Thursday, July 19, 2012

Space Shuttle Enterprise Lands at NYC Museum

NASA's Space Shuttle Enterprise, a prototype which never actually flew in space, arrived in New York in early June aboard a barge along the Hudson River. Today it opens for display to the public at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at Pier 86.

The space shuttle was completed in 1976, being NASA's first. The Enterprise never actually flew a mission into outer space, but it performed critical tests around the Earth's atmosphere and is widely credited with paving the way for five future shuttles. It is 137 feet long and 57 feet wide, with a wingspan of 78 feet.

Previously it was at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport.  It will be parked 10 feet off the ground in a protected area of aircraft carrier Intrepid's flight deck. Visitors can walk underneath it or climb to a viewing platform near its nose. Its nose is propped up so that it is level with the deck, and visitors can get an up-close view under and around the original NASA prototype shuttle, similar to how it looked coming in for a touchdown after one of its approach and landing test flights in the late 1970s.

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