Space Shuttle Enterprise

Space Shuttle Enterprise in launch configuration.jpg
Enterprise at SLC-6 at Vandenberg AFB
OV designationOV-101
CountryUnited States
Contract awardJuly 26, 1972
Named afterUSS Enterprise (NCC-1701) (Star Trek starship)
StatusRetired, on display at Intrepid Museum, New York City
First flightALT test flight on SCA
February 18, 1977
Last flightFerry flight on SCA
April 27, 2012
Time spent in spaceNone
Space Shuttle Enterprise
LocationNew York City
Built by13000071
Added to NRHPMarch 13, 2013

Space Shuttle Enterprise (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-101) was the first orbiter of the Space Shuttle system. Rolled out on September 17, 1976, it was built for NASA as part of the Space Shuttle program to perform atmospheric test flights after being launched from a modified Boeing 747.[1] It was constructed without engines or a functional heat shield, and was therefore not capable of spaceflight.[2]

Originally, Enterprise had been intended to be refitted for orbital flight to become the second space-rated orbiter in service.[1] However, during the construction of Space Shuttle Columbia, details of the final design changed, making it simpler and less costly to build Challenger around a body frame that had been built as a test article.[1] Similarly, Enterprise was considered for refit to replace Challenger after the latter was destroyed, but Endeavour was built from structural spares instead.[1][3]

Enterprise was restored and placed on display in 2003 at the Smithsonian's new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.[4] Following the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet, Discovery replaced Enterprise at the Udvar-Hazy Center, and Enterprise was transferred to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, where it has been on display since July 2012.[5]

Differences between Enterprise and future Shuttles

The design of Enterprise was not the same as that planned for Columbia, the first flight model; the aft fuselage was constructed differently, and it did not have the interfaces to mount OMS pods. A large number of subsystems—ranging from main engines to radar equipment—were not installed on Enterprise, but the capacity to add them in the future was retained, as NASA originally intended to refit the orbiter for spaceflight at the conclusion of its testing. Instead of a thermal protection system, its surface was primarily covered with simulated tiles made from polyurethane foam. Fiberglass was used for the leading edge panels in place of the reinforced carbon–carbon ones of spaceflight-worthy orbiters. Only a few sample thermal tiles and some Nomex blankets were real.[6] Enterprise used fuel cells to generate its electrical power, but these were not sufficient to power the orbiter for spaceflight.[7]

Enterprise also lacked RCS thrusters (which were useless in atmospheric flight) and hydraulic mechanisms for the landing gear; the landing gear doors were simply opened through the use of explosive bolts and the gear dropped down solely by gravity.[7] As it was only used for atmospheric testing, Enterprise featured a large nose probe mounted on its nose cap, common on test aircraft because the location provides the most accurate readings for the test instruments, being mounted out in front of the disturbed airflow.

Enterprise was equipped with Lockheed-manufactured zero-zero ejection seats like those its sister Columbia carried on its first four missions.[7]

Other Languages
português: Enterprise
Simple English: Space Shuttle Enterprise
slovenščina: Raketoplan Enterprise
українська: Ентерпрайз (шаттл)
Tiếng Việt: Tàu con thoi Enterprise