Photo Essay: Space Shuttle Enterprise

November 18, 2010 — Directly behind an SR-71 Blackbird at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA (see the full O.T.I.S. article on the museum here), in an amazing line of sight that beats most cosmic alignments and looming like some gigantic pursuing predator, is the actual Enterprise space shuttle. This white and black behemoth is the original space shuttle. Actually, this beast never made it past the upper atmosphere, being only a test vehicle for the design, but it did make it possible for other shuttles to make it into space.

Now, all that rocket science is wondrous and all, but what really grabs my misprioritized interest is that the shuttle was named after the already mentioned fictional starship Enterprise, thanks to a letter-writing campaign from fans of the by then defunct Star Trek television series. In fact, the cast of the show, still in that 10-year limbo between the series and the original motion picture, was all present for the dedication ceremony (minus Shatner, who was busy doing stuff like this). So although it’s never been in space, it has stood alongside the likes of Spock and Chekov, so it might have gotten the better deal anyway. Did I mention my misprioritized interest?