The space shuttle Enterprise has reached its final frontier—and is now on full display for the city.
The first member of NASA's shuttle fleet is now a major piece of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's collection of historic vessels, which include the aircraft carrier Intrepid itself, as well as a Concorde supersonic jetliner.
To celebrate the opening of the pavilion, the museum is hosting a five-day Space Fest featuring extra displays on space flight missions past and present. Three of the shuttle's original pilots, Richard Truly, Joe Engle, and Fred Haise, were present for the exhibit's opening.
Visitors can walk around, underneath and view the craft from above on an elevated platform.
"This is a first class exhibit that prominently displays Enterprise, tells her important story and role in the history of space exploration, and will thrill anyone who's ever dreamed of going to space," said Bruce Mosler, co-chairman of the museum.
Previously housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Enterprise was which .
Then the spacecraft was loaded onto a barge for its trip to the Intrepid's home on the Hudson River.
The shuttle was named in honor of the fictional starship from television's "Star Trek" as a result of letter-writing campaign by fans of the show. Construction of the ship began in 1974, and its first flight was in 1977.
It was the only member of the fleet never to fly in space. As the first craft built it was used for test flights in the atmosphere, but was not equipped with engines or a functional heat shield.
NASA had originally planned to refit the orbiter for spaceflight, but when construction of its sister ships began design changes were introduced which would have required complete disassembly which was deemed too expensive. After the destruction of the shuttle Challenger in 1986 NASA briefly considered bringing Enterprise into full service. Instead the shuttle Endeavour was constructed from existing spare parts which already met the new specifications.
"This is the culmination of years of hard work by our entire Intrepid Museum team," said Susan Marenoff-Zausner, President of the Intrepid Museum. "We're thrilled to be able to share Enterprise with all of New York and the world."
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is located at Pier 86 at 12th Ave. and 46th Street in Manhattan. Space Fest lasts through Sunday, July 22.