New Yorkers Have to Wait to See Their New Spacecraft


It looks like we’re going to have to re-mark our calendars for the arrival of Enterprise in our own backyard. And not the one from Star Trek, the one from NASA.

Due to an overcast prediction for Monday’s weather, the space agency is holding back on its transfer (“until further notice”) of the Enterprise from the Smithsonian in D.C. to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

That’s right – there’s about to be a space shuttle on the Hudson and, yes, its travel can be affected by human realities like rain. The new flight plan will be announced at one point this coming week but, for now, New Yorkers should just be on the lookout.

The delay has good intentions, though: NASA wants all of New York to see the landing of the Enterprise. Strapped to a 747 jet, the spacecraft will touch down in or around J.F.K. International Airport, remain there until June and then be taken via barge up the Hudson to Pier 86. There, a massive crane will lift it up onto the deck of the aircraft carrier (can we call it a spacecraft carrier now?). What a sight that will be.

It was announced in December that the Big Apple would be getting its own little taste of space and aeronautics history. With the Enterprise on its way out, the Smithsonian will replace it with the Discovery, a much more well-known and cooler spacecraft that can fly circles around Washington. But, hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Unfortunately, though, Enterprise is not exactly the real thing: the full-scale prototype was constructed a little over 35 years ago for novelty, like a concept car or an experimental art exhibit. Also, the entire Star Trek crew was there at the inauguration, making one believe that it was built by and for nerds.

Without an engine or heat shields, it became a museum piece from the moment it was made and its parts were used to build Columbia and Challenger. In other words, New Yorkers got the spare spacecraft.
That still does not invalidate the fact that, by summer, an enormous space shuttle will be sitting in plain view in the West. As if the fighter jets and sheer size of Intrepid wasn’t enough, the new attraction is sure to attract a whole new slew of visitors… and Star Trek fans.

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