The Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise flies free of NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) during one of five free flights carried out at the Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, California in 1977 as part of the Shuttle program's Approach and Landing Tests (ALT). The tests were conducted to verify orbiter aerodynamics and handling characteristics in preparation for orbital flights with the Space Shuttle Columbia. A tail cone over the main engine area of Enterprise smoothed out turbulent airflow during flight. It was removed on the two last free flights to accurately check approach and landing characteristics.
Credit: NASA/Dryden Flight Research Center
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