Intrepid Gets Shuttle That Never Went to Space

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NASA
    In this 1976 photo, then-NASA officials and "Star Trek" cast members greet the Enterprise shuttle. It is now coming to the Intrepid museum in New York City.

    The good news is that the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is getting a shuttle. The bad news is, it never went to space.

    NASA announced Tuesday that the Enterprise will come to the New York City museum. It is one of four retired shuttles set to be displayed around the country.

    New York had campaigned to get one of the retired shuttles. Others that carried astronauts into space -- Discovery, Endeavor and Atlantis -- are going elsewhere.

    Twenty-one museums and centers around the country put in bids for the spaceships. NASA disclosed the winners on the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch in 1981.

    The Enterprise was originally supposed to be named Constitution, but was renamed after "Star Trek" fans launched a write-in campaign to the White House for the name Enterprise, according to NASA.

    The Enterprise never flew in space but NASA says it was crucial to the space shuttle program. Its approach and landing tests in 1977 "proved the orbiter could fly in the atmosphere and land like an airplane, except without power -- like a glider."

    Later, the Enterprise was used at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it was used as a "stand-in" on the launch pad as NASA prepared for the first shuttle launch.

    New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said the museum plans to house the shuttle in a glass enclosure on the end of Pier 86 and hope it could attract more than 1 million visitors a year.

    It is expected to be ready for delivery in 2012.

    Gillibrand said in a statement that "having this American treasure in the heart of the Big Apple will inspire generations to come."

    Schumer said the shuttle "will ignite the imaginations of millions of young minds, inspiring them to think big and reach for the stars."

    Susan Marenoff-Zausner, president of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, said in a statement the museum was honored to house the Enterprise "and to help perpetuate the legacy of one of our country's greatest technological achievements."

    "We are gratified that NASA has recognized that New York will be an outstanding home for Enterprise, and that the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will create an amazing exhibit to showcase her," Marenoff-Zausner said.