We were among the very first to get an up-close look at the space vehicle, which is parked under a huge pavilion on the aircraft carrier’s flight deck.
The NASA prototype never flew in space. Instead, it was used in many different ground and flight tests that helped advance the shuttle program.
Still, it’s an incredible historic artifact.
Welcome to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The space shuttle is housed in the rear of Intrepid's flight deck under a giant inflatable canopy.
The circumference of the pavilion is lined with backlit images and text that tell the story of Enterprise and other space missions.
Enterprise was the prototype for all space orbiters. It never flew in space but was used in a handful of approach and landing tests during the 1970s.
For tests, it was carried into the sky by a modified Boeing 747. If you recall, at the end of April, Enterprise was flown from Washington D.C. to JFK Airport on the back of a 747.
You can almost go nose-to-nose with the shuttle. There's a piece of glass that prevents any actual touching.
Former NASA astronaut Fred Haise was also hanging around. Bill Paxton played the role of Haise as lunar module pilot in the film Apollo 13.
Once you leave the pavilion, there are about 40 different NASA exhibits scattered around the flight deck that guests can visit for free. (It costs $6 for adults and $4 for kids to get into the pavilion.)
Samsung gave us a sneak preview of their interactive exhibit, which simulates a journey from Earth to Mars and back. It's hard to see in the picture, but the ceiling is actually displaying a scary asteroid field that we've encountered during our trip. It was kind of a lame version of a Disney World attraction, but we can see how small kids would enjoy the experience.
Of course no museum exhibit is complete without a gift shop, the last thing visitors see before they exit the pavilion. There were some nice blue T-shirts and a bunch of Lego sets for building tiny play space shuttles.
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