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A New York Barge Pilot Smashed The Shuttle's Wing

Illustration for article titled A New York Barge Pilot Smashed The Shuttles Wing

Jeezis. This is why we can't have nice things. After the prototype Space Shuttle Enterprise was flown spectacularly into New York a bit over a month ago, yesterday it was just a touch less spectacularly floated on a barge through New York Harbor for temporary storage in New Jersey.

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There it will wait until its permanent home aboard the Intrepid is ready. En route, however, the orbiter was treated to that most special of New York welcomes, the fender bender.

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The barge driver, possibly unused to hauling gigantic spaceships, rammed part of the Enterprise's wing into a dock. Oops. The damage to the right wing seems to be the rear side of the wing, with (what would be on a real shuttle) the carbon-carbon wing edging sheared off. Since it's never destined to fly again, the damage is purely cosmetic.

But, still. That shuttle was a gift. Keep this up, and let's see if NASA gives you any more spaceships.

Thankfully, the damage to the dock appears minimal.

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DISCUSSION

The Enterprise was designed to "fly," just not in space since it had no engines nor a heat shield. Numerous flight tests were conducted with it before the first launch (with Columbia). The only reason it was never made space-worthy was the fact that too many changes had been made between the time it was built, to the time Columbia launched that it was deemed cheaper to build a third orbiter instead (Challenger).