As you know I’ve been a life long Star Trek fan. Especially the original series. It was groundbreaking, innovative, risk taking, ahead of its time and just plain fun! For about fifty years, Star Trek has been part of the human lexicon. Memorable characters, technology and stories about the human condition that endure to this very day.
Gene Roddenberry had a great idea that NBC took and ran with. They made the vision truly memorable. Set it the future (the 23rd Century circa 2265-2268 roughly) Star Trek was a look at a possible future for mankind. we had outgrown our modern and past prejudices and hatred. Humanity had evolved to a better state. One where improving oneself is much more important that personal wealth and gain. A very utopian dream that we could one day achieve. Especially since all of the turmoil of the 1960’s when the show was created. The technology was also ahead of its time and influenced much of what we take for granted today. PC’s, cell phones, and tablets just to name a few.
One of the most groundbreaking ideas is the design of the the famous U.S.S. Enterprise. Walter “Matt” Jefferies created a design that broke from what was the norm at the time. It wasn’t a rocket or a flying saucer, but a clever blend of the two. It was also something that was neither. Gene Roddenberry wanted something that was not either of the aforementioned designs ( although I Have to admit I LOVE those, too! ) He really created something magical. It still is like almost nothing else before or since. It was the unnamed star of the show for three years on broadcast television, and lives immortally in the hearts of fans worldwide.
Fast forward to February 10, 2015. The studio miniature (at eleven feet long and around 200 pounds, miniature is a bit of a misnomer, but I digress) is about to be given a complete restoration. The Enterprise has been in the Smithsonian’s National Air And Space Museum There were two previous restorations done, with mixed results. One in 1974 and another done in 1991. This shall be the best of the three an should preserve this important artifact for generations to come. It’s been a springboard for the imaginations of millions who have seen the show over the years. So it’s a fitting tribute to place it in the NASM for all visitors to see.
This is very important to me as well. Who would’ve thought that a little show would have such long lasting contributions to the world? One note. The video below mentions that the photograph was 1965. The model was actually delivered in December of 1964! Also Lead curator Margaret Weitekamp’s comments about the ship in 1 gee are a bit peculiar. No where in Star Trek canon is it stated that the design isn’t capable of withstanding earth;s gravity. The ship was built in zero g at the San Francisco shipyards. It has been postulated by some over the years that since she was built in zero g, that she couldn’t withstand one or more gs. Two original series episodes show however, that this isn’t the case.
The first is “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”. The Enterprise is detected by radar over earth in the 20th century. It’s actually IN the atmosphere and is intercepted by a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. The episode is set in the year 1967. The ship leaves the atmosphere and attains orbit with no ill effects. The second is “Requiem For Methuselah”. Flint actually shrinks the Enterprise and places her on a desk in his domicile. Once again a one g environment. The ship is returned to its proper size, again, with no ill effects (in the second case, it’s the last time that we see the three foot miniature that was delivered as a proof of concept for the design).
This is related to another survivor. The full size mock-up of the Galileo shuttlecraft! I will write about that in a later article. Without further ado, the video below with tell the story of the impending restoration! Enjoy! Until next time!
Ahead Warp Factor One!