Fun Fact September 17, 2020.
17 September 2020
Where were you on September 17th, 1976? It was on that day that NASA publicly unveils its first space shuttle, the Enterprise, during a ceremony in Palmdale, California. Development of the aircraft-like spacecraft cost almost $10 billion and took nearly a decade. In 1977, the Enterprise became the first space shuttle to fly freely when it was lifted to a height of 25,000 feet by a Boeing 747 airplane and then released, gliding back to Edwards Air Force Base on its own accord. Regular flights of the space shuttle began on April 12, 1981, with the launching of Columbia from Cape Canaveral, Flordia. Two solid-rocket boosters and an external tank lifted the shuttle into orbit around Earth. When the two-day mission was completed, the shuttle fired engines to reduce speed and, after descending through the atmosphere, landed like a glider at California’s Edwards Air Force Base. I remember watching the test flights and the actual landing after the first mission in awe.