The final frontier may be tough, but, as a damaged wingtip proves, the space shuttle Enterprise's final journey by barge through New York is no picnic.

The Enterprise suffered minor damage to a wingtip when it collided with a piling near a bridge while being transported to a museum on the former aircraft carrier Intrepid in Manhattan.

The accident happened on Sunday and damaged a protective layer of foam on the craft's wingtip, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum said.

"While approaching the Railroad Bridge, a sudden microburst of wind, measured at 35 knots, caused the rub panel foam protective layer of the wingtip of the Enterprise to graze the protective wood piling bumpers in the water designed to bumper vessels," the museum said in a statement.

"There was no damage to the bridge and light cosmetic damage to the protective layer."

Squally weather has complicated the schedule of the river trip, which began at John F. Kennedy Airport and was meant to end with the Enterprise being craned up onto Intrepid on Tuesday.

That operation is now scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

A prototype, Enterprise was completed in 1976, then used for atmospheric test flights the following year. It never flew in space, unlike the other five members of the fleet.