^Oh, yes, Lucas was definitely trying to take advantage of ST's coattails. He used ST's success to sell studios on the idea that a sci-fi adventure could be profitable (as he acknolwedged not long ago in Rod Roddenberry's Trek Nation
documentary), and he consciously gave his movie a name that sounded similar to Star Trek
. Not to mention cribbing terminology like tractor beams and deflector shields, and near-equivalent terms like "proton torpedoes."
It's hard to remember now, when Star Wars
has become the definitive space opera for a generation, but of course before 1977 there was no SW, and ST was just about the biggest thing ever in mass-media science fiction in the United States, aside from maybe 2001
or Planet of the Apes
. (Doctor Who
was bigger in the UK, but had rarely been seen stateside at that point.) So it was pretty much a given that any new space opera jockeying for popular appeal would be influenced by ST.