Space shuttle Enterprise floats to Manhattan home (Images)

Jun 06, 2012
The space shuttle Enterprise is carried on a barge up the Hudson River on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in New York. The prototype space shuttle will be hoisted by crane onto the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum which is permanently docked on the west side of Manhattan. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP) — New Yorkers lined the city's West Side waterfront to welcome the space shuttle Enterprise as it sailed up the Hudson River on Wednesday to its new home aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

The prototype space shuttle rode a barge from Jersey City, New Jersey, to the Intrepid, where it was being hoisted by crane onto the flight deck.

A flotilla of vessels including a police boat, a Fire Department boat and a yellow taxi boat accompanied the Enterprise as it sailed past the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center site and other landmarks en route to the Intrepid in midtown Manhattan.

"I've never seen a space shuttle, and I'm looking at one," said Thomas Hoffler, 69, who described himself as homeless. "I'm just spellbound.

Fashion photographer Stewart Shining, 47, said his young nephews in California had emailed him to ask if he could see the Enterprise.

The space shuttle Enterprise makes the final leg of its journey to its new Manhattan home on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in New York. The U.S. space agency, NASA, ended its shuttle program last year. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

"I just walked over and had a peep and took some pictures," he said.

Multimedia producer Tara Gore also took a break from work to watch the shuttle.

"There's so much going on in New York that you can walk out of your office and see the space shuttle floating by," she said.

Space shuttle Enterprise, bottom right, riding on a barge, cruises on the Hudson River near a Lower Manhattan on its way to the Intrepid Sea and Space Museum in New York, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Jersey City, N.J. Enterprise will go on display at the museum. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Space shuttle Enterprise, left, riding on a barge, cruises on the Hudson River near a Statue of Liberty ferry on its way to the Intrepid Sea and Space Museum, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Jersey City, N.J. Enterprise will go on display at the museum. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Enterprise's original move-in date was Tuesday. Organizers said Monday that bad weather had delayed preparation work.

The shuttle was towed to New Jersey from Kennedy Airport on Sunday.

Space shuttle Enterprise, riding on a barge, cruises on the Hudson River near the Verrazano Bridge on its way to the Intrepid Sea and Space Museum, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Jersey City, N.J. Enterprise will go on display at the museum. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A spokeswoman for the Intrepid said the shuttle's wingtip sustained light cosmetic damage during the Sunday trip when a gust of wind caused it to graze a wood piling.

The Enterprise never went on an actual space mission; it was a full-scale test vehicle used for flights in the atmosphere and experiments on the ground.

The space shuttle Enterprise, a prototype which never flew in space, travels up the Hudson River by barge to it's new home aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Wednesday, June 6, 2012 in New York. The U.S. space agency, NASA, ended its shuttle program last year. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It comes to New York as part of NASA's decision to end the shuttle program after 30 years. It is scheduled to open to the public in mid-July.

Many who watched the shuttle's passage up the Hudson posted photos on Twitter.

Maricel Presilla, a food writer, tweeted, "WOW. Space shuttle passes by the Hudson on its way to Intrepid. Big deal to see it on the water."

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