As we know Leonard Nimoy passed away last week and to remember him NASA has released several images. This one from 1976 shows the cast of Star Trek witnessing the roll out of the shuttle named after the iconic ship from the series.
The shuttle Enterprise was a prototype and used for testing and never actually was used for spaceflight. It was meant to but by the time the first launch was scheduled the design of the shuttle had gone through some significant changes and it was a newer version, the Challenger, that actually launched.
As for the name, the story goes like this: Star Trek fans started a a letter-writing campaign sent to then President Gerald Ford asking that the orbiter be named after the Starship Enterprise. Although Ford did not mention the campaign he claimed that he was “partial to the name” and directed NASA officials to name it Enterprise. So there you go.
The Shuttle Enterprise
In 1976, NASA’s space shuttle Enterprise rolled out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities and was greeted by NASA officials and cast members from the ‘Star Trek’ television series.
From left to right they are: NASA Administrator Dr. James D. Fletcher; DeForest Kelley, who portrayed Dr. “Bones” McCoy on the series; George Takei (Mr. Sulu); James Doohan (Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott); Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura); Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock); series creator Gene Roddenberry; U.S. Rep. Don Fuqua (D.-Fla.); and, Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov).
NASA is mourning the passing today, Feb. 27, 2015, of actor Leonard Nimoy, most famous for his role as Star Trek’s Vulcan science officer Mr. Spock. The sci-fi classic served as an inspiration for many at NASA over the years, and Nimoy joined other cast members at special NASA events and worked to promote NASA missions, as in this 2007 video he narrated before the launch of the Dawn mission to the asteroid belt. Nimoy also was there for the 1976 rollout of the shuttle Enterprise, named for the show’s iconic spacecraft.
Image Credit: NASA | Courtesy of NASA.org
Also, here is the promotional video narrated by Nimoy mentioned in the article: