Millions Mesmerized by Shuttle Enterprise over Freedom’s Beacon in New York

by Ken Kremer on April 28, 2012

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NASA’s Space Shuttle Enterprise mounted atop 747 Jumbo Jet Mesmerizes Millions above Statue of Liberty on April 27, 2012. Credit: Ken Kremer

Millions upon Millions of Humans have passed through Freedoms’s Beacon at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the New York Metropolitan area in hope of a better life for themselves and their families.

Today, on Friday April 27, Freedom’s Beacon mesmerized millions of the World’s Citizens anew – and in an unforgettable way – as NASA’s Space Shuttle Enterprise proudly flew over the Statue of Liberty in the waning moments of her triumphant final flight, to the cheers of throngs of people from across the globe.

Enterprise flew several times over and about historic sites and landmarks around the Big Apple while piggybacked snugly atop NASA’s modified 747 Jumbo Jet – formally known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) and designated as NASA 905.

I witnessed the Enterprise fly over from around the Statue of Liberty and Liberty State Park in New Jersey as she made several exciting passes over and around the New York- New Jersey- Connecticut tri state region, delighting in excess on 10 million avid spectators.

Spectators awed by Enterprise over Statue of Liberty. Credit: Ken Kremer

Enterprise voyaged as far north as the Tappan Zee Bridge, around the Hudson River and over nearby spots on Long Island and New Jersey. All in all traversing over millions of homes, buildings and businesses to everyone’s delight.

I heard many people express these sentiments to me and in local new reports: “I’ve never saw anything like this. It’s fantastic – two planes flying on top of one another. I never imagined anything like this and I’m so happy to see the Enterprise.”

And I met and listened to folks speaking dozens of languages – who made the special journey today to be with Lady Liberty and the Enterprise.

Enterprise soars above US Flag during NYC fly over on April 27, 2012. Credit: Ken Kremer

While many folks were well aware of the Enterprise’s impending flyover, through New York’s extensive media reporting – this region is my home turf – many others were caught totally unawares. Nevertheless they were all thrilled, especially the kids.

Some people even stopped on the George Washington and Tappan Zee Bridges, among others, pulled over to the side to get out of their vehicles and take in and enjoy the spectacular once- in-a-lifetime view and snap priceless photos.

Some out of town tourists even wondered if the Enterprise flyover was a “Daily Show” – somehow put on by the Intrepid, Air, Sea and Space Museum – which is the permanent new and final home to the only-of- its-kind prototype shuttle vehicle. No, they were informed. It’s just a one-time April 27 Big Apple Special. And it’s Free !

Space Shuttle Enterprise departed Dulles Airport mounted atop NASA’s 747 around 9:39 a.m. EDT and arrived in New York around 10:30 a.m. EDT. It was a cool and partly cloudy day in the 50’s and blustery with wind gusts around 40 MPH.

She finally touched down at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport at about 11:22 a.m. after I watched her take a last dazzling spin over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

Enterprise flies over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on April 27, 2012. Credit: Ken Kremer

The space shuttle is the most complex machine built by humanity, and stands as a powerful beacon to the future and what humans can accomplish if only we put our minds and efforts towards the task.

The Enterprise was the first of NASA’s Space Shuttles orbiters to be built and was used in landmark tests that paved the way for the entire Shuttle fleet and the first shuttle launch in 1981.

In June, the Enterprise will be placed on a barge and towed by tugboat to the Intrepid. She will be hoisted by crane onto the flight deck and open for display to the public in July 2012.

Enterprise is named after the fictional starship in the world renowned and beloved TV science fiction series – “Star Trek”.

About 1500 VIP guests greeted the Enterprise after landing at JFK, including actor Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s “Mr. Spock.”

Spock (Nimoy) welcomed Enterprise to New York and pronounced his famous Vulcan greeting –

“This is a reunion for me. Thirty-five years ago, I met the Enterprise for the first time.”

“Live Long and Prosper !”

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

Dennis Patterson April 28, 2012 at 2:41 AM

Another slow atronomy news day, eh???? Come on, 3 articles in the same day devoted to an unlaunched defunct spacecraft???? Give me a break!!!!!

John Stock April 28, 2012 at 2:58 AM

True.. But it is the Enterprise.. and Troi never put a scratch on this one ;oP

Shootist April 28, 2012 at 5:58 AM

Too bad this much energy didn’t go into actually developing a re-usable spacecraft.

“Shuttle’s primary mission was to provide continue employment for 20,000 scientists and engineers” – Jerry Pournelle, writer, psychologist, political scientist and engineer/manager for Boeing and NASA.

zetetic elench April 28, 2012 at 3:05 PM

well when we spend money overseas it’s called ‘defending our interests.’
when we spend money here it’s called pork.
those scientists/engineers do a good job. why isn’t that money well spent?

John Stock April 28, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Don’t worry. It might get done correctly and be affordable. http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/skylon.html

Pilar Ugarte April 28, 2012 at 4:02 PM

It is still very heartbreaking to me to see such powerful vessel de-commissioned and not flying on its own power. However, if it must be carried, what better shoulders than a Boeing 747 and if it must rest, what a deserving city as New York City to do so in; and if it must live on land, what a fine home as the Air & Space Museum abord such a historic vessel as the Interprid. Live long and proper Enterprise!

Tony Power April 30, 2012 at 6:36 AM

Um. The Enterprise has never flow under its own power.

JM April 28, 2012 at 4:28 PM

I grew up watching the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo flights break new ground. Sad day to see the NASA manned program end. So much tangible and intangible benefit have been derived from the space program. Yet short sighted and politically driven reps in Congress seemingly have a hard time putting national interest and benefit before their own self-serving ways.

Here’s more pics of this historic ending – http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/27/2980852/nasas-space-shuttle-enterprise-new-york-fly-pictures

ITSRUF April 28, 2012 at 9:46 PM

I wish there was as much buzz, and interest when the Shuttle flew under it’s own power.

(present company excluded, of course.)

DrewRN April 28, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Not to take anything away from the great scifi franchise spawned by the NCC 1701 Enterprise, here’s a link to a history of ships (wooden, steel, lighter-than-air, ficticional) named “Enterprise.” Nicely notated. Thank for your “enterprising” effort!

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