Space Shuttle Enterprise Takes Center Stage, At Last

Space shuttle Enterprise was born to be an astronautical bridesmaid, never a bride.

Built in 1976 as one of the first trio of U.S. shuttles, Enterprise never left Earth’s atmosphere and was used as a test vehicle to help its more famous sister ships Challenger and Columbia carry a generation of astronauts into space.

Both Columbia and Challenger were destroyed in deadly accidents, but Enterprise has come out of storage and into its own as the centrepiece of a new exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center outside Washington D.C.

NASA borrows spare parts
“These (panels) were borrowed by NASA for use in the Columbia accident investigation and they’re continuing to be used in testing for return to flight activities,” said Valerie Neal, a museum curator. “So we hope to have those back in the new year.”

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Enterprise is probably the best known name for space faring craft. However this one has never been out of the atmosphere. Something I didn’t know.

It also seems that this space shuttle is helping to understand what happened to the Columbia accident.