In what is proving to be an exciting last ride, the Space Shuttle Enterprise was flown to JFK Airport piggy-back-style on a Boeing 747 from Washington’s Dulles Airport on April 23, where it already thrilled spectators as it made a fly-by past the Statue of Liberty, and a perfect landing at JFK. The shuttle was kept at JFK until it was put on a barge and floated to Port Elizabeth, New Jersey this past Sunday.
Sunday’s trip took the Enterprise along the southern shoreline of Brooklyn, passing such easily accessible locales as the boardwalk in Brighton Beach and Coney Island. The huge shuttle also passed under a number of New York bridges, including Marine Park’s Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. From Staten Island a wonderful photogenic moment was enjoyed as the shuttle could be seen passing by the Statue of Liberty, in a watery replay of its fly-by about 6 weeks ago.
Brooklynites, New Yorkers in general and visitors gathered to watch the spectacle, and were thrilled to see the shuttle floating down their waterways.
“I was hoping that it would come a little bit closer to the shore but it was still a lot of fun. Hopefully I will get a glimpse closer in the coming days or on the actual Intrepid when it winds up there,” one onlooker said.
The Enterprise never actually entered space but was a prototype used exclusively for approach and landing tests as well as being used to conduct sixteen atmospheric flight tests.
On Wednesday the Enterprise will make the last leg of its journey to retirement as it proceeds from Port Elizabeth and heads on over to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum on Manhattan’s west side. The Enterprise Space Shuttle will be ready for visitors beginning on July 19, 2012.