Crews Work Through The Night To Separate Space Shuttle Enterprise From 747

Sunday May 13, 2012 12:23 PM - Leave a Comment

space-shuttle-enterpriseCrews at John F. Kennedy Airport were in the middle of a delicate operation on Sunday morning, separating the Space Shuttle Enterprise from the 747 it flew in on a few weeks ago.

It’s part of the journey that New York’s space shuttle will take to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, another chapter in the final voyage of the Shuttle Enterprise.

On Sunday morning at JFK Airport it was offloaded from the 747 its been piggy-backing on, part of a delicate process that had NASA working through the night.

“The process of offloading takes about 12 hours. Now we started at 10 p.m. on Saturday night, so we’re not quite through yet,” Stephanie Stilson of NASA told CBS 2′s Dick Brennan early on Sunday morning.

The craft that never flew in space made a glorious flight around New York City two weeks ago. It was a fly-by for the ages, passing city landmarks and providing a surreal moment for countless New Yorkers who caught the show from windows and rooftops.

The craft made two passes along the Hudson River before heading for a landing at JFK. Enterprise was once housed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, but it will soon be heading for a retirement home on the Intrepid. The craft will be put on a barge for the next phase of the trip.

“We need high water to get the barge as close to land as possible so we can get the shuttle onto the barge,” Matt Woods of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum explained. “And we need real low water to get underneath the bridges we need to clear to get it up to the Intrepid.”

Military aircraft have been removed one-by-one from the carrier so the spacecraft can be shoehorned in.

And now a new generation can learn about an era in space that is fading into history, and the Enterprise, despite its advanced age, will live long and prosper.

“NASA does great work,” Stilson concluded. “Although right now it seems that there is a little bit of turmoil, we will have some straight guidance and new programs, and those are already under way. We’ve been focusing on shuttles, but we’re going to jump right into those new programs.”

{CBS Local/Matzav.com Newscenter}

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