The Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum combines four major vehicles into one experience – the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier, the US Navy Growler submarine, a prototype of the NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise, and the famous British Airways Concorde supersonic jet.
The USS Intrepid aircraft carrier was launched in 1943 and fought in World War II, surviving five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. The ship later served in the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and served as a NASA recovery vessel in the 1960s. It was decommissioned in 1974, and today is berthed on the Hudson River as the centerpiece of the museum.
On the enormous flight deck of the Intrepid stands several fully restored national and international fighter jets, including an Avenger torpedo bomber, and an A-12 Blackbird – the spy plane from the Cold War.
Located between the flight deck and hangar deck, the gallery deck features the combat information center and the squadron ready room.
The hanger deck contains an interactive exhibit of some of the hardware that was in use during the active duty days of this aircraft carrier. You can climb into a Bell 47 helicopter, navigate through an interactive submarine, and steer an airplane.
The third deck was home to crew quarters and the mess hall. The restored galleries on this deck give you an up-close and personal look into what shipboard life was like on this vessel.
The Space Shuttle Pavillion showcases a real prototype Space Shuttle Enterprise from NASA that paved the way for the Space Shuttle program in this country. 17 exhibits in the pavilion feature original artifacts, photographs, and multimedia presentations that explain the science and history of the Enterprise and the space shuttle era in this country.
An original Russian built Soyuz space capsule is also on display in the pavilion which allows us to compare the two spacecraft.
The Enterprise prototype was flown from Washington, DC to JFK Airport in April 2012 atop a specially outfitted 747 NASA Shuttle Carrier plane. Later in the year, the prototype was loaded onto a barge for the trip from JFK to New Jersey and then up the Hudson River—passing the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower—to the Intrepid Museum. On July 19, 2012 the Space Shuttle Pavilion, featuring the Enterprise, was opened to the public.
The USS Growler guided missile submarine offers a firsthand look at what life was like aboard a submarine, and visitors get a chance to see close-up the once top secret missile command center on board. It’s the only American guided missile submarine open to the public.
The crew ate in the mess hall. For relaxation, they played games and watched movies in this same space. Next to the crew’s mess was the galley, a tiny kitchen where Growler’s cooks prepared all of the crew’s meals.
The Growler crew steered the submarine from the three seats in the control room. Growler’s two periscopes, which allowed crew members to scan the surface of the water, are located in the center of the room.
The Growler has two torpedo rooms, one located at the bow and another a stern. The torpedoes were primarily intended for self-defense. This torpedo room also contained nine bunks for crew members who were on shift in the torpedo room.
This speed record-breaking supersonic jet made a 2 hour and 52 minute journey across the Atlantic on February 7, 1996. It first flew across the Atlantic on August 25, 1976.
The Concorde Alpha Delta G-BOAD is a product of British and French cooperation. When the Concorde entered Air France and British Airways transatlantic service in 1976, it was the only operational supersonic passenger transport in the world. With a crew of nine, the Concorde could fly at 1,350 mph at an altitude of 60,000 ft.
60,000 feet is high enough for its 100 passengers to see the curvature of the earth on the flight.
Concordes crossed the Atlantic Ocean in under three hours on a regular basis for passengers wealthy enough to afford the ticket. That’s less than half the time of any other jetliner flying that route today.
After an accident in 2000 which grounded the fleet for a year and after protests over fuel consumption and noise pollution by environmental groups, both the British and French retired the fleet in 2003, thus ending the supersonic passenger era.