NASA's Space Shuttle Enterprise makes its big debutS

Space enthusiasts in the Northeast have a new reason to visit New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: today marks the grand opening of the museum's Space Shuttle Enterprise exhibit.

From the museum's website:

The exhibition brings to life the remarkable story of the Enterprise as the original prototype space shuttle orbiter in relation to NASA's historic role in experimental aircraft throughout the twentieth-century...The experience will inspire visitors of all ages, offering an unforgettable look at the past, present and future of space missions.

Enterprise (which, yes, is named after the Star Trek starship) was never equipped with engines or a heat shield, and was therefore never used for an orbital flight; but it did play a crucial role in NASA's atmospheric approach and landing tests during the 1970s; information gained from these trial runs proved indespensible in the development of later incarnations of the spacecraft.

Festivities at today's big exhibition opening will include appearances by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and three out of four of Enterprise's astronauts. You can check out more info about the exhibition opening over on SPACE.com.