Imagine flying from Florida to D.C. with nowhere to sit, no air conditioning, no place to store your bags -- not even a bathroom. Imagine flying anywhere under those conditions.
--Three struts with associated interior structural strengthening protrude from the top of the fuselage (two aft, one forward) on which the orbiter is attached.
--Two additional vertical stabilizers, one on each end of the standard horizontal stabilizer, to enhance directional stability.
--Removal of all interior furnishings and equipment aft of the forward No. 1 doors.
--Addition of instrumentation used by SCA flight crews and engineers to monitor orbiter electrical loads during the ferry flights and also during pre- and post-ferry flight operations.
And, perhaps in a scenario familiar to many air travel passengers arriving in New York, the shuttle appeared to be taking its time meandering over the area.
Crowds of people lined various vantage points across the area to get a glimpse of the shuttle, which flew up from Dulles Airport near Washington on 27 April 2012morning.
The 150,000-pound shuttle soared over New York Harbor, past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River. After passing over the George Washington Bridge, the flight continued north to the Tappan Zee Bridge before making another pass over the city. And then it made the same loop, heading back up the Hudson again.
The flight is supposed to be the last time in the sky for Enterprise, which never flew in space but did glide to the ground on its own several times a few decades ago. The prototype is eventually destined for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which is paying the National Aeronautics & Space Administration more than $9 million for the delivery. NASA awarded Enterprise to the museum last year when it was giving away all of the remaining orbiters after ending the shuttle program.
Last week, the same old 747 ferried the shuttle Discovery to Dulles so that it could replace Enterprise at the nearby satellite site of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Once Enterprise is lifted off the 747 by cranes - a process NASA calls "demating" - it will be loaded onto a barge this summer and floated from Kennedy to the Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier docked in the Hudson in Midtown Manhattan.
In short, an antique airplane is carrying an antique spacecraft to New York, where it will wind up on the deck of an antique warship.