On 5 June 1983, space shuttle Enterprise touched down at Stansted airport as part of a European tour that also took in Germany, France and Italy. Crowds of 200,000 people turned out to watch the unique spectacle, while many more watched the flight over west and north London (pic of the aircraft over Heathrow). Unfortunately, bad weather forced the cancellation of a Thames flyover. We can only assume that the tabloid press ran with headlines of 'Euston, we have a problem'.
Although it flew several unaided atmospheric flights, and here crossed the Atlantic atop a modified 747, STS Enterprise never flew into orbit. It was 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 a vigorous campaign by Star Trek fans.
Long-term readers may remember our successful April Fool's joke inspired by the shuttle-747 configuration.