Space Shuttle Enterprise
Originally uploaded by Alan.Slmak
Manufacturer: Rockwell International Corporation
Country of Origin: United States of America
Overall: 57 ft. tall x 122 ft. long x 78 ft. wing span, 150,000 lb. (1737.36 x 3718.57 x 2377.44cm, 68039.6kg)
Aluminum airframe and body with some fiberglass features; payload bay doors are graphite epoxy composite; thermal tiles are simulated (polyurethane foam) except for test samples of actual tiles and thermal blankets.
The first Space Shuttle orbiter, "Enterprise," is a full-scale test vehicle used for flights in the atmosphere and tests on the ground; it is not equipped for spaceflight. Although the airframe and flight control elements are like those of the Shuttles flown in space, this vehicle has no propulsion system and only simulated thermal tiles because these features were not needed for atmospheric and ground tests. "Enterprise" was rolled out at Rockwell International's assembly facility in Palmdale, California, in 1976. In 1977, it entered service for a nine-month-long approach-and-landing test flight program. Thereafter it was used for vibration tests and fit checks at NASA centers, and it also appeared in the 1983 Paris Air Show and the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans. In 1985, NASA transferred "Enterprise" to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.