Space Shuttle Enterprise


Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first space shuttle orbiter built for NASA. It performed atmospheric test flights and was incapable of spaceflight. It was named after famous spaceship Star Trek ‘Enterprise’.

Space Shuttle Enterprise Picture


The first Space Shuttle Orbiter was originally to be named Constitution in honor of the U.S. Constitution’s Bicentennial. It was renamed Enterprise after a write in campaign to NASA.

Although never designed for orbital flight, it was the first shuttle and was used for atmospheric tests prior to the first orbital flight of Columbia.


Original designs for the shuttle began in the early 1970’s. Enterprise was rolled out at Rockwell Aerospace in September 1976.

Space Shuttle Enterprise and Star Trek tv cast members

Photo: Star Trek television cast members attend the roll out of the Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Palmdale manufacturing facilities in this NASA handout photo dated 17 September, 1976. 

Originally housed at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center until 19 April, 2012.

Space Shuttle Enterprise Flight in New York

Space Shuttle Enterprise Flight To New York on Friday, 27th April, 2012. Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Shuttle Enterprise was mounted atop a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) and can be seen in the distance behind the Statue of Liberty.

Enterprise was de-mated from the SCA and placed on a barge that eventually was moved by tugboat up the Hudson River to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in June 2012.

Construction Milestones – OV-101

* 26 July 1972 Contract Award
* 4 June 1974 Start structural assembly of Crew Module
* 26 August 1974 Start structural assembly of aft-fuselage
* 23 May 1975 Wings arrive at Palmdale from Grumman
* 24 August 1975 Start of Final Assembly
* 12 March 1976 Completed Final Assembly
* 17 September 1976 Rollout from Palmdale
* 31 January 1977 Overland transport from Palmdale to Edwards
* 10 April 1979 Delivery to Kennedy Space Center.

Enterprise’s Flights:

Taxi Tests:

Three space taxi tests for Space Shuttle Enterprise were completed on 15th February 1977.

1. 15 February 1977 (Max. speed 89 Mph)
2. 15 February 1977 (Max. speed 140 Mph)
3. 15 February 1977 (Max. speed 157 Mph)

Captive-Inactive Flights:

Five Captive Inactive flight of Enterprise were performed in 1977.

1. 18 February 1977
2. 22 February 1977
3. 25 February 1977
4. 28 February 1977
5.  2 March 1977

Captive-Active Flights:
1. 18 June 1977
2. 28 June 1977
3. 26 July 1977

Free Flights:
1. 12 August 1977
2. 13 September 1977
3. 23 September 1977
4. 12 October 1977

* Enterprise is commonly referred to as OV-101 (Orbiter Vehicle-101).


Space Shuttle Enterprise Links and References:

Check out our Space Shop. Browse Space MagazinesSpace BooksSpace PostersTravelCalendars, Space T-Shirts plus more!

Any comments on the Space Shuttle Enterprise, click on Contact Info.