Shuttle Enterprise goes on display today at NYC's Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

Enterprise, as viewed from the side. Although you cannot climb inside the vehicle, you can still get an amazing view all the way around it along, with informational panels encompassing each side of the pavillion. Photo: Sawyer Rosenstein.

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).

Sawyer says:

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."

Enterprise sits atop the flight deck of the Intrepid after it traveled by barge to the floating museum. Along the way, it was damaged–although, as evident in this picture, repairs are completed and Enterprise looks great. Photo: Sawyer Rosenstein.

Unlike its previous home in DC, visitors are allowed to walk underneath the entire length of the orbiter as seen in this shot. Photo: Sawyer Rosenstein.

Enterprise sits underneath a dark-blue dome accented with blue lighting along the bottom of the dome. White and yellow spotlights are conveniently placed to accent different parts of the orbiter. Photo: Sawyer Rosenstein.

A view from the nose gear showing a picture of Enterprise atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) at JFK airport in New York City and an American flag. Photo: Sawyer Rosenstein.

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.