Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enterprise


I can now add the space shuttle Enterprise to the list of shuttles I've seen. Though it never went to space, this is still considered the first space shuttle. Enterprise was used as a proof-of-concept vehicle. They dropped it at altitude and let astronauts pilot it in to be sure that such an unwieldy and unpowered beast could actually land as designed. It must have worked, because we're still flying space shuttles over thirty years later.

I saw this bird at the Air And Space Museum built by The Smithsonian near Dulles International Airport in Virginia. You hop on a shuttle bus after you've checked your bags (the shuttle costs $0.50 each way, by the way), and instead of wasting time in the terminal you get to see some impressive aircraft. Only problem is that my airline wouldn't let me check my bags more than four hours prior to the flight, and the shuttle only runs every 45 minutes. So the scheduling can be a little tricky. But it's worth the trip.

I think there are pictures out there of the original cast of Star Trek posing with this shuttle after they named it Enterprise. While I was at the museum, they were playing the new Star Trek movie on the Imax screen. Wish I'd had time to see it there.

Stay tuned for pictures of some of the other aircraft at this museum, including a Concord, an SR-71 Blackbird, and the Enola Gay!

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