NASA often refers to its space shuttles as orbiters, but the very first of the shuttles never actually made it into orbit. Then again, it wasn't supposed to. In 1977, four years before the shuttle Columbia would become the first of the airplane-like spacecraft to leave the atmosphere (the anniversary is Monday), NASA conducted a series of ground and flight tests with a version called the Enterprise.
The shuttle Enterprise, officially designated OV-101, was commanded by former Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise (left), teamed with C. Gordon Fullerton, who served as pilot. (Two other NASA astronaut crew members, Joe Engle and Dick Truly, also got a chance at the helm.)
April 11, 2010 6:00 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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