Updated 07/19/2012 12:21 AM
NY1 Exclusive: Intrepid Museum Offers Sneak Peek Of Enterprise Shuttle Pavilion
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Visitors will get the chance Thursday to get up-close and personal with the space shuttle prototype Enterprise at its new home at Manhattan's Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, and NY1 is getting an exclusive sneak peek of the shuttle's pavilion.
The shuttle prototype is suspended 10 feet from the floor of the pavilion, allowing visitors to walk around and under the spacecraft.
There are also displays explaining the history of the space shuttle program and now the Enterprise was important in developing shuttle technology.
"Surrounding the shuttle herself is an exhibit that speaks about space history, about shuttle history and it's also an exhibit that speaks about space history, about shuttle history, and it's also an exhibit that will help challenge our thinking about what is America's role in space in the future," said Intrepid Museum President Susan Marenoff-Zausner.
"It's always exciting to stand near space hardware and even though I've flown on three shuttle missions, I still get a thrill from being close to space hardware and part of the history of the agency and part of America," said astronaut Ellen Baker.
"It's very exciting, even for me," said Marco Runco Jr., a former astronaut and Bronx native. "If we can spark interest in science and engineering and exploration in our young people, to get them motivated, to pursue careers in those fields would just be wonderful."
Runco noted that the exhibit allows people to get closer to a shuttle than he was allowed in the processing center of the Kennedy Space Center when he was an active astronaut.
Visitors who had never been to space were thrilled at the sight.
"I got goosebumps. I watched it come in at Kennedy, I watched from Pier 84 when they transferred it here, and I just couldn't wait to see it," said one onlooker.
"We saw it flying over Manhattan when it was coming in, so now we've seen it here, so it's kind of exciting, what they've done. It's beautiful," said a second.
"I had this as a model when I was young, and this is a lot bigger, so, I'm envious that I didn't fly in this thing," said a third.
In April, the Enterprise flew on the back of a 747 jet from Washington, D.C. to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
During June, the Enterprise was moved on barge from Queens to New Jersey and then to Manhattan's West Side.
The pavilion at the Intrepid is sponsored by NY1's parent company, Time Warner Cable. The museum is still looking at various options for a permanent home for the Enterprise.
The museum will also hold the so-called Samsung Space Fest this weekend to celebrate the opening of the exhibit.