look at load path capability impacts associated with a ferry flight. Our loads in an ascent or a descent in an operational mode are much greater than in a ferry flight, but we had to evaluate what a ferry flight load impact would be, meaning if they removed a structural beam to gain access to a main propulsion system valve, did they have to put it back in or could they leave it out, those kind of things.

Ross-Nazzal: I understand, too, that some of the museums wanted items from inside the orbiter, like the galley or the potty [Waste Collection System]. Did that also impact the team?

Roberts: We were all involved in this, our Boeing [Company] group along with our USA customers and NASA customers. Like I said, we had weekly meetings. We were in discussions with some of the display sites; we had a display site acquisition list. There was a list of hardware that was evaluated. We all knew that we had to take out the potty, because it had to be cleaned and serviced, then did it have to go back in the vehicle? Not really. There was no hard requirement to put it back in because it wasn’t going to be used, but if the display site wanted it back in, then we all had to agree on it and track that configuration. The weight would be an impact to ferry flight, so all of that had to be recalculated back in.

103 has an airlock and a galley and lockers and lots of flight crew equipment hardware in the crew module, as a result of requests by the Smithsonian folks. 105 and 104 will not, because their final display configuration won’t have visitors in the crew module, so there’s no need to have that hardware back in there. There’s three distinct display request lists of hardware that we’re working, and the main reason why we are involved in that is because our Boeing mass properties folks are the engineering group that’s responsible for the weight and CG calculations for ferry flight.

Everything that comes off the vehicle for safing was noted. We knew what the weight was, we knew the X, Y, Z location on the vehicle, so that all fell into the final calculations. Things that got put back on the vehicle were also put into those final calculations.

Ross-Nazzal: How many people are working on your team, and how many people at Boeing are working this?

Roberts: Between Huntington Beach [California], Houston, and Florida we have about 18 folks. Of the 18 folks, there’s about 8 that are full-time on T&R [transition and retirement], and the other 10 are part-time, meaning they’re working other projects like CCDev [commercial crew development]. Our weight and CG analyst, Bob [Robert J.] Hundl, is working CCDev out of Houston. He works all of our calculations on these ferry flights.

There’s other things that get involved. With 103 going to the Smithsonian [National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia] this week, it’s pretty much done, packaged up, and the only thing that’s remaining is getting it up there. We have a ferry flight review tomorrow at 11 a.m. that is the final stamp on all of the elements—the NASA orbiter, the USA ground ops, the Boeing Company—and we all have to sign on the dotted line that that vehicle’s ready to be ferried. That will be the final official documentation on 103. Except I think there’s a DD-1149 that has to be signed when we hand it over up there in Washington.

105 is going to the California Science Center [CSC, Los Angeles], and we as an integrated group, NASA, USA, and Boeing, are involved in several tasks that are authorized by NASA associated with safing and ferry flight preplanning, display configuration. A lot of the same things we did on 103. That’s been going on in parallel while we finish 103 and will continue on through August timeframe.

At the same time, Boeing has a separate MOA [memorandum of agreement] that the Boeing Company is working directly with the California Science Center, supporting them in certain display configurations. Our loads analysts have two separate display configurations planned for OV-105. The California Science Center is building a horizontal display facility, which is a “temporary” facility that will be used for two to three years while they build a new extension on their building there at Exposition Park, which will be a vertical display facility.

Their plan is to basically build a launch pad environment there and place 105 vertically on an ET [external tank] with SRBs [solid rocket boosters] and a tower next to it and an access arm. That’s the end result, but before we even get there, when 105 gets ferried out to LAX [Los Angeles International Airport], it’s going to be removed from the SCA [Shuttle Carrier Aircraft]. It’s not going to be put on its landing gear. It’s going to be put on the Rockwell [International] or Boeing-built overland transporter that we had back in the ‘70s that we used when we delivered the vehicles from Palmdale [California] up to Edwards Air Force Base [California].

That transporter’s been parked out in the desert for 45 years, next to the mate-demate facility there at Dryden [Flight Research Center, Edwards, California]. The California Science Center got their hands on that, and they disassembled it and brought it to one of their contractors in Santa Fe Springs [California]. The company’s named Sarens Riggings. They’re a major construction company that moves things and an international business company. Sarens got this transporter, and they delivered it to their yard in Santa Fe Springs. The California Science Center, along with Sarens, requested us to get involved to do an evaluation of that overland transporter, which was a Rockwell-built GSE [ground-support equipment] article.

