Enterprise Makes Its Final Flight
by Stevens Miller
The glide-test shuttle Enterprise left Loudoun County from Dulles
International Airport at 9:30 this morning for its new home on
the deck of the USS Intrepid in New York. Enterprise was visible as it
departed to the north from eastern Loudoun, with much less fanfare
few days ago. Discovery will replace Enterprise (originally named
Constitution, but renamed to Enterprise by President Gerald Ford
after fans of the original TV series Star Trek mounted a
letter-writing campaign) on permanent display in the Udvar-Hazy Air
and Space Museum.
Unlike Discovery, Enterprise never flew in space. Instead, it was used
in the 1970s for unpowered flight-testing after being taken aloft on
the back of a modifed Boeing 747, then gliding back to earth. All
space shuttles glided to their landings after returning from Earth
orbit, making them the only human space-flight vehicles flown by NASA
to return that way. Enterprise proved the technique would work before
any astronauts entered orbit on the later shuttles, but Enterprise
itself was not designed for flight outside the Earth's atmosphere.
The final leg of Enterprise's journey will be from JFK airport on Long
Island, by barge, to the Intrepid Air & Space Museum on the Hudson
River, on the edge of Manhattan, this summer.
[Thanks for Stevens Miller for providing this information, to Deb Kierce for providing the initial photos and to Stephanie Lee for sending the video link.]
Did you take any pictures of the Enterprise on its way out? Submit them here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.