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Space Science

Up Close With the Enterprise Shuttle At the Intrepid Museum 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-the-museum dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As you probably remember, the Space Shuttle Enterprise was flown on the back of a 747 to New York City where it was then delivered to the USS Intrepid. As sad as it was to see a space shuttle retired (and NASA take a major step down in the space flight abilities) this was one of the most amazingly geektastic events in recent memory. Now the shuttle is on top of the aircraft carrier's flight deck, living in its very own pavilion. As of tomorrow it will go on display as part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, but today we got a sneak peek at the shuttle."
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Up Close With the Enterprise Shuttle At the Intrepid Museum

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  • by busyqth (2566075) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:11PM (#40693343)
    I use it every time I travel on business.
    They're the best car rental in my opinion.
  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:17PM (#40693373) Journal

    Um, carrying a shuttle on the back of a 747 is how it's typically transported. About as geektastic as a furniture shipment, by now.

    • by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquiet@hotmail3.14.com minus pi> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @12:08AM (#40694021) Journal

      Um, carrying a shuttle on the back of a 747 is how it's typically transported. About as geektastic as a furniture shipment, by now.

      I suspect that it was very seldom flown to New York City, however. Many millions of people would have had the opportunity to see such a flight for the first time.

      And honestly, your smug dismissal of this event as being "as geektastic as a furniture shipment" marks you as being as wannabe-cool and faux-jaded as the hipster who won't listen to any band he's already heard of, because "they're so last week".

      • by necro81 (917438)

        I suspect that it was very seldom flown to New York City, however. Many millions of people would have had the opportunity to see such a flight for the first time.

        And honestly, your smug dismissal of this event as being "as geektastic as a furniture shipment" marks you as being as wannabe-cool and faux-jaded as the hipster who won't listen to any band he's already heard of, because "they're so last week".

        Sounds like New York City is just the place for him, then!

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:24PM (#40693427) Homepage Journal
    One thing I remember about the Intrepid was the fighter jets on the flight deck with shattered cockpits. Unfortunately, it's not been possible to date to keep vandals off of the ship. So, keep watching how they take care of the Shuttle. If there are problems, we really should start lobbying for a different home.
    • by Deadstick (535032) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:53PM (#40693603)

      the fighter jets on the flight deck with shattered cockpits

      That's the usual fate of aircraft put on permanent static display in an unsecured location. The unbroken canopy parts turn yellow in the sun and then craze, the tires rot, the paint fades, the cavities fill up with bird shit and used condoms, and you have an eyesore within a couple of years.

      • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:38PM (#40693877) Homepage Journal

        That's the usual fate of aircraft put on permanent static display in an unsecured location. The unbroken canopy parts turn yellow in the sun and then craze, the tires rot, the paint fades, the cavities fill up with bird shit and used condoms, and you have an eyesore within a couple of years.

        Yes. While I am a tremendous fan of the Air Force museum in Dayton, and indeed think it's better than the Air and Space Museum in D.C., my annual visit there (for Dayton Hamvention) always includes a look at the various outdoor exhibits. Most obviously rotting from year to year are the two nuclear missle launchers, the truck one and the railroad one. But to their credit, they have much more material under roofs than most museums, and are collecting funds for yet another hangar. And as an active Air Force base they have some serious security.

        Another experience was in, I think, the Connecticut Trolley Museum. There was a really nice car that, I think, didn't need restoration, except that its doors were open to the weather and plants were starting to grow in some of its nooks.

        • They do cycle the aircraft and other outside displays through maintenance cycles, and most of the time there are only around a dozen or so aircraft in the Air Park (the newest of which is the first C-17). Also, many of the Air Park planes will be moved inside to one of the hangers following the reshuffleing once they get the 5th hanger built.

          One other note, you may remember that they hit a bridge with the shuttle's wing when it was on the barge in NYC - that never would have happened at The Air Force museu

          • That's a 7000 foot runway, and kind of narrow. They needed the runway on the base for the Valkyrie.
    • by Thelasko (1196535)

      One thing I remember about the Intrepid was the fighter jets on the flight deck with shattered cockpits. Unfortunately, it's not been possible to date to keep vandals off of the ship. So, keep watching how they take care of the Shuttle. If there are problems, we really should start lobbying for a different home.

      Although I agree it's necessary to keep the shuttle in good condition, I cringe at the thought of a "pavilion" on the deck of that historic old ship. The museum needs to decide whether the Intrepid or Enterprise is the main attraction, and get rid of the one that isn't. Enterprise was never intended to be housed on an aircraft carrier, and the Intrepid was never indented to house a shuttle. Modifying or neglecting either goes against a museum's purpose of preserving objects from the past so they may be e

      • I guess it won't fit in the hangar deck? Or they simply want it to be visible from the street, I bet.

        The Hornet has all sorts of stuff on the hangar deck, including an Apollo capsule and the Mobile Quarantine Facility. That works.

      • They could always put it here [oobject.com].
  • I saw it, touched it, at the worlds fair 1984 in new orleans.
    • by Burdell (228580)

      Heh, I saw it on the back of the 747 as it landed in 1978 at the Marshall Space Flight Center for dynamic testing. We got to walk up to it (and an external tank) at the NASA employee picnic right after that.

