The Space Shuttle Enterprise Was Originally Named?
The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first orbital craft in NASA’s Space Shuttle program. While we have thousands of NASA employees to thank for designing, building, and launching the craft, we have thousands of a different sort of people to thank for naming it: Trekkies.
NASA’s original name for the craft was the Space Shuttle Constitution. It was a perfectly sensible, traditional, and practical name that not only harkened back to the names of earlier American vessels, but was particularly befitting because the shuttle was scheduled to be unveiled on September 17, 1976—Constitution Day.
While that’s a fine name, fans of the sci-fi series Star Trek couldn’t believe we were sending the shuttle up with any other name besides Enterprise, a nod to the iconic starship that served as the stage for the beloved show. Hundreds of thousands of letters later, President Gerald Ford responded to the letter campaign directed at the White House by giving NASA a gentle nudge towards renaming the shuttle and White House advisers joked that Star Trek fans were the most dedicated constituency in the country. Naturally, as seen in the photo here, most of the principal cast of the show attended the unveiling of the shuttle.
Image courtesy of NASA.