Enterprise Strapped atop 747 and Delights Dulles Airport Flyers

by Ken Kremer on April 22, 2012

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

Space Shuttle Enterprise mounted atop NASA 747 Carrier Jet at Dulles Airport - Commercial Jets Taxi By. The public can easily see NASA’s 1st orbiter bolted on top of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) from the upper levels of a Daily Parking Garage at Dulles Airport. On April 19, 2012, Enterprise was towed out of the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Thursday, April 19, 2012, in Chantilly, Va. and swapped for shuttle Discovery. Enterprise will be flown to New York City sometime this week. Credit: Ken Kremer
See Enterprise with the cast of Star Trek in 1976, below

Space Shuttle Enterprise has been strapped atop the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) that will soon fly NASA’s path finding orbiter from Dulles Airport to her new and final home in the Big Apple – and to the delight of Dulles Airport flyers and visitors she’s all primed at a spot offering a fantastic public glimpse of the historic last flight ever of NASA’s 1st space shuttle vehicle.

Have you ever dreamed of seeing the magnificent sight of a NASA space shuttle on top of a 747 Jumbo Jet up close with your own eyes ?

Imagine this view on take off !
Space Shuttle Enterprise mounted atop NASA 747 Carrier Jet at Dulles Airport - Commercial Jets Fly By. Credit: Ken Kremer

Well, right now anyone can get that superb glance of the mated duo quite simply from one of the upper level parking decks at Dulles Airport. And you don’t need a press pass, plane ticket, intrusive TSA pat down or a secret service security clearance.

And because of inclement weather, you will have a few extras days to catch history in the making of a sight that will soon evaporate into the ether of time. Only a Stak Trek era holodeck with bring it back.

After setting up to photograph Enterprise from the parking deck, I was joined within minutes by more than a dozen enthusiastic folks and kids !

NASA has postponed the planned Monday, April 23, departure of Enterprise from Dulles for New York City and touchdown at JFK Airport because of expected bad weather at both ends of the Washington to New York itinerary.

Universe Today has been told that NASA is now aiming for a Wednesday departure, weather permitting.

See Enterprise and Discovery nose to nose, here

A whirlwind of Flyers buzz by Enterprise at Dulles Airport prior to NYC departure. Credit: Ken Kremer

Right now and continuing over the next few days, supremely lucky passengers seated aboard arriving and departing jets at Dulles are enjoying a truly stupendous bird’s-eye view of the winged NASA orbiter that most aerospace fans can only dream of. Just be sure to sit on the correct side on the plane.

Check out the photos herein taken from the Dulles Daily Parking Garages taken by myself and fellow space photographer Brent Houston with invaluable assistance from space photographer Walter Scriptunis II.

In a first-of-its-kind “Shuttle Shuffle”, shuttles Enterprise and Discovery swapped spots at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Thursday, April 19, 2012, in Chantilly, Va.

Enterprise was first towed out of the Smithsonian’s museum display hanger in the early morning. The pair of shuttles then met for a historic nose to nose rendezvous – lasting just 4 hours. Finally, Space Shuttle Discovery was hauled inside to the prestigious spot formerly occupied by Enterprise.

Space Shuttle Enterprise sits on top of NASA 747 Carrier Jet at Dulles Airport. A pair of cranes was used to hoist Enterprise onto the back of the 747. Credit: Brent Houston

Since 2003, Enterprise has been the centerpiece at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum Annex in Virginia.

Enterprise is named in honor of the fictional Starship of galactic exploration from the immensly popular “Star Trek” science fiction television series of the 1960’s.

The Shuttle Enterprise rolled out in 1976 with the cast of Star Trek !
In 1976, NASA's space shuttle Enterprise rolled out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities and was greeted by NASA officials and cast members from the 'Star Trek' television series. From left to right they are: NASA Administrator Dr. James D. Fletcher; DeForest Kelley, who portrayed Dr. "Bones" McCoy on the series; George Takei (Mr. Sulu); James Doohan (Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott); Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura); Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock); series creator Gene Rodenberry; an unnamed NASA official; and, Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov). Credit: NASA

After landing at JFK Airport, Enterprise will be moved to a barge for a seagoing journey to her permanent new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in Manhattan.

Read more about Enterprise in Ken’s earlier story here and watch for more articles

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Zoutsteen from Holland April 22, 2012 at 3:36 AM

And now for a 1g barrel roll before we embark on a trip into the future of mankind
Aye Aye Cpt Kirk

yoonwonhyo April 22, 2012 at 8:34 AM

goodbye ~Discovery

Pilar Ugarte April 22, 2012 at 5:17 PM

It breaks my heart! This beautiful cosmic eagle will always be flying in my heart. What a travesty this decommissioning of our Shuttle Program has been. Though, if it must go to a ‘sanctuary’ what better place than the Manhattan’s Interprid Sea and Air Museum. Wait only one place: California.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: