Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Third ALT of Space Shuttle Enterprise
23 Sep 1977

Flown by Haise and Fullerton, the five minute flight included an autopilot manoeuvre and was the last free flight with the tail cone attached.
Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) at Dryden all consisted of a ride atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (modified 747) - three captive and five free flights.
The last two free flights had simulated main engines and the OMS pods exposed for true aerodynamic man-in-the-loop testing.

Once the free flights were complete the ALT Program conducted four ferry flights.
Enterprise was readied by reinstalling the tailcone and lowering the cant of the orbiter on top the SCA from six degrees to three dgrees.

Now here is the cool part I bet you didn't know: Maybe I should wait and give you clues like Google did. Ha, mine would be better!
Did Space Shuttle Enterprise ever land at Marshall Spaceflight Center?

Of course not, there is no shuttle landing facility there. However, it was ferried to MSFC on March 13, 1978. It was mated to an External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters for a year-long series of verticle ground vibration tests. Enterprise was ferried to KSC on April 10, 1979 when the fit checks were done with Launch Complex 39A. So... the pad fit checks came after the flight tests, interesting!

Note: All photos of a white external tank and a completely white Space Shuttle on the pad are of Enterprise. Only the first three flights had a white ET (realized we could save weight by not painting the tank). However, Columbia had black paint on her wings.

Awesome site with lots more cool facts about Enterprise

Photos of ALT-3
Really, really cool photo of Enterprise @ Verticle Ground Vibration Tests

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