Space Shuttle Enterprise arrives in NYC atop a Boeing 747 (+video)
Earlier today, NASA's Space Shuttle Enterprise touched down in New York City, where it will find a new home in the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
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The original test space shuttle, Enterprise flew into the Big Apple on Friday (April 27) atop a modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The air- and spacecraft duo touched down at New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport at 11:22 a.m. EDT (1522 GMT) following a photogenic flyover of some of the metropolitan area's most famous sights, including the Statue of Liberty and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, which Enterprise will soon call home.
Enterprise, mounted to NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), took off from Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. at 9:39 a.m. EDT (1339 GMT). The nearly two-hour flight had been delayed for several days due to weather concerns.
The ferry flight marked the first time Enterprise had been airborne in more than a quarter-century. The prototype orbiter — which never flew in space but was used for a series of approach and landing tests in the late 1970s — had been a part of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's collection since being flown to Washington in November 1985. [Photos: A Space Shuttle Called 'Enterprise']
On April 19, Enterprise was replaced at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., by Discovery, NASA's most-flown space shuttle. Friday's flight to New York began Enterprise's journey to the Intrepid, a converted World War II aircraft carrier, for its permanent display.
Planes, cranes and barges
Enterprise's final landing was witnessed by an audience of 1,500 invited guests, including New York state and local elected officials. A brief handover ceremony between NASA and Intrepid staff was to be held at the airport. The space agency already turned over Enterprise's title to the museum last December.
Now on the ground in New York, Enterprise and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft will remain mounted together at JFK until NASA can move and set up the two large cranes that joined the two vehicles in Washington. Once separated, Enterprise will be parked in an airport hangar for several weeks.