The evaluation was to inspect welds, inspect the general overall condition, inspect the bolts, all this kind of thing. They plan to use the overland transporter in a different way than it was originally used back in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. The overland transporter has, just like the SCA, two ball attaches for the aft attach and then the forward yolk assembly, but instead of using the wheels that were built for the overland transporter, because of the route from LAX to Exposition Park where the California Science Center is, they will have to straddle concrete center medians in the route.

You couldn’t do that with the original wheels, so they have these large devices called SPMTs, which are self-propelled motorized transports. They are a large [vehicles] with 24 wheels, 12 on one side and 12 on the other per vehicle. So you have four times 24, that’s close to a hundred wheels. Each SPMT has a diesel engine on it. They wire them all together to a central control module. Then there’s a person that has a wireless remote control, and he steers this thing and walks along with it. So you’ve got these four SPMTs with the overland transporter bolted to it and then the orbiter on top of that.

They’re going to have two [SPMT] configurations [for the transport from LAX to CSC]. They’re going to have a narrow configuration that gets them out of LAX, through certain gates and then crossing a narrow bridge. They’re going to be on Manchester crossing the [Interstate] 405 freeway right by LAX. Once they get past that, then they’re going to stop the vehicle, jack it up, and move these SPMTs outboard so that now you can drive right over the center median of Manchester and make a left and go up Crenshaw and then make a right on Martin Luther [King Jr. Blvd.] and go down to [the museum]. That’s the reason they want to do that. That route—I want to call it a tow route, but it’s not a tow route; it’s a drive route—is 13 miles. So it’s going to be a long day that day. The maximum velocity they’re going to be going is one mile an hour. More often than not, they’re going to be a lot less than that, and they’re going to have to zigzag around trees and those kind of things.

Ross-Nazzal: Are you going to be in charge of the remote control, or are you leaving that to someone else?

Roberts: Oh, no. [Driving that transporter with the SPMT’s is work for a trained specialist from Sarens Rigging.] I have been on the route with them and looked at what they have to do, and there’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of light poles and traffic lights. The way their traffic engineers have described it, they’re going to have an army of people out in front of the vehicle that are going to be dropping these light poles and traffic lights down, because they’re mechanically attached. Then as the orbiter goes by, they’re going to have another army behind them bringing them back up. They’re going to have to cut down some trees along the route. They’ve identified every tree that has to be trimmed or cut down.

Ross-Nazzal: Yes, and manage the crowds, because I’m guessing tons of people are going to come out.

Roberts: Yes, it’s going to be crazy. L.A. [Los Angeles] had two things recently on the news that impacted traffic and large crowds. One was Mulholland Bridge over the 405 up by UCLA [University of California Los Angeles]. They were doing a partial demolition of it, and they had to close the 405 freeway for a weekend.

Ross-Nazzal: Yes, I remember hearing about that.

Roberts: The news was all, “Don’t go near there.” Then just a few weeks ago they had this big rock that they were moving from Riverside [California] to the La Brea Tar Pits area. They had multiple nights where they would go three or four miles and stop. They wouldn’t do any moving during the day. It was all in the dark of the night, whereas this move they’re going to start at two o’clock in the morning at LAX. They said it’s going to be two to three hours to get off the property of LAX and then from there it’ll be another 13, 14 hours.

Ross-Nazzal: They’re doing this on the weekends I’m guessing, not on a Monday morning?

Roberts: Yes, that’s the plan. The vehicle is supposed to get out there in late September. The move date hasn’t been released yet, but it’ll be probably 7 to 10 days after the vehicle arrives at LAX.

Ross-Nazzal: And you’ll be helping them?

Roberts: Yes, that’s one of the authorized [Boeing] tasks that [we will be] working directly with California Science Center, to make sure on the move day that our GSE, which is sandwiched in between an orbiter and those SPMTs, is not only configured right, but will operate right. So we’re going to have our engineers out there that day and work alongside with them.