  • Seen it at Dulles (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Robo1icious (1772516) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:27PM (#40693441)
    I worked at Dulles airport in the 80's when the Enterprise was just setting out in the woods at the back of the airport property. I remember walking up to it just so I could say I touched it. They had several other old planes setting back there at the time and if I recall correctly at least one of those are now at the Smithsonian. To bad we didn't have camera phones back then eh?
    • Re:Seen it at Dulles (Score:5, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @12:22AM (#40694081)

      I worked at Dulles airport in the 80's when the Enterprise was just setting out in the woods at the back of the airport property.

      Air & Space at Dulles

      The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport is the companion facility to the Museum on the National Mall. The building opened in December, 2003, and provides enough space for the Smithsonian to display the thousands of aviation and space artifacts that cannot be exhibited on the National Mall. The two sites together showcase the largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world.

      The James S. McDonnell Space Hangar opened in November 2004 and displays hundreds of famous spacecraft, rockets, satellites and space-related small artifacts. The centerpiece of the space hangar is the Space Shuttle Discovery. Other space artifacts include the Gemini VII space capsule; the Mobile Quarantine Unit used upon the return of the Apollo 11 crew; and a Redstone rocket.

      Between the Discovery and the overlook is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet ever built.

      Other unique artifacts exhibited in the Boeing Aviation Hangar include:

      the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay.

      the Boeing 367-80 or Dash 80, the prototype 707, America's first jet airliner.

      the Aichi Seiran Japanese WWII bomber, the only remaining Seiran.

      the Boeing 307 Stratoliner Clipper Flying Cloud, the first airliner with a pressurized cabin.

      a Concorde supersonic airliner.

      National Air & Space Museum The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center [si.edu]

      • Re:Seen it at Dulles (Score:5, Informative)

        by kiwimate (458274) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @12:46AM (#40694185) Journal

        The Udvar-Hazy Center has both the shuttle and the Blackbird [si.edu]. As a bonus, you can go up into an observation tower [si.edu] and watch the planes at the nearby airport while listening to ATC chatter.

        • by zyzko (6739)

          I highly recommend the Udvar-Hazy - admission is free, the collection is incredible and they even have comprehensive free tours if you like that.

          Of course they are in Virginia in the middle of nowhere compared to Intrepid which is a short walk away from Broadway. The most interesting part in my opinion on Intrepid is the ship itself, not the planes on the deck.

          • Admission might be free, but parking isn't. So unless you are getting dropped off, I'd still bring some form of monitary payment. Though, if you are a poor collage kid in the area, I believe there is a free shuttle from smithsonian in DC out there.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Enterprise was the name given to the ONLY shuttle who has NEVER flown into space. It is the name of the mock shuttle that was used for a few drop tests and immediately sent to the Smithsonian. It has never "retire" because it was never active. It is part of history, but not "space flight" history.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      My dad has retired, and he's never flown in space. It's not a requirement. You simply have to no longer be doing your job anymore due to old age.
      • by rikkards (98006)

        ^^He's right, my greyhound raced a whole month (9 times mind you) and she has been retired since. I don't think she went to space either.

    • by JWSmythe (446288) <(moc.ehtymswj) (ta) (ehtymswj)> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @12:11AM (#40694035) Homepage Journal

          Well, it was used in the space program. I'm sure most of us know, it was used as a flight model. It was planned for use as an active shuttle, but NASA found it would have been cost prohibitive to fit it with the required gear.

          I believe it was flown 5 times. So it didn't launch the same way the others did, and it didn't achieve orbit (by design), but it was flown. It was used for various purposes from 1976 through 1985.

          What I don't quite get is why it's a big deal that it's available to the public to view now. It was at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles for a while, where you could walk right up to it. Just like everything there, it was interesting to see.

    • by Burdell (228580)

      It got more than drop tests. It went through dynamic testing at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center for something like a year; that was the first time the entire shuttle stack (orbiter, ET, SRBs) was assembled. Without Enterprise and the extensive testing it underwent, the rest of the shuttle program would not have happened.

      Do you think there were only 12 men involved in the Apollo program because they were the only ones to walk on the Moon?

  • Cool pictures but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by FSWKU (551325) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:45PM (#40693569)
    FTFA:

    "Some interesting points to note include the painted-over windows (the gray circles near the nose), the amazing intricacy and build quality of the landing gear mechanism, and the tail piece. The Enterprise was never fitted with engines so it has that specially designed part in the back."

    Umm, hate to be "that guy" but there is so much fail in that one snippet I can't stand it.

    • The "gray circles near the nose" are not windows that were painted over. They're inserts to block the nozzles for the RCS system (and thereby reduce drag for glide tests).
    • The Enterprise may not have had real engines, but it DID have mockups for handling tests at KSC (as seen here. [wikimedia.org]
    • That "specially designed part in the back" is an aerodynamic faring used to reduce drag on the ferry flights and thus reduce fuel consumption in an already heavily burdened 747 carrier aircraft. They ALL have one of those that could have been fitted when called for.

