New York News

Shuttle Enterprise separated from 747 jet

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The shuttle Enterprise is one step closer to its final destination at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

Overnight, the shuttle was separated from a 747 aircraft at Kennedy Airport. "The weather has been perfect. This is when we had to do it - based on the weather," said Eric Boehm, Curator at the Intrepid Aviation Museum.

It was last month that the Enterprise arrived on that plane in New York City, in a thrilling flight over the city's major landmarks.

Beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday, engineers carefully moved the shuttle back to a storage hangar.

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They used two cranes and a special wind restraint system to gently offload it from the 747 and onto a trailer. At daybreak, the shuttle was moved to back into a de-icing hanger, its temporary home.

"We're basically turning over our baby over to someone else. It's hard for us to do that," said Stephanie Stilson of NASA, "We treat these vehicles as if they're going to fly again. So everything we're doing, we want to do the best job we can to deliver it to the display site, in the best configuration possible."

Just like the oohs, and aahs that echoed from hundreds of New Yorkers as the shuttle made a grand entrance in a flyover last month, those who witnessed NASA in action, were equally amazed. "It's awesome. We're estatic at the Intrepid to get her almost to the final phase of getting her to the Intrepid and open to the public," said Matt Wood of the Intrepid Aviation Museum.

The next step will come June 6th, when the Enterprise is moved onto a tugboat and carried around New York Harbor to the Intrepid.

The exhibit will open to the public July 19th.

Click here to see more shuttle photos: href="">

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