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Enterprise captive flight test

Feb 18, 1977

In 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 testing program (Feb-Nov 1977) at the Dryden Flight Research Facility. The Enterprise had its first free flight test on 12 Aug 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 honour 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. Read more about the Enterprise Shuttle here.