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Old September 2 2013, 01:36 PM   #1
Robert Comsol
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How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterprise

As part of my ongoing "educational" efforts I felt it necessary to start researching a bit more of Star Trek related NASA history.

Here is a genuine article from 1976 how NASA changed the name of the first (atmospheric testlight only) Space Shuttle from Constitution to Enterprise.

In retrospect one may be tempted to ask "What was wrong with those fans?"

An overdose of The Making of Star Trek, some kind of allergic reaction to the works of Franz Joseph, a conspiracy instigated by Walter Matt Jefferies or else?

Of all the stories revolving around Star Trek, that's one I would like to hear more of.

If anyone can provide further background details (i.e. who initiated the campaign, what did Gene Roddenberry say about the name change etc.) please share it with us.

And don't look at me. I did not initiate this campaign against the Constitution.

Bob
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Old September 2 2013, 01:50 PM   #2
Avon
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

it was probably more 'we want a shuttle called enterprise because we like star trek', not 'we specifically hate the name constitution for some reason'.

but you can't be sure with Trekites
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Old September 2 2013, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

Hooray for the letter writing campaign by the fans. Great work.
Thank you President Ford!
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Old September 2 2013, 02:18 PM   #4
feek61
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

Originally the first shuttle was going to be retrofitted after the atmospheric flight test to allow it to go into space (isn't that something; the Enterprise refit, lol). It ultimately was deemed too expensive to modify the first shuttle for space flight so they just built one from the ground up which was cheaper. If it had been know back in the day that the first shuttle would never go into space; I doubt very seriously if the fans would have united to have the name changed. It always made me kind of sad that there was never an "Enterprise" that made it into orbit.
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Old September 2 2013, 02:24 PM   #5
The Old Mixer
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

Maybe someday, with some future generation of spacecraft. It was a distinguished name prior to Trek, and a lot of later-generation scientists, astronauts, etc. have been Trek fans.
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Old September 2 2013, 02:58 PM   #6
Robert Comsol
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

junxon wrote: View Post
It was probably more 'we want a shuttle called enterprise because we like star trek', not 'we specifically hate the name constitution for some reason'.
Hmm...you're possibly right, but surely the fans must have felt compelled to deliver some good reasons against Constitution and on behalf of Enterprise.

And the newspaper article I linked, mentioned that Enterprise had a more international sound to it than Constitution. Which happens to be exactly the same reason why Gene Roddenberry discarded the original Yorktown proposal and went for Enterprise instead.




The picture from the official ceremony. I think I know the gentleman between Roddenberry and Koenig, but I forgot his name.

And if I'm not mistaken that's Jesco von Puttkamer (second on the right from Koenig) who's looking at the Enterprise and probably thinking "If they ever do a Star Trek film I'd like to contribute scientific expertise and explain how the warp drive could function."

Bob
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Old September 2 2013, 03:18 PM   #7
Gojira
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

I never saw the naming of the Shuttle as being against the name Constitution. I think that Shuttle could have been named anything else and Trek fans still would have wanted the name Enterprise.
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Old September 2 2013, 03:33 PM   #8
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

Gojira wrote: View Post
I never saw the naming of the Shuttle as being against the name Constitution. I think that Shuttle could have been named anything else and Trek fans still would have wanted the name Enterprise.
I feel the same.

@ Bob: Thanks for that pic. I remember watching that live back in the day. I was so thrilled that the first one was named Enterprise.
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Old September 2 2013, 03:42 PM   #9
J.T.B.
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

I know they aren't the same type of vessel, but I like reserving the name "Constitution" only for the frigate in Boston.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
The picture from the official ceremony. I think I know the gentleman between Roddenberry and Koenig, but I forgot his name.
The guy on the left is NASA administrator James Fletcher, the other is George Low, deputy administrator.

Leisure suits were apparently the uniform of the day for the male crew...
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Old September 2 2013, 04:21 PM   #10
The Old Mixer
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri



This week, Leonard Nimoy takes us In Search Of...the Space Shuttle Constitution.
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Old September 2 2013, 05:11 PM   #11
R. Star
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

Yes, but a fan of the name Constitution can easily take it personally but claiming, Trekkies hate the Constitution in an effort to make the opposition look bad.

It's not like the name Enterprise is insignificant in American history, Star Trek or no.
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Old September 2 2013, 05:44 PM   #12
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

Gawd, I hope that hideous 70s clothing never makes a comeback.
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Old September 2 2013, 05:54 PM   #13
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

I don't mind the business suits of the day. Compared to the ones from the 60s they were pretty sharp.

But, unless you were tall and slim, the leisure suits were just horrid!
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Old September 2 2013, 06:43 PM   #14
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Maybe someday, with some future generation of spacecraft. It was a distinguished name prior to Trek, and a lot of later-generation scientists, astronauts, etc. have been Trek fans.
And it still is a distinguished name outside of Trek. The U.S. Naval aircraft carrier Enterprise was just recently taken out of service. And despite the fact that the Navy has gotten into the practice of naming their aircraft carriers after presidents -- a practice I deplore, BTW -- they've announced that the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier CVN-80 would be named Enterprise.
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Old September 2 2013, 08:57 PM   #15
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Re: How Star Trek fans sunk the Constitution on behalf of the Enterpri

CoveTom wrote: View Post
The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Maybe someday, with some future generation of spacecraft. It was a distinguished name prior to Trek, and a lot of later-generation scientists, astronauts, etc. have been Trek fans.
And it still is a distinguished name outside of Trek. The U.S. Naval aircraft carrier Enterprise was just recently taken out of service. And despite the fact that the Navy has gotten into the practice of naming their aircraft carriers after presidents -- a practice I deplore, BTW -- they've announced that the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier CVN-80 would be named Enterprise.
I'd was about to ask about that: whether StarTrek had diminished the name in the eyes of the Navy.

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