Aviation News

October 31, 2012

Space Shuttle Enterprise Damaged During Hurricane Sandy

More articles by »
Written by: Phil Derner Jr.
Tags: , ,

Damage throughout the New York area is on a catastrophic level, as many were simply not expecting Hurricane Sandy to deliver the punch that it did. However, one unfortunate casualty that was supposed to be prepared for such a storm was the Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum.

Several images show that the protective bubble that covered Enterprise on the deck of the USS Intrepid, deflated and then exposed the shuttle, leaving it to lose a chunk of its tail.

This is the second time in the Intrepid’s 7-month ownership of Enterprise that it received damage. In May, during it’s delivery from JFK Airport to the museum’s Pier 86 location, its right wing clipped a bridge pillar, taking out a chunk of the wing tip.

The protective bubble was built to withstand a “100 year storm”, which was one of the requirements set forth by NASA in deciding which facilities would be granted one of the four retired Space Shuttles. However, it seems Intrepid’s 100 year storm plan didn’t consider the possibility of the loss of electricity that occurred during Sandy, which caused the bubble to deflate and allowed the priceless aerospace artifact to become susceptible to damage.

No one knows of possible further damage that we could not see from afar, which could be various scrapes or other missing pieces that Enterprise may have received while exposed during Hurricane Sandy, which brought sustained winds of over 80mph to New York City earlier in the week.

We are still awaiting word from Intrepid Museum on a more detailed damage assessment and repair timeline. Susan Marenoff-Zausner, President of the museum, issued a release that referred people to their website for further details, but their website was not operational at press time.

Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first airframe of the program built, and it was used as a prototype to test landings and aerodynamic analysis, setting the stage for later versions that would operate 135 missions to space over a 30-year career.

Stay tuned to NYCAviation for more information.

Closeup of Enterprise’s tail damage.

Webcam “before” view of enterprise’s protective bubble.

About the Author

Phil Derner Jr.
Phil Derner founded NYCAviation in 2003. A lifetime aviation enthusiast that grew up across the water from La Guardia Airport, Phil has aviation experience as a Loadmaster, Operations Controller and Flight Dispatcher. He owns and operates NYCAviation and performs duties as an aviation expert through writing, consulting, public speaking and media appearances. You can reach him by email or follow him on Twitter.



Today in Aviation History: November 18th

Boeing's first monoplane makes its first flight, the X-15 sets a Mach 6 speed record, the Battle of Berlin begins, and more...
by admin

Tens of thousands of vehicles damaged by super storm Sandy are being temporarily stored on runways and taxiways at Calverton Executive Airpark in Calverton, New York, on January 9, 2013 in this aerial view. Insurance Auto Auctions Inc, a salvage auto auction company specializing in total-loss vehicles, acquired the cars and trucks and will put them up for auction. (Photo by Stan Honda/AFP)

Sandy Turns Long Island Airport Into Vast Used Car Purgatory

Cars -- thousands upon thousands of them -- roughed up to one extent or another by Superstorm Sandy, are sitting on a Calverton runway.
by AFP


Water laps at a jetway outside LaGuardia's Central Terminal. (Photo via Fox5)

NYCAviation’s Top 10 Most Popular Stories Of 2012

From space shuttles to Sandy, a look back at our most popular stories of 2012.
by NYCAviation Staff

O hai. Hurricanes suck. (Photo by Southwest Airlines)

Cutest Flight Ever: Southwest Rescues 60 Dogs And Cats Stranded By Hurricane Sandy

Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld teamed up to deliver 60 pets from two northeast shelters to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Calif.
by admin

New York Magazine's Hurricane Sandy cover, "The City and the Storm."

New York Mag’s Stunning Sandy Cover Was Shot From A Moving Helicopter

How photographer Iwan Baan captured Hurricane Sandy's Manhattan blackout in one photo.
by admin