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U.S. space shuttle Enterprise ready to make public debut

07-19-2012 06:28 BJT

NEW YORK, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The new space shuttle pavilion at New York's Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum will open to the public on Thursday, offering an up-close and personal view of NASA' s first space shuttle Enterprise.

During the press preview on Wednesday, Xinhua reporter saw the shuttle and its exhibits are currently housed in a huge white inflatable structure on the Intrepid's flight deck, where it will remain for the next couple of years as the museum plans to build a separate permanent structure to house the Enterprise.

On the opening day, visitors are able to walk underneath and around the Enterprise in the pavilion and view displays explaining the history of the space shuttle program.

"One thing visitors might want to check out is the area of the shuttle's left wing," Jessica Williams, curator of the exhibit, told Xinhua. Visitors who walk over there and take a look at the edge of the wing will see different panels and areas, where the scars from the testing still survive. That's one particular area to look at."

The pavilion opening on Thursday will be celebrated by a five- day long Space Feast, featuring a free concert, special hands-on robotics and astronomy displays, and opportunities to meet former and current astronauts, many of whom have ties to the New York City area.

The Enterprise was NASA's first space shuttle and a prototype which performed tests in 1977 within the Earth's atmosphere. The shuttle was on display at a Smithsonian Institute museum in Washington D.C. before taking flight from Virginia's Dulles International Airport on April 27 and making its final flight to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

The prototype space shuttle rode a barge from Jersey City, New Jersey to the Intrepid on June 6 and was lifted onto the deck of the aircraft carrier Intrepid, its new and permanent home in New York.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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