NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise Added to National Register of Historic Places

Not only is the Enterprise, NASA's original prototype space shuttle, a historic spacecraft, but now it's also a historic place. Located in New York City at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the test orbiter has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Enterprise is the first of NASA's retired space shuttles to receive the distinction, which is given out by the National Park Service.

The National Register of Historic Places is the United States' official list of properties considered worthy of preservation, and was first authorized in 1966 as part of the National Historic Preservation Act. The register is also part of a national program to coordinate and provide support for both public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect the U.S.'s historic and archeological resources.

The Enterprise is a full-scale test spacecraft that was used for flight trials inside the atmosphere and tests on the ground. It also helped to pave the way for orbiters worthy of space travel to launch into orbit.

The Enterprise was transferred to its permanent home in 2012 on board the Intrepid, a converted World War II aircraft carrier that is a National Historic Landmark. Before settling down in Manhattan, Enterprise was on display by the Smithsonian at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is the Virginia annex to the National Air and Space Museum.

The spacecraft's exhibit on the Intrepid's flight deck first opened to the public in July 2012. It unfortunately sustained some damage from Hurricane Sandy last fall, when it had only been open for three months. The pavillon was damaged beyond repair and the shuttle sustained some minor damage to its tale. A temporary shelter was taken down this week, which revealed that the Enterprise had been repaired. Preparations are now being made for a new display structure around the shuttle. The new space shuttle pavilion is expected to open to the public in early summer.

Enterprise was granted Historic Place status on March 13.

More than 1.4 million buildings, sites, districts, structures and objects have been added to the National Register of Historic Places since its creation in 1966, providing a link to the United States' heritage at the national, state, and local levels.