See also Space Transportation System
and space shuttle
This orbiter is currently inactive.
Entered service in 1977 (test vehicle only, never launched).
Transferred to Smithsonian Institution
Used for landing braking net tests in 1987.
Currently awaiting display in the National Air and Space Museum
Originally intended to be named "Constitution
" (in honor of the bicentennial of the U.S. constitution
), the Enterprise was so named because of a letter writing campaign launched by fans of the television series "Star Trek
". Paramount Pictures
made use of the name change to hype their new film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture
, even adding a scene at the last minute in which featured a wall of pictures of former ships named "Enterprise". OV-101 is, of course, among them.
From February 1977 through November 1977, Enterprise was used for approach and landing tests at the Dryden Flight Research Facility
. These extensive tests demonstrated that the orbiter
could fly in the atmosphere
and land like an airplane
. The Enterprise was carried aloft by a converted 747
and released. This same system (having the orbiter
style on a 747) is currently used to transport orbiter
s between missions.
Two NASA astronaut
crews - Fred Haise and Gordon Fullerton and Joe Engle and Dick Truly - flew the Enterprise during tests. The tests involved several stages, including runway
tests of the 747
's mated configuration integrity
, flight tests where the orbiter remained mated to the 747
, and finally free-flight and landing tests in which the Enterprise was released from the 747
during flight. Later, the orbiter
was used for ground vibration
tests, and eventually mated to the Solid Rocket Booster
s and External Tank
for tests and launch complex practices.
The rest of the orbiter fleet: