Shuttle Enterprise Lands at JFK Airport

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The space shuttle Enterprise landed today at New York’s JFK Airport, where it met throngs of iPhone- and camera-touting travelers excitedly posting live pictures to Instagram and Twitter. The shuttle took an aerial tour of the city’s landmarks before landing atop a Boeing 747 jet. Weather concerns delayed the flight, from Washington’s Dulles Airport, for more than two hours. But that didn’t quell any of the excitement. The Associated Press reported this morning that as the shuttle made its final landing, NASA declared on Twitter, "Touchdown at JFK!"

The Enterprise shuttle was built in the late 1970s and was used for various tests and experiments, though it never actually made a flight into space. It has been living at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. since the mid-1980s, but was recently replaced by the more recent shuttle Discovery.

But Enterprise’s dramatic landing this morning in New York is not the most tiresome part of its journey. Its next, and final, stop will be at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. After a few weeks spent at JFK, when it will be dismounted from the 747, the shuttle will be lifted onto a barge and carried up the Hudson River to the Intrepid. And the museum says they expect to open their permanent exhibit, which will be complete with an interactive pavilion, to the public mid-July.

The exhibit, like others around the country, is intended to honor the end of NASA’s shuttle program. Shuttle Enterprise will be stationed in New York, Discovery in D.C., the Endeavor is heading to Los Angeles, and Atlantis will be on display at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Photo credits: Enterprise Arrives Over NYC via Flickr/Diacritical; Space Shuttle Enterprise via Flickr/larryleenyc

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