New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum opens the doors on a new Space Shuttle Pavilion today. Its central tenant? The Space Shuttle Enterprise (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-101). Starting today, you can visit the Pavillion and walk underneath and around the first space shuttle NASA built. The orbiter never actually went to space, but did perform important test flights in 1977, which paved the way for the shuttles that followed.
Young space expert Sawyer Rosenstein, who hosts and edits the Talking Space podcast, and is a consultant-to the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, visited before the exhibit opened to the public. He shot these fantastic sneak-peek photos, and shares them with Boing Boing here (the captions are his observations).
Having seen the orbiter from concept, to piggyback, to craning, to finished, the Intrepid has come a long way, and they did a phenomenal job with it. Team Intrepid is absolutely amazing and they put together an amazing exhibit for an amazing vehicle, and have set up a way to continue teaching about the space program. As I said to one person at the event, "If you don't want to become an astronaut after seeing this, then you might need to get checked out."
Also: If you missed it before, be sure to read Sawyer's excellent guest feature, "Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon."
Visitors can get this close to the shuttle. This unzoomed shot is from a raised platform at the nose of Enterprise. It is so close, in fact, that there is a glass pane preventing visitors from touching the nose of the orbiter. Photo: Sawyer Rosenstein.