My first memory of the US Space program took place in August of 1977. On that late summer morning, seven-year-old me stood in front of the television watching history being made. On TV, a Boeing 747 flew over the California desert with a special passenger: the Space Shuttle Enterprise. In a few minutes’ time, the test shuttle was going to separate from the jumbo jet for its first flight test.
Enterprise sat on top of the 747 waiting for the moment when it would be released and glide through the air. Enterprise didn’t have any engines, so when it separated from the 747, it would gracefully glide for a number of minutes on its own until it made a landing on a dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.