Shuttle Enterprise may have sustained damage from "Superstorm" Sandy

Photo: Heath Hurwitz. Enterprise sits partially exposed and possibly damaged at Intrepid Museum in NYC after the storm, Oct. 30, 2012.

At CollectSpace, word that space shuttle Enterprise, NASA's original prototype orbiter, "is sitting exposed and appears to have been partially damaged by Hurricane Sandy after the severe storm passed over New York City on Monday night (Oct. 29)." Photos here. (thanks, Dean Putney)


  1. I know it’s been there for a while, and not super well maintained, but it was built for hypersonic speed winds. I wonder what could have happened?

    1.  I don’t think it was probably constantly pointed into the wind. I doubt it was designed for more than moderate rain.  If you leave your toys out in the storm…

      This is why we can’t have nice things.

  2. As the “prototype” that was only used for the glide-to-landing test perhaps it is somewhat less durably exteriored than a fully flight-ready shuttle.

    On the other hand, the real ones were fatally damaged by foam hits so an airborne tree or other debris might do quite a bit.

    1. Now you know why they always cancelled launches for bad weather. It’s like the aliens in Signs.

  3. I don’t get why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to leave the orbiter, or any plane actually, on the deck of a freaking aircraft carrier to slowly rot away under the baking sun and pounding rain. Why isn’t the Enterprise, a major artifact of our space efforts, being exhibited indoors?

    1. If you read the linked article Enterprise has actually been sitting protected inside an inflatable pavilion, which got blown down and is now draped over the orbiter.

      1.  noted that after I posted. Point still stands – an inflatable pavilion is clearly inadequate protection.

  4. Dick move on my part granted, but “This would NEVER have happened if they’d moved it here to Houston.”

    (Pay no attention to the Ike behind the curtain. I have no idea how Space Center Houston fared through Ike, but give that JSC is RIGHT ON Clear Lake, and I DID see shots of what the surrounding streets were like early in the evening, I suspect that they were doing some wet-vacing.)

  5. When I saw they had essentially placed it in a “baggie,” I despaired. Why couldn’t money have been raised to put it in a nice, tight, weatherproof enclosure? I remember seeing it at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center annex of the NASM, and I couldn’t imagine it plopped down on the aft deck of a WWII-era aircraft carrier with any kind of adequate protection.

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