In preparation for their horizontal display facility, we’re working with their civil engineers and their architects and helping them understand, first of all, what the weight of the orbiter and the transporter together will be. When they get it in the horizontal facility, they’re going to drive it into this large Quonset hut facility that kind of looks like that facility out at the KSC SLF [Shuttle Landing Facility], but not as big. They’re going to drive it in and then jack it up and remove those SPMTs, and then they’re going to jack it down and put it on permanent jack stands on the concrete floor. They’re going to leave the overland transporter on the orbiter. They’re not going to lower the landing gear or anything, they’re just going to leave it like that for two, two and a half years, until that other facility is designed and built.

They understand that there’s never been an orbiter left on the attach points for more than 60 days, so we’ve been involved in doing an engineering assessment. Given the weight of the orbiter, given the materials of the transporter, the ball joints, is it okay to leave it on there for two, two and a half years? Also we’ve been involved with where would you want to jack onto the transporter for that length of time, and how much attenuation would you get if there’s an earthquake event coming through the concrete floor, through the jack stands into the transporter on the orbiter.

We are working with them to make sure that their design-to-seismic requirements for a structure in the L.A. area, that the accelerations going through the transporter into the orbiter and the aft fuselage and the forward yoke assembly will be fine and it won’t break. Our guys have already taken a look at it, and it’s looking favorable. We looked at a number that we’re sure they don’t design to, because when you consider the accelerations and the vibrations loads and aero loads on those three attach points during a launch environment, that’s a hell of a lot more than you will get out of an earthquake. That’s our initial assessment.

Ross-Nazzal: Are you helping with the vertical configuration as well?

Roberts: We are. Right now it’s not into the detail level; we’re doing conceptual ideas. The California Science Center, obviously they have to design that display configuration to meet the seismic requirements in L.A. That’s much more challenging. They’ve come up with some ideas for us to look at, and these ideas require a lot of steel beams and heavy metal. It looks feasible, but we are just now getting involved in that discussion. That discussion’s going to be a long discussion, because they just want us to understand what they are proposing and make sure that whatever they are proposing is inside the envelope of what the orbiter’s capable of. There’s no weight-saving requirements when it comes to designing this facility like we have when we fly this vehicle, so I’m sure we’ll be able to work it out.

Ross-Nazzal: Last time we talked, you were also working with the Smithsonian on [OV-101] Enterprise. One of the things you had mentioned was there was some concern about corrosion on the vehicle, and you were doing some analysis on that.

Roberts: Yes, we finished all that up, and we put out some specific areas of concern to the ground ops folks and the NASA quality engineers. We sent some Boeing guys from here up there. Our lead structural analyst, Bill Novak, went out to do a detailed inspection and wrote up his requests on how to clean that out.

It actually resulted in three trips: one to do the detailed inspection, another one to go back and do some of the cleanup in the forward fuselage. The lower forward fuselage was the area of the largest amount of corrosion. That’s because when Enterprise was first delivered up there, it was parked outside for close to three years and not covered, so it got snowed on and rained on. When the vehicle’s parked, the nose is down a little bit, so when all that snow melted, or the rain, it all collected in the lower fuselage underneath the crew module.

Enterprise was built differently than Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. The insulation blankets that are in between the crew module and the lower forward fuselage were gold foil blankets. When the gold comes in contact with the aluminum skin, especially with water on it, you get this galvanic reaction, and that’s what really accelerated the corrosion in certain areas. The lower forward fuselage is also a lot of ribs and webs down there, and the water collected there for many years. It puddled, and it corroded in this area.

Bill Novak and our loads and stress engineers did an evaluation; we did some tests, and we blessed Enterprise that it’s fine to ferry. We did put a caveat in there that it will ferry from point A to point B and not go on a tour of the United States. Just go to point A, point B and that’s it.

Ross-Nazzal: A short trip [to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City].

Roberts: A short trip, right. We did all of that 101 work, and there was a lot of other work on 101. There were some configuration issues. When the Smithsonian had it up there, they changed some bolts that weren’t flight bolts. We actually did some tests on 101 during the program, like the wing leading edge impact test. We popped off some of the panels there and shot some foam at it and then put them back on. There were some cracks in one of the panels that got repaired.

