Like all of you, I watched-and jaw-dropped, as the Space Shuttle Enterprise-riding the back of a Boeing 747 (!) arrived in New York City and did the loop over the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty. It is an amazing sight, seeing it for the first time, or in my case, again. An explanation:
I lived in Orlando, Florida for a number of years, and on occasion the shuttle and the 747 “mothership” would fly overhead returning from a diverted landing (Kennedy Space Center being primary, weather permitting) at Vandenberg AFB in California. It did not happen all that often, and was largely a routine happening. BUT! One day I was driving I-4 through Orlando, and all of a sudden, there was the shuttle/747 right out my windshield, flying slowly and slowly descending, beginning it’s approach to KSC!
Let me tell you-that was an amazing-jaw-dropping experience. One I know so many of you experienced today.
And, by the way-two little sidebars to the Enterprise:
One, it’s size…
The shuttle is roughly the size of the old DC-9 or MD-80-now known as the Boeing 717. And yet, the total weight of the shuttle is some 100,000 pounds under the load carrying capability of the 747!
And a note about the name…
I heard CNN discussing the shuttle being named “Enterprise,” after the beloved “NCC-1701” of the Star Trek TV show and movies. Perhaps. Certainly there were petitions, fired by the imaginations of Star Trek fans. And while President Ford did admit to “some pressure” to name the shuttle Enterprise, it’s also worth remembering the long history of SIX “Enterprise’s” as a fighting ships of the USS Navy. Including “The Big E”, CV-6, of World War 2 fame, and the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, also nicknamed “The Big E”, CVN-65. Think Gene Roddenberry didn’t have that in mind, when he named his “ship”?
For my money, all four Enterprises served well. And the show by NASA today was a great moment for all of us who had a chance to see it, from the river, a window or a rooftop.
–Bob Berry, WCBS-FM
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