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Space Shuttle Enterprise Flies Over New York

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Published on Apr 27, 2012

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The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, made its final flight Friday, piggybacking from Dulles International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport. As it heads towards the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, it took a tour of New York City, New Jersey, and Long Island, providing many in the tri-state area a spectacular sight.

Escorted by two jets, Enterprise was carried on the back of a modified Boeing 747. Those below got a view of a vestige from the retired Space Shuttle program as it soared above the NYC skyline.

Onlookers stopped in the streets, getting glimpses of the orbiter in the space between skyscrapers. Others gathered on the city's many roofs.

The 747 landed at 11:23 am after flying up and down the Hudson river. It visited the Statue of Liberty, the Palisades, LaGuardia Airport and Westbury, among other locations.

The Space Shuttle departed Washington DC at 9:30 am.

Space Shuttle Discovery similarly made its last flight on April 17. It circled the National Mall a few times, on its way to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

Endeavour and Atlantis, the remaining two shuttles, will be moved to the California Science Center this fall and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in November, respectively.

Named after the eponymous Star Trek starship, Space Shuttle Enterprise was the prototype of the Space Shuttle fleet. It began flying in 1977, but was retired at the completion of testing. It never flew in space.

NASA debated re-enlisting the shuttle after the Challenger disaster in 1986 as a replacement, but deemed it too expensive to retrofit the prototype. Endeavour was built instead with from the spare parts of Discovery and Atlantis. It has been owned by the Smithsonian Institution since 1985.

New York last saw the Enterprise in its skies on June 10, 1983. The shuttle was returning from the Paris Air Show.

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