Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Stamps & Covers
  Space Cover 180: Enterprise and the ALT Program

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Space Cover 180: Enterprise and the ALT Program
Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-21-2012 02:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 180 (Sept. 23, 2012)

Space Cover #180: The Space Shuttle's First Flights: Enterprise and the Approach and Landing Tests

35 years ago, from February to October 1977, NASA's first space shuttle orbiter, OV-101 Enterprise, was involved in the Approach and Landing Test (ALT) Program at Edwards AFB, CA. ALT was designed to test the flight characteristics of the space shuttle orbiters, by simulating a typical approach and landing profile from orbit.

Enterprise was carried aloft a total of 13 times by a Boeing 747, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA). The first five flights, from February 18 to March 2, 1977, were called Inactive Captive flights (Enterprise unmanned), then from June 18 to July 26, three more flights took place, called Active Captive, with Enterprise manned by a 2-man astronaut/pilot crew. And then on August 12, Enterprise was released from atop the SCA for its first of five free flights. Piloting Enterprise on its first, third and fifth free flights were Fred Haise and Gordon Fullerton. Joe Engle and Richard Truly piloted Enterprise on its second and fourth free flights. These five flights were the only time that Enterprise ever flew alone.

The top cover is a Rockwell Space Division Stamp Club cover for Enterprise's rollout from its assembly plant in Palmdale in September 1976. It is also canceled for its final free flight on October 26, 1977 and autographed by the four NASA astronaut pilots who comprised the two 2-man flight crews. the bottom NASA Exchange cover marks the first of five Inactive Captive flights and is autographed by the SCA crew, including SCA commander Fitz Fulton.

The top cover, autographed by the crew of Haise and Fullerton, marks Enterprise's first manned Active Captive flight. The bottom cover marks Enterprise's first of five free flights.

The top cover marks Enterprise's second free flight and is autographed by the crew of Joe Engle and Richard Truly. The bottom cover is canceled for the first ALT free flight and is autographed by the SCA crew and the four ALT Enterprise astronaut pilots.

Enterprise did its important part in paving the way for the later shuttle orbital flights and is now residing as a museum piece at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in NYC.

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 09-21-2012 08:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great thread Bob! Especially when coming just after the last flight where an Orbiter had air beneath its wings (the OV-105 ferry flight that ended today with a landing at LAX)!

I remember that first ALT free-flight quite well! It was a Saturday. I was a junior in engineering school, going into my senior year. My best friend in college was getting married on that Saturday, August 12, 1977 out in far western Kansas. We had his bachelor party the night before. Luckily we were able to come back to life in time to see the first ALT free-flight on a B&W TV in a motel out there in western Kansas. As a junior engineering student, I was convinced that OV-101 would slide back and impact the SCA's vertical stabilizer on release. Luckily (part deux), I was wrong! We went on to the marriage ceremony later that day, and much later I figured out the error in my calculation that OV-101 would slide into the vertical stabilizer...

Anyhoo, the below cover was machine canceled at Edwards for the August 12, 1977 first free flight of a Shuttle Orbiter. The cachet is the Rockwell Stamp Club contractor cachet for that flight. Then, some kind soul collected hand cancelled Edwards postmarks upon it for each of the subsequent ALT free flights for OV-101!

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-22-2012 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's quite a cover, Dennis. Yes, there was some concern about the danger of the orbiter striking the SCA's vertical stabilizer when it was released off the top of the SCA. But the pair were put into a shallow dive and the orbiter popped up and away just as planned.

I also saw the first ALT free flight on TV and it was quite a tense "launch."

We've had 179 previous SCOTW presentations without anything on the fascinating and important ALT/Enterprise program and glad to finally present something about ALT.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-27-2012 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a sampling of some other ALT Enterprise covers, as ALT was covered (no pun intended) very well by various cover servicers and cachet designers.

The top cover is a Robert Boudwin cover for the final Inactive Captive flight of the joined SCA/Enterprise combo.

The next cover is a double canceled Stan Henderson 3-Muscateers cover for the aborted first manned Active Captive flight. And then canceled for the actual first Active Captive flight the next day.

The bottom over is a handsome Rockwell Space Division Stamp Club cover double canceled for the first and last ALT/Enterprise Free Flights.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement