Space Shuttle Enterprise Exhibit Opens at Intrepid Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum unveiled the exhibit for Space Shuttle Enterprise on Thursday in New York City, and fans are flocking to take a look at history. The prototype shuttle is 137 feet long and has a wingspan of 78 feet. It was built in 1976 and was NASA's first, though it never flew a mission.
Visitors can get an up-close look by walking underneath and also on a viewing platform at the nose that is within three feet of the shuttle.
Take a look at the stunning video:
Facts on the Enterprise:
The Enterprise was the first Space Shuttle orbiter, although it never flew in space.
The Enterprise was originally to be named Constitution (in honor of the U.S. Constitution’s Bicentennial). However, viewers of the popular TV Science Fiction show Star Trek started a write-in campaign urging the White House to select the name Enterprise.
Although the airframe and flight control elements are like those of the shuttles flown in space, this vehicle has no propulsion system and only simulated thermal tiles because these features were not needed for atmospheric and ground tests.
Designated, OV-101, the vehicle was rolled out of Rockwell’s Air Force Plant 42, Site 1 Palmdale California assembly facility on Sept. 17, 1976.
On Jan. 31, 1977, it was transported 36 miles over land from Rockwell’s assembly facility to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Facility at Edwards Air Force Base for the approach and landing test program.
In 1977, it entered service for a nine-month-long approach-and-landing test flight (ATL) program.
The Enterprise was mounted on top of a modified 747 airliner for the approach-and-landing tests in 1977. It was released over the vast dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base in California to prove it could glide and land safely.
The nine-month-long ALT program was conducted from February through November, 1977 at the Dryden Flight Research Facility and demonstrated that the orbiter could fly in the atmosphere and land like an airplane, except without power-gliding flight.
The Enterprise made a total of 16 flights during the ALT program. Its last flight was a free flight on October 26, 1977.
Thereafter, it was used for vibration tests and fit checks at NASA centers, and it also appeared in the 1983 Paris Air Show and the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans.
In 1985, NASA transferred the Enterprise to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.
VIDEO: Space Shuttle Enterprise Makes Historic Landing at New York’s JFK Airport
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