If jaded New York City residents can stop staring at their shoes for a few minutes this morning, they just might see the Space Shuttle Enterprise pass over their heads on the back of a 747. After a week of weather-related delays, Enterprise is scheduled to arrive over the city between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. local time, offering once-in-a-lifetime Instagram photo ops, as it makes a low-altitude pass by several notable landmarks in the metro area — like the Statue of Liberty — before landing at JFK Airport in Queens.
A similar fly-by paralyzed Washington, DC, last week, as mesmerized residents stopped in their tracks and flooded Twitter feeds and Facebook walls with the rare and exciting spectacle. Now New Yorkers will get a chance to return the favor to their friends in the capital, though we're sure they'll do it in a much more hip, yet ironic way. The west side of Manhattan and downtown near the water will probably offer the best vantage points, if you're not in a high enough high-rise building already.
The shuttle comes to New York so that it can eventually be delivered to the Intrepid Air & Space Museum, which is actually a retired aircraft carrier docked on Manhattan's West Side. After a few weeks at JFK, the shuttle will be placed on a barge and moved up the Hudson River and then lifted by cranes on to the Intrepid's flight deck, where it will become part of the permanent collection. Enterprise was the first working prototype built for the Shuttle Orbiter program and though it was used in upper atmosphere test flights, it never actually made it into space.
There's still a slight chance that high winds could scrub the flight, but you can follow @NASA for updates on the flight path. There will also be plenty of hashtags (#SpotTheShuttle appears to NASA's preferred one) where you can see pictures as they're uploaded or upload your own.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.