Shuttle Enterprise damaged en route to New York City museum

11:32 AM, Jun 5, 2012   |    comments
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The Space Shuttle Enterprise is loaded onto a barge in a canal near John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Saturday, June 2, 2012.



(Florida Today) -- Enterprise's right wing sustained minor damage when it scraped a railroad bridge abutment during its barge ride to a new display site in New York City.

The prototype space shuttle orbiter was on its way from John F. Kennedy Airport to a layover in Jersey City, N.J. on Sunday, before embarking on the final leg of its journey up the Hudson River to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Clearances passing under several bridges was tight, according to a report by Robert Pearlman, editor of CollectSpace (

According to an account and photos obtained by CollectSpace, the edge of Enterprise's right wing sustained non-structural, "cosmetic" damage, with foam chunks peeled off the rear elevon, or wing flap. The orbiter was to be barged up to the Intrepid today, but the museum said Monday that would be delayed until at least Wednesday due to weather. An update on the museum's Web site,, made no mention of the barge incident, but the museum did confirm the damage to CollectSpace.

"A sudden microburst of wind, measured at 35 knots, caused the rub panel foam protective layer of the wingtip of Enterprise to graze the protective wood piling bumpers in the water designed to bumper vessels," the museum said.

Enterprise is one of four retired orbiters NASA awarded to museums for public display.

It was ferried from the Smithsonian Institution in April to make way for Discovery, which is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

NASA is targeting a Sept. 20 ferry flight of Endeavour to Los Angeles, Calif., and the California Science Center. Atlantis is expected to move to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in November.

James Dean, Florida Today

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