truckabilly Posted September 29, 2015 Share Posted September 29, 2015 (edited) I would like to introduce this project which I have been working on for the last couple of months. When I first saw pictures of NASA Peterbilts I thought, what a nice model that would be. So, I tried to find some info on these magnificent trucks. I addressed Jeff Lakaszcyck who works at Kennedy Space Center and who took most of the pictures of NASA Peterbilts available on internet. He shared all he knows about the trucks with me and sent me his elsewhere published photos in hi-res and even took some more specially for me. With his kind permission I will use his photos here on the forum. photo by Jeff Lakaszcyck taken from Dutch forum My decision to build a NASA Pete model came at end of their time. The trucks are on their way to retirement. I would like to pay tribute to these trucks that were part of something really big. Though not in close attention of NASA personnel, they played important role in achieving the cosmic goals. Besides the progress of my build I would like to present also a bit of history here and summarize the facts that I have collected about these trucks. The NASA Peterbilts 351 are unique and only 5 were manufactured. Coupled to Paul Recharger trailers produced by Paul Cryogenic Division of Air Reduction Company, their initial role was as nitrogen reclaimers. Held in restricted area they were off pubilc sight. Other than the visit from the American Trucker TV show, and perhaps a few tourists, no one else outside the space center has seen these trucks in person. From the very bottom of my heart I thank Jeff Lakaszcyck who is willing to share the pics with me and keeps me updated with fresh information about NASA Peterbilts. photo by Jeff Lakaszcyck photo by Jeff Lakaszcyck Another source of information for me is a memo web page of E. Ray Smyth, the General Foreman of NASA´s Mobile Gas Department who worked at KSC by the time when the Peterbilts were delivered. In fact, it was him who drove the very first Paul Recharger into the premises of Kennedy Space Center. Peterbilt 351 STL 6x6 coupled to Paul Recharger trailer with 3000 gallon tank working with pressures up to 15000 PSI (103,4 MPa) was something unheard of before. Ray Smyth remembers: „Our 5 new Paul Rechargers started arriving in 1967 and what fine state of the art equipment they were. The Paul Recharger was a very unique machine and had a 500 Horsepower V-12 Detroit diesel engine which at the time had never been put in a truck before. The excessive engine power was not necessary to pull the tractor trailer load, the engine was that powerful to run the 500 KW generator which sit behind the cab and provided the power to run the electric motors turning the 3 pumps and was power for the electric heaters which converted the liquid back to gas. I had the pure pleasure of going to TWA and picking up the very first Paul Recharger that came in. However, I was not allowed to do it alone, Addison Bain had me stop by NASA headquarters to pick him up so he too could join in on the fun. But, I had the most fun because I got to drive the monster first and deliver it to our work area at CCF-34/37. I reckon Addison couldn't stand me having all the fun and he wanted to drive a Paul too. So, he arranged for no one to be notified of the next Paul arrival except himself and then one day here he comes driving into the parking lot at CCF-34/37 with a big grin on his face and I think that was the first time in his life he had ever driven an 18 wheeler type tractor/trailer. I might add the Paul Recharger was not your normal run of the mill 18 wheeler, the Peterbuilt tractor was special built with an extra long chassis to accommodate the generator sitting behind the cab and this excessive length made it bend in the middle when connected to the Paul Recharger Trailer and it was a bear to back up. The Peterbuilt also had front wheel drive which made the turn radius more then excessive. Back in my Texas Oil Well Drilling days, I had pulled a drilling rig down the highways of Texas that was 12 feet wide, 145 feet long, 16 feet high and weighed in excess of 140,000 pounds so driving huge unique tractor trailer rigs was not new to me. I was therefore kind of proud of Addison and also quite surprised when he came swinging through the gate at CCF-34/37 because he drove like a professional. I should know, I had embarrassed myself when I misjudged the turn radius and completely missed the gate when I brought the first Recharger over and had to back up to get through the gate.“ taken from NASA web site taken from NASA web site taken from NASA web site Edited October 1, 2015 by truckabilly Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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