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Enterprise Lands at JFK
April 27, 2012 3:10 PM   Subscribe


 
End of an era.
posted by wuwei at 3:11 PM on April 27, 2012


Proof that quality is not measured by quantity.
posted by Ardiril at 3:14 PM on April 27, 2012


It flew past my office window today. I was in a meeting in an internal conference room. Damn meetings.
posted by stargell at 3:15 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn, that's cool.
posted by Mavri at 3:16 PM on April 27, 2012


totally just got the chills...but I am sitting in a cold theater...
posted by aloiv2 at 3:21 PM on April 27, 2012


*sniff* One of my earliest memories is seeing the Enterprise at the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans.
posted by brundlefly at 3:25 PM on April 27, 2012


We watched the flyby from the roof of our apartment in Brooklyn. There were patchy clouds, and the shuttle moved in and out of beams of sunlight as it passed over the Verrazano-Narrows and up along the Hudson. It disappeared from our view just after it flew behind the Empire State Building.

It's been a good day.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:29 PM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Saw it fly past my office in NJ!!
posted by swooz at 3:45 PM on April 27, 2012


End of an era.

Start of another.
posted by tracert at 3:47 PM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fake.
posted by grog at 4:26 PM on April 27, 2012


I've always lived in the wrong country to see shuttles - except as dots of light in orbit. The one time I made it to the Cape, none was on point anywhere (although, my god, the experience was overwhelming anyway. I went quite soon after visiting this ritual landscape in Scotland, and the resonances hit me right between the eyes. Too much Ballard).

But I was working in an office on the Thames near Tower Bridge on 24 October 2003, where I could see the last three Concordes turn left to establish on finals for Heathrow in quick succession. I knew it was going to happen and was keeping an ear on air traffic control, and when they got near I started making loud squawking noises of my own. "What now, Devonian?" asked my long-suffering colleagues. So I pointed out of the window, where the first was becoming visible before the turn.

Over the next three minutes, the whole company downed tools and went to watch (I unplugged my headphones and turned the volume up on the ATC radio). We had a wonderful view, as each aircraft followed the Thames westward, and not one of us went back to our desks until the last had vanished from view. Many stayed until the final landing was confirmed over the radio (and there was so much emotion behind those messages.)

I had always kinda thought that yes, everyone loved Concorde, but not like us real aviation nerds. Not a bit of it.

It wasn't a good decade for white delta-winged transports. These things matter more than perhaps we admit to ourselves.
posted by Devonian at 4:28 PM on April 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


Sometimes we watch fantasies become reality, and sometimes we see the opposite.
posted by davejay at 4:30 PM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Red Five standing by.
posted by Danf at 5:23 PM on April 27, 2012


That video is a definite "right time, right place, with a camera" sort of moment. When everyone carrying cameras all the time is combined with a world-wide hosting provider like youtube, it seems that we'll all see more and more of these once-in-a-million-chance videos.

Unlike my close encounter with Discovery last week, today I watched from the roof of my office as the SCA and OV101 flew along the Hudson river. Most of the view was occluded by other buildings and water towers.
posted by autopilot at 5:26 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Enterprise has been moved out of the National Air and Space Museum to be replaced by Discovery, which led to this remarkable photo. It may be my imagination, but I think I can see the evidence of the 149 million miles on Discovery's odometer.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:47 PM on April 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


I got to watch it go by three times from the Battery. It was awesome. Very, very awesome. The whole crowd got quiet, and on the first go around there was cheering and clapping.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:50 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


richocet biscuit -- you might also like my closeup on the noses from that same vantage point and the marks of wear from 239 million kilometers.
posted by autopilot at 7:00 PM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


So cool.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:04 PM on April 27, 2012


A320. A320. A319. CRJ700. Enterprise. A320.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:25 PM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


the marks of wear from 239 million kilometers.

