Monday, April 22, 2013

Space Shuttle Enterprise

I finally saw the Space Shuttle Enterprise when I visited the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.

Enterprise was the first one to be built. Named after the fictional spaceship in Star Trek, the shuttle was used as a test bed by NASA, hitching the shuttle behind the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and releasing it in the atmosphere to fly, glide and land. The data from the testing was used in the construction of the rest of the shuttle fleet, which included the Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.

The Enterprise was retired in 1985. It was meant to be retrofitted as a replacement to Challenger after the 1986 disaster, but NASA built Endeavor instead. The shuttle became part of the Smithsonian Institution until 2011, when it was transferred to the Intrepid Museum. It was flown to New York on April 2012 and became part of the display.

Displayed inside the Intrepid are items related to the Enterprise and the space shuttle program.