A shuttle, the “Enterprise”, flew, but never flew in low-earth orbit.
The “Enterprise” was an experimental model, never intended to travel into space. It’s only “air time” was when it was taken aloft like we are used to seeing it moved, like today…on the back of a Boeing 747. It did not always land that way, however.
There were 6 “flights”, one unmanned and 5 with a testing crew, in which the Enterprise was taken aloft and landed attached to the 747. These flights were to test systems and to see how the combination flew and how the combined craft responded. (The pucker factor for the first 747 pilot on the first flight must have been REALLY high…LOL. If you don’t know what “pucker factor” is, I’m not telling…this IS a family-safe blog).[read more...]