We did the vent system around the windows in the crew module. One of the vent systems, I think it was window six, was blocked by some debris, so they had to drill a hole in the window frame so that the vent system would work. They did all this work last January/February, cycled the gear, checked the air pressure, and it’s ready to go.

That’s another interesting operation when 101 gets up to New York. It’s scheduled to ferry from Washington to New York a week from tomorrow on Monday. It arrives at JFK [John F. Kennedy International Airport], and it’ll be parked underneath a [de-icing] hangar [where hundreds of gas powered heaters are mounted on the underside of the hanger roof]. Obviously they’re not going to need it in May. Because it’s very large, it’s designed to have regular airline jets go right through it; they’re going to park the SCA and 101 underneath this de-icing hangar.

They’re going to leave it there for a month because they have to remove the wind suppression system that’s been put into the apron out at [Washington] Dulles [International Airport] to assist in 103’s de-mate from the SCA and then 101’s mate to the SCA. There’s only one set of that wind suppression system, which is a series of poles and cables that surround the whole SCA orbiter area. That all has to be disassembled at Dulles, put in the trucks, motored up to New York, and then put into the concrete up there at JFK airport.

The de-mate of 101 from SCA is scheduled for mid-May. Then I believe we (NASA) [will be putting it on a transporter supplied by Intrepid] and [then] they’re rolling it over to an area adjacent to the Hudson River. Then they’re going to lift it off of the [transporter] and put it onto a barge on the Hudson River, a small barge, then go under some bridges and park it in a marina area. I’ve seen it on the map, but I haven’t really been involved with the New York folks like I’ve been involved with the California folks.

Then they’re going to transfer it from one barge to another barge, which has a huge single crane on it. That barge is going to be the barge that goes up to the Intrepid aircraft carrier, and they’re going to use that single crane to lift 101 up off that barge and put it on the aircraft carrier deck.

Ross-Nazzal: Amazing.

Roberts: And that’s all next month. I was talking to some of the NASA folks out there today, and they feel the same way I do. The folks up in New York really haven’t asked for any help whatsoever, and they’ve never done this kind of operation before. We were surprised they weren’t down here today watching the 103 mate operation since our ground ops folks are not doing that work up in New York. The New York folks are doing that work on their own [except the de-mate from the SCA operations]. So that’s the 103, 101 story, and the 105 story is September/October.

Then 104 will continue to be safed through the summer into August, and then its plan is to roll out and go to the visitors’ center [Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex] October/ November timeframe. We are [anticipating] receiving direction to work with Delaware North [Companies], who runs the visitors’ center here, to help them out with their structural analysis on their proposed display. They want to elevate 104 up and attach to the aft attach points and the forward attach points and then have it in a rolled configuration, a 45-degree roll, with the payload bay doors open. That would look great, but the payload bay doors are designed for zero-G [gravity], so that’s going to be a little bit challenging.

Ross-Nazzal: Are they going to have those supports? Is that something they’re going to get from NASA?

Roberts: I haven’t seen any detailed drawings [because we haven’t received the direction to give them support]. The drawing I’ve seen, it looks like columns coming out of the concrete floor that go right into the aft attach and up to the yoke, so you’ve got three columns coming up and the orbiter sitting on top. We’ll see. Obviously they don’t have earthquakes here, but that display configuration would be impossible in southern California.

Ross-Nazzal: How are they displaying Enterprise?

Roberts: Just parking it on its landing gear on the carrier deck, and then they’re going to inflate a structure around it, one of those high-pressurized structures. I’ve seen some graphics on it.

Ross-Nazzal: And Discovery is just going to look just like Enterprise, they’re just wheeling her into the hangar?

Roberts: Yes. That’s the easiest one out of all of them, really.

Ross-Nazzal: Rebecca, do you have any questions for Bill?

WRIGHT: You were talking about California, can you give more details on the trees? Apparently that’s a quite a bit of construction, protecting the trees, and how they determined the trees they’re going to [remove].

Roberts: They have a subcontractor out there that they hired to identify all the trees on the route and then categorize those trees in certain categories that would either allow them to cut them down, or trim them, or not to be touched at all and would require the vehicle to have to be maneuvered around that tree. That’s a big task, and they’re still hoping that the state of California won’t require an environmental impact report on these trees. If they require that, I don’t know if they’re going to meet September/October [deadlines].

