The space shuttle Enterprise, riding atop its 747 mother ship, made a triumphant flyover of New York City April 27. “The sight was enough to cause even the most jaded New Yorkers to stop and stare skyward,” wrote Rene Lynch in the Los Angeles Times.
A test craft that never flew in space, Enterprise was on display in recent years at the Smithsonian National Air Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles, Va. That’s where the shuttle Discovery replaced it a few days before its flight to the Big Apple. Now, Enterprise is headed for its new retirement home at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan, where it will be unveiled this summer.
The 747-and-shuttle air and spacecraft duo landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport following a flyover of some of the metropolitan area’s most famous sights, including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the spot in the Hudson River where Capt. Chesley Sullenberger splash-landed US Airways Flight 1549 more than three years ago.
Among those on hand to greet Enterprise at JFK was actor Leonard Nimoy. Originally intended to be named Constitution, the Enterprise got its name when “Star Trek” fans petitioned President Gerald Ford in 1976. Enterprise made five flights in the atmosphere, including an air-launch followed by a glide to a controlled landing.
The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), Boeing 747-123 (registry number N905NA, constructor’s number 20107), was piloted on its New York trip by NASA’s Bill Rieke.