    Normally I wouldn't get this worked up, but from a site supposedly aimed at geeks, I expected more...

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @01:35AM (#40694489) Homepage

      The "gray circles near the nose" are not windows that were painted over. They're inserts to block the nozzles for the RCS system (and thereby reduce drag for glide tests).

      Actually - you're both wrong. They're just indentations in the skin that are painted grey - to simulate RC nozzles since the Enterprise was not equipped with an RCS system.
       

      That "specially designed part in the back" is an aerodynamic faring used to reduce drag on the ferry flights and thus reduce fuel consumption in an already heavily burdened 747 carrier aircraft. They ALL have one of those that could have been fitted when called for.

      Not quite correct. While they were designed to accept the fairing, they didn't all have a fairing. IIRC there were only three built. One, unique, for Enterprise, and two operational fairings. (Trivia - the fairing could be broken down and carried internally onboard the SCA.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ummmm......
      NO
      Carrying a shuttle is well within the capabilities of the 747 SCAs. They are in no way "heavily burdened".
      A typical ferry flight was limited by weather more than anything.

    • I responded to TFA to that effect.

  • Filter error: You can type more than that for your comment.

  • Fond memories (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ComfortablyAmbiguous (1740854) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:17PM (#40693733)
    I remember when I was a kid and they were testing the Enterprise out near Edwards air base. Periodically we would see it fly (glide) over on its way to a test landing during recess ( I was like 6 or 7 years old). My father was a fighter pilot and took me out to an open house at the air base. I was a huge Star Trek fan and seeing a real life Enterprise space shuttle was pretty amazing. I even got to sit in the pilots seat and generally look around. In terms of geektastic childhoods it doesn't get much better than that.
  • You know what's more "geektastic"? The shuttle actually flying to space.
    • This isn't to denigrate the Shuttle, just being realistic. We had to redefine what ordinary people meant by "space" just to get most manned launches into the "space exploration" category. The edge of space is now defined as "unstable low Earth orbit with significant frictional drag from atmosphere". It's a hidden humbling of our ambitions.

      Space is not a suitable environment for people. We do miracles in planetary exploration; making the Mars Rovers work is incomprehensible magic to ordinary people. Yet it d

      • by MrKaos (858439)

        Space is not a suitable environment for people.

        and cabin fever is a bitch.

        We do miracles in planetary exploration; making the Mars Rovers work is incomprehensible magic to ordinary people. Yet it doesn't get as much publicity as sending a few descendants of monkeys to where the air is thin.

        Monkey see, monkey do.

  • I'm not a fan of Texas, but it only seems fair that they get one of the shuttles. NY and DC are fairly close to each other. The mid-west has zilch in the area, and TX has long been a big space place.

    • by spauldo (118058)

      There's a museum in Hutchinson, KS that has a pretty good set of displays, including the Apollo 13 command module. Apparently there's a lot of Russian stuff there too.

      I haven't been, but I've heard great stuff about it.

      Just down the street, there's a salt mine museum as well, if that's your thing. Oh, and a garage door company run by assholes that I deliver to on occasion :)

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:17AM (#40697213)
    Lockheed A-12: Wow! A space shuttle! That's amazing! Hey, what's it like being in outer space?

    Enterprise: What? Oh, I've never been in outer space.

    A: Never been in outer space?

    E: Well, they used me for test flights, and they were talking about doing some retrofits, but...

    A: Hey, wait a minute! You don't have a heat shield! Or engines! Your a great big phony! (yelling to all the other craft on the deck) Hey everybody! This guy's a big fat phony!

    E: (sighs) Goddamn Smithsonian all over again...

    .
  • Not that it detracts from viewing it, but lets be clear. Enterprise was NEVER intended to go into space without retrofitting it which after costs was considered prohibitive. It was cheaper to build Atlantis than to retrofit Enterprise which tells you something about how "space" worthy it really was.

    Enterprise was critical for flight testing in the atmosphere before Columbia launched.

    • by LocutusMIT (10726)

      Actually, the retrofitting was supposed to be minimal. People don't realise just how much of the shuttle was removed between normal operations, so installing the missing components would actually have cost much less than converting STA-099 into Challenger.

      What happened were design changes during the construction of Columbia, many of them prompted by data from Enterprise's flight tests. These changes resulted in a much lighter orbiter, and would have required a serious rebuilding of Enterprise instead of t

    • by FSWKU (551325)

      Not that it detracts from viewing it, but lets be clear. Enterprise was NEVER intended to go into space without retrofitting it which after costs was considered prohibitive. It was cheaper to build Atlantis than to retrofit Enterprise which tells you something about how "space" worthy it really was.

      Enterprise was critical for flight testing in the atmosphere before Columbia launched.

      Actually, it was Challenger that was built instead of converting Enterprise. Challenger was a structural test vehicle already, so most of the build work was complete. And since the testing had a HUGE safety margin, there was no damage, and it was decided to convert it from a test vehicle into a full orbiter.

      Then there was Endeavour, built from spares leftover from Discovery and Atlantis...

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