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NASA

+ - NYC Gets Space Shuttle That Never Went to Space->

Submitted by
tedlistens
tedlistens writes "While Kennedy Space Center, Los Angeles and the Smithsonian were obvious picks to house one of NASA's coveted retiring space shuttles, likely candidates like Dayton or Houston lost out. Instead, the last orbiter will go to the Intrepid Space Museum, the aircraft carrier docked in New York City – a surprise given the city’s tenuous historical connection to the spaceship. It’s only real link: after World War II, Intrepid helped pluck astronauts from the ocean after they returned to Earth. The Intrepid opened as a museum in 1982, a year after the first shuttle launch.

But before the city starts getting too excited, Earth to New York: this isn’t really a spaceship. The Enterprise – named by a popular vote after the ship in Star Trek – was the first orbiter ever built, used to test the awesome, revolutionary craft’s aerodynamics. But it never orbited space and was not equipped with a heat shield. Though it was going to be the second orbiter after Columbia, NASA ran into cost overruns on the retrofit. Challenger was built instead."

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