Shuttle Discovery Arrives At Smithsonian; New York Readies For Enterprise

Apr 19, 2012
Originally published on April 19, 2012 11:21 am

UPDATE at 12p.m. EST:

The Space Shuttles Discovery and Enterprise stood nose-to-nose at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., during a special event today to honor Discovery at its new home.

The Associated Press reports:

Astronauts including former Sen. John Glenn will help deliver Discovery to its retirement as an artifact representing the 30-year shuttle program.

A welcome ceremony is expected to draw thousands of visitors who want an up-close look at the shuttle after it flew over the Washington area Tuesday. The museum is hosting a four-day festival to showcase Discovery.

Our original post (about another shuttle, Enterprise) continues here:

There's apparently a pecking order in aviation and the Space Shuttle, despite its retirement, is still top bird.

That's why the flight deck of the aircraft carrier-turned museum USS Intrepid is getting a surge of spring cleaning in preparation for the arrival of Enterprise, scheduled to be barged up the Hudson River in coming weeks.

Shunted aside are three Korea War-era jets – the Douglas F3D-2 Skyknight, an earlier carrier-based jet fighter, as well as a British Supermarine Scimitar F1 and the venerable Soviet MIG-15. The three planes were lifted off Intrepid yesterday, The New York Times reports:

"With Enterprise coming, we had to make deck space," said Eric Boehm, the museum's curator of aviation and aircraft restoration. "And the only way to make deck space was to move three airplanes off. It's hard to see them go, but it's for the greater good. We're going to get Enterprise."

The museum will need to attract a big crowd to help offset the costs of transporting the shuttle from Dulles. The bill for the move, which the museum had to pay in advance, came to $9.6 million, said Matt Woods, the museum's senior vice president for facilities and engineering.

Intrepid's deck is being reinforced to support the 75-ton shuttle, the museum's senior vice president, Matt Woods said, according to the Times. A 56-foot-tall all-weather tent will also be erected on the flight deck to protect Enterprise from the elements.

Earlier this week, thousands of people in and around the nation's capital (including the folks here at NPR headquarters) were thrilled by the sight of Space Shuttle Discovery atop its 747 transport en route to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. But the process of getting Enterprise into and through New York harbor is likely to prove even more spectacular.

The Times says it will take about six weeks to get the shuttle off its own 747 transport and onto a barge:

After a slow tug through Jamaica Bay, under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, through New York Harbor and up the Hudson to Pier 86, a floating crane with a 190-foot boom will hoist Enterprise onto the flight deck, Mr. Woods said.

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