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Dan Rather uses a Star Wars reference to segue into a Space Shuttle Enterprise news report.


This is a small fragment of a program which aired on CBS that I recorded with an audio cassette recorder. It was some sort of CBS news report on the Space Shuttle. I don't think it was Space Shuttle: A 5 Billion Dollar Question Mark. I remember watching that later, perhaps around 1979. (Yes, that was the actual title of a CBS documentary. - Cringe!)

This is so short that I really have trouble identifying it.


(TIE Fighter battle can be heard in the background.)

"Star Wars".  It combines brand new technical gimicks with age-old 
adolescent fantasies.  "Flash Gordon" meets "The Wizard of Oz."  

It has become an instant classic, with the cult status of "Star 
Trek" or "2001."  It is this year's space fantasy, (clock ready) 
and . . . (19.3 KB)

End of the tape. The rest of the quote is something like
"this is this year's space reality."
The footage was of the separation of the Space Shuttle Enterprise from the 747 during the Approach and Landing Tests. It was most likely the first flight on August 12th, 1977. The other voice ("clock ready") was one of the two astronauts.

Background on the Enterprise

From February to October of 1977 the Space Shuttle Enterprise participated in a series flight tests to test the air-worthiness of the full-scale airframe. These involved mating the shuttle to a modified Boeing 747. This is the same 747 which transports the shuttles when they land at a place other than Kennedy Space Center.

During the first part of the tests, the 747 taxied around runways with the shuttle mounted atop the 747.

The second part of the tests was a series of five flights of the 747 with the shuttle unmanned. The first of these took place on February 18th, 1977.

Third in the tests was a series of three flights of the 747 with the shuttle manned by two-person crews: Haise & Fullerton and Engle & Truly (Their names are visable on the first emblem below. Engle & Truly flew the second flight of Columbia in 1981. Haise originally flew on Apollo 13. Fullerton flew on the third flight of Columbia in 1982.). The first of these flights took place on June 18th, 1977. The shuttle remained fixed to the 747 throughout all of these flights.

Fourth and last, came the actual release of the shuttle allowing it to glide to a runway landing. The first series would have a tail cone on Enterprise and the later flights would have the cone removed and be the closest to the actual configuration when returning from a space flight.

The same two-person crews flew all five of these glide flights. The first three with the tail-cone and the last two without it. The first took place on August 12th, 1977 and the last on October 26th, 1977.

Total flight time (on her own) for the Enterprise was 20 minutes and 59 seconds. She hasn't flown since.

(Information above condensed from the book "Space Shuttle" by David Baker, Ph.D. Published by Crown Publishing, Inc.)


Click on each picture to load a LARGER copy of the image.

ALT Patch STS Patch

Left Image:  Approach and Landing Test Emblem
             (14.0 KB)
Right Image: Space Transportation System Emblem
             (11.8 KB)
(Patches from my collection.)

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Copyright © 1997, Michael A. & Tammy G. Hendershot