Now that is a spaceship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:46 PM on April 27, 2012


She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.
posted by Snyder at 8:00 PM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Boo! That shuttle should be in Houston. As if New York needs yet another important cultural artifact.
posted by saslett at 9:40 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You buy this ship, treat her proper, she'll be with you the rest of your life... Son. Hey, son, you hear a word I been saying?"
posted by hal9k at 6:03 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Enterprise was just a prototype, it was never actually flown.
Enterprise has been moved out of the National Air and Space Museum to be replaced by Discovery, which led to this remarkable photo. It may be my imagination, but I think I can see the evidence of the 149 million miles on Discovery's odometer.
Heh, yeah, quite a difference.
posted by delmoi at 6:11 AM on April 28, 2012


Enterprise was never flown in space, but it was used to verify that the shuttles could glide to the runway, among other tests.

It was supposed to made space worthy, but it was deemed cheaper to build a new shuttle. Also, it was supposed to be named Constitution, but a write in campaign by scifi fans convinced President Ford to direct NASA to change the name.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


the marks of wear from 239 million kilometers

This is kind of a silly question, but does anyone know what kind of paint they use to print Discovery's name on the side? I checked Wikipedia to see how hot that part of the shuttle gets on re-entry, and the tiles on that part of the shuttle are designed to withstand temperatures up to 1,200 °F (649 °C).

I'm not sure what most temperatures most paints will combust at. I remember a very conservative family friend complaining that the Air Force spent $20 million to develop a paint that would withstand the surface temperature on I think the SR-71 (800 °F), and how it was a giant waste of money that would have been more easily solved by just not painting the USAF logo on the plane.

(A little bit of searching doesn't turn up anything on the SR-71 logo story, and I suspect it may be a right-wing urban legend that conflates the paint used on tail markings with the black, heat-resistant paint used across the entire aircraft.)

It's a great photo of Discovery, thanks for sharing.
posted by compartment at 6:52 AM on April 28, 2012


saslett: there's a very good reason why the Enterprise is in NY and not Houston, and it all comes down to $$$.

Of the four shuttles, it was early on decided that one would stay at Kennedy down in Florida, and one would go to the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian got first choice, and reasonably enough, chose to take Discovery; part of that deal was that they'd give up the Enterprise to go elsewhere. Kennedy Space Center then chose to keep Atlantis. So this leaves two: Endeavour and Enterprise. Bidding was thrown open to museums across the country; NY and Los Angeles not only offered to build a center to display a shuttle, but also offered to pay all transport costs -- and as you can imagine, that adds up to a chunk of change! So NY gets Enterprise and LA gets Endeavour.

Houston, Oklahoma and Seattle all lost out, because all three wanted NASA to pay all transportation cost --- plus Houston wanted NASA to pay a percentage of the building to display one in.

(Full disclosure: I learned all this because I work at Udvar-Hazy.)
posted by easily confused at 7:50 AM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is kind of a silly question, but does anyone know what kind of paint they use to print Discovery's name on the side?

MCC-1, Marshall Convergent Coating version 1. It's an epoxy of tiny hollow glass and ceramic spheres, cork, a high-temp epoxy, and either powdered carbon (black), titanium dioxide (white) or other oxides for the red and blue in the NASA Meatball and US Flag on the top of the wings and the tail.

Originally, it was an enormous PITA to work with -- you had to even mix up the epoxy and fillers, then you had about 5 hours to paint with it. MSFC then came up with the very clever trick of a multi-part epoxy where two of the parts were dry, and could be powdered and mixed with the fillers, and the third part was wet. So, you then basically used an airbrush, which mixed the combination powered and the liquid third part just before the paint hit the surface.

A version of MCC-1 -- basically, just the powders -- is now marketed as Insuladd warning, autoplay video for adding insulation value to commercial paints. If you see Rustoleum Solar Reflective paint additive, it is fundamentally the same stuff as STS paint -- the only thing missing is the high-temp epoxy, and you really don't want to be messing with that, it's pretty nasty stuff to work with.
posted by eriko at 7:54 AM on April 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Eriko, between your comment above and your previous explanation of why NOAA bulletins are set in all caps, I suspect that you've had a very interesting career. Thanks (again) for enlightening us.
posted by compartment at 8:54 PM on April 28, 2012


In case anyone is still watching this thread -- here are my photos and timelapse video of Enterprise being demated from the SCA 747 over the weekend at JFK. It is now "up on blocks" in Hangar 12, awaiting the barge to transport it to the Intrepid museum in June.
posted by autopilot at 4:30 PM on May 14, 2012


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