The first space shuttle, Enterprise, never made it to space, but it did make it to Stansted Airport.
On 5 June 1983, the shuttle touched down at the airport as part of a European tour that also took in Germany, France and Italy. Crowds of 200,000 people turned out to watch this historic event.
Although it flew several unaided atmospheric flights, and crossed the Atlantic atop a modified 747, STS Enterprise never flew into orbit as it was actually designed as a test vehicle to demonstrate that the spaceship could manoeuvre and land like a conventional aircraft.
It was named after the famous command of Captain James T. Kirk, following an enthusiastic campaign by Star Trek fans and is now on public display at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City.
The controllers at Stansted Airport’s tower have unearthed some amazing photographs of this spectacular event, which we share with you here to mark its 31st anniversary.
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