WRIGHT: This morning out at the mate-de-mate, what was your role?

Roberts: I was there representing the Boeing Company with my Ground Support Equipment Engineer, Norm Ring. We were there just in case some of our GSE didn’t work and if there were some mechanical issues.

The rest of our team, those 18 folks, most of them are here in the Florida region, and they were all on call. If there were certain subsystem areas that were having problems during this mate, then we were to call them in and start spinning up the engineering support for them. Even when we’re flying the vehicles we had a lot of folks on call. But there were no issues, really. As you know, what was completed today was scheduled for yesterday. The winds didn’t allow it to happen yesterday, but they’re back on schedule.

Ross-Nazzal: Yes, good. And weather looks good to deliver Discovery to go out on Tuesday?

Roberts: Yes, though you can never definitely tell the future. There will be some weather in the area, but not solid weather, so there’s ways to get around it.

Ross-Nazzal: Of course NASA never wanted to fly the orbiter through weather, but this time you’re delivering to a museum. Is that much of an issue?

Roberts: We’re ferrying with the same requirements. Do not fly through rain or clouds. The forecast is for scattered clouds and no rain or lightning. There is rain in the area, but it’s miles away, at least being forecasted. The concern is winds again, because when you’re on the dual crane de-mating operation, your wind requirements are much lower than when you’re on this mate/de-mate device. The general rule of thumb out here is 20 knots. The general rule of thumb at a remote site like Dulles using the dual cranes is 10 knots. The forecast is for higher than 10 knots for the week up there, so we’ll see. It’s going to be loud, too, because the work area is right in between two runways. You saw how quiet it was out there today, but it’s not going to be quiet in Washington.

Ross-Nazzal: Yes, it’s a busy airport. Are you staying for all the celebrations? We understand there’s a big event happening.

Roberts: Yes, I’ll stay there. Right now I’m scheduled to leave next weekend, so if things get delayed I’ll see if I have to delay my return to California or not.

Ross-Nazzal: Then you’re headed up to New York in May?

Roberts: Yes. Then in September everybody comes to [California], so this might be one of my last trips. Every time I came here in the last two or three years, I make sure to look around and enjoy it, because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be coming down here.

Ross-Nazzal: It sounds like you might have a connection with the Visitor Complex here now.

Roberts: Well yes, but it’s not a career. So who knows, my career might end up in the mountains of Idaho.

Ross-Nazzal: Nice place to retire. Well, thanks for catching us up. This is all interesting, and I’m glad we’re able to record it.

Roberts: You’re welcome. It will be fun to watch over the next week and through this fall. It’s neat for me because I’ve been working on this project for four or five years. It’s kind of like when you’re on a football team, all that practice and all that preparation and the game finally is there, and the game goes by like that [snaps fingers] after weeks of practice.

Ross-Nazzal: And T&R is officially over in November?

Roberts: After the handover of 104 to the visitors’ center, yes. I’m sure there’ll be some residual work that we have to do to close out our records and bookkeeping, but not any technical work. It’s going to be interesting to watch this week and then those couple weeks out in California.

Ross-Nazzal: Yes, I’d like to see that.

Roberts: Like I said, we’ve been meeting with those folks regularly now. Stephanie [Stilson] and her crew come out [every few months] and meet with [the CSC folks], LAX officials and the city of Los Angeles, the county of Los Angeles, the mayor’s office. There’s a lot of people getting involved in this. You’ll see tomorrow how many people are going to be out there. I’m sure when 105 arrives in L.A.—I mean, there’s going to be a lot of people in Washington, but I think everybody in Los Angeles and New York are going to be watching this show here when it leaves and the show in Dulles when it arrives, and they’re going to learn from that and say, “We want to do more.” I was surprised the folks at California Science Center weren’t coming out to Washington this week. I actually met with them Monday and I said, “You really should, just to learn. Not necessarily to learn how to do it, but to learn on crowd control and that kind of thing.” But they’re an office that is part of the State of California government, they have limited resources.

Ross-Nazzal: Sure, understandable. Thanks again.

[End of interview]

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