Tuesday, August 2All That Matters

The Space Shuttle Enterprise rolls out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities with Star Trek television cast members. 1976

The Space Shuttle Enterprise rolls out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities with Star Trek television cast members. 1976



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10 Comments

  • shaka_sulu

    Originally called “The Constitution” Sar Trek Fans started a campaign to change the name to The Enterprise. The power of fandom y’all.

  • Hattix

    Some info on Enterprise, OV-101.

    It was used for approach and landing tests, but always intended to be fitted out to be a full orbiter, so had full avionics and mounting hardware for the RS-25 engines, AJ10-190 (a derivative of the upper stage engines used on Delta II and Titan III!) OMS and the light maneuvering RCS engines.

    OV-101 was built to the same specification as the first orbiter, Columbia, so was heavier and of lower performance than the later Discovery (OV-103), Challenger (OV-099), and Atlantis (OV-104) spec. Columbia and Enterprise retained the mid-deck airlock, had fittings for ejection seats, and ended up being 1,000 kg heavier than Challenger, and 3,600 kg heavier than the much later Endeavour.

    The original plan to fit out Enterprise for flight would have resulted in another Columbia, which was disliked by NASA due to its lower performance, Columbia was deemed poorly suited to Shuttle-Centaur missions (so only Atlantis and Challenger were modified to mount a Centaur). Instead of refitting Enterprise, fitting out the ground test vehicle (OV-99) to become Challenger was cheaper and resulted in a higher performing orbiter.

    Due to Challenger being assembled later and to a higher standard, it was used for pioneering missions and was the leader of the fleet. When Challenger was lost, Endeavour was assembled from structural spares instead of attempting to flight-ready Enterprise.

    An OV-106 existed, as flight spares to replace those used by Endeavour, and could have built a new orbiter, but by that time the true costs of the Shuttle programme were being realised and the entire programme was failing to deliver on its promises of rapid turnaround, low cost, manned spaceflight.

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