On February 18, 1977, the first space shuttle orbiter prototype, the Enterprise, was flight tested for two hours in “inert captive mode,” attached to the top of a 747 jumbo jet. The flight was the first of five captive flights in the nine-month-long Approach and Landing Test program (Feb-Nov 1977) at the Dryden Flight Research Facility. The Enterprise had its first free flight test on August 12, 1977, when the orbiter was released from the carrier 747 in flight, and demonstrated that the shuttle could fly in the atmosphere and land like an airplane, except without power-gliding flight. The orbiter was originally to be known as Constitution (to honor the U.S. Constitution's Bicentennial). However, a write-in campaign by fans of the TV show Star Trek convinced the White House to name the vehicle Enterprise.
Books in our collection
A Tribble's guide to space by Alan C. Tribble
Riding rockets: the outrageous tales of a space shuttle astronaut by R. Mike Mullane
The story of the space shuttle by David M. Harland