Tuesday, September 17, 2013

This Day in History: 09/17/13 - NASA Unveils the Space Shuttle

"It was a dark and stormy night." Or, rather, it was daylight and the weather wasn't actually that bad, but either way, today, on September 17, 1976, NASA unveiled the newest addition to its space fleet - the space shuttle. After nearly a decade of research and development, tens of thousands of man hours, and nearly $10-billion USD, the Enterprise was ready for her public debut. The Enterprise was the precursor to the five other shuttles that would become an icon of the space program.

On June 4, 1974, when construction on the Enterprise began, NASA originally planned to name OV-101 (it's official designation) the Constitution. The reason was because they planned to unveil the spacecraft on Constitution day, September 17, 2013. At the time, Star Trek: The Original Series was, and legacy that remains, extremely popular. Trekkies from across America launched a massive write in campaign to President Ford to have the name changed. They were successful and Ford directed NASA to rename OV-101 the Enterprise.

Unfortunately, Enterprise never made it to orbit. I guess you could call it a "design flaw" as the Enterprise wasn't designed with a heat shield, engines, or some other things that make spaceflight possible. It was designed as a test vehicle. With the reusable spacecraft concept, NASA needed to run performance tests.

To read the full article, see: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/this-day-in-history-091713-nasa-unveils-the-space-shuttle/

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