Naming the Space Shuttle Enterprise

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Christopher, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Here's an interesting story:

    http://io9.com/declassified-memos-reveal-debate-over-naming-the-shuttl-1603073259

    Newly declassified White House memos reveal the discussion that led to the decision to give into Star Trek fans' petition to name the prototype space shuttle Enterprise, instead of Constitution as originally planned (although even that would've kinda been a Trek reference).

    A sample:

    I like that. "The space-oriented 'Star Trek' group." Downplaying the fact that the "group" was the fan base for a sci-fi TV show.

    Others argued that the use of Enterprise in US naval tradition was a better rationale. A security advisor named Jack Marsh wrote:
    Yup, just a passing fad, that Star Trek. Nobody will remember it in 35 years...

    Personally I've long regretted that the Trek fans jumped the gun. Sure, we got a shuttle named Enterprise, but it was just the prototype and never actually flew into space. We should've held out for the second one.
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I agree. Looking back, it seems like a rather hollow victory.
     
  3. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    Well the original plan was to modify the first shuttle into a space worthy craft so initially it was suppose to go into space. Later, it was decided that it would be cheaper to build a new shuttle from scratch instead of rebuilding the first one. It always has bummed me out that the "Enterprise" never made it into space.
     
  4. Anji

    Anji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hollow victory??? What the heck?! We were thrilled to get that shuttle named Enterprise. Back then we actually thought we were getting somewhere when it came to space exploration and if we were going to go our first ship was going to be named Enterprise: THE ENTERPRISE.

    And do you really believe NASA's "We're naming the shuttle after the Enterprise battle ship and not the Starship Enterprise line"??? I mean, do you?! I bet a good 80 percent of them were inspired by Star Trek or one of it's spin offs.

    I can't believe you bought that story!
     
  5. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Yep, I remember when I did a paper on the shuttle program that Enterprise was meant to go into space originally.
     
  6. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    While I'm sure there were a decent amount of Trek fans at NASA at the time, I'm not sure how many of them were "inspired" by Trek. A few maybe, but a lot of them were probably working towards a career with NASA before even watching Trek.

    They definitely weren't inspired by any of the spin-offs. How could they? All this was over a decade before TNG premiered.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Umm, who are you talking to? What I presented are actual White House memos, and they make it clear that the pressure from Star Trek fans was indeed the primary reason for the name choice, with the Naval association being a secondary rationale that some of the decision-makers involved found preferable as a justification.

    Also, what are you talking about? NASA never denied that it named the shuttle after the TV starship. At the shuttle Enterprise's rollout, they invited in Roddenberry and most of the cast (all of the main seven except Shatner were there), and the Air Force band played the Star Trek theme when the shuttle was revealed. The comment I posted about preferring the Naval justification for the name was not from NASA, it was from a security advisor within the Ford administration, offering a dissenting view to the recommendation that the Trek fans' wishes should be heeded.
     
  8. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    It became a hollow victory when everyone realized that Enterprise would never reach space. At least that's how I felt when I sat on the beach in Florida and watched the Columbia launch on it's maiden flight.
     
  9. Tommunist

    Tommunist Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    "As God as my witness, I thought Enterprises could fly...":lol:

    Mr Carlson joke aside...

    We're burying the lede here: that there's plenty of mundane crap that's classified by our government.

    Beyond that, we WILL have ships named Enterprise in space. Maybe more along the lines of the VSS Enterprise, but I'm okay with that...
     
  10. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It was a nice PR stunt, back in the day. NASA's become so ineffective at manned spaceflight, that it's probably better that it tone down its STAR TREK comparissons, before it embarasses itself even more than it already has.
     
  11. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    NASA's become "ineffective" because its budget keeps getting cut and science keeps getting de-prioritized by Congress. Only a tiny fraction of the national budget actually goes to NASA, with no foresight fueled by the fact that today's technologies were made possible by yesterday's NASA.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A BIG +1!
     
  13. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agree. :vulcan:
     
  14. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sure it's easy to wish that the Enterprise shuttle became the first to launch into space (Columbia).

    But if that first shuttle into space had been named Enterprise, suppose that vehicle and history all remained the same except for the naming.

    Today we'd be remembering the Enterprise disaster that killed seven astronauts in 2003.

    Be careful what you wish for.
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Somehow I feel very certain that neither Greg Jein or Franz Joseph Schnaubelt signed that petition... :rolleyes:

    However, I wouldn't be suprised if Gene Roddenberry, Matt Jefferies and Bob Justman supported the petition.

    Bob
     
  16. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    Christopher, who is Jack Marsh? How long was he remembered in his office, after he left?
    Probably not 50 years later!
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I suppose he's this fellow:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Otho_Marsh,_Jr.

    He went on to become Secretary of the Army in the Reagan Administration, and was a confidant of Vice President Cheney. He's been a professor at several universities, and there's an institute named after him. So I'd say he hasn't been forgotten.

    And... it's only been 38 years since these memos were issued.
     
  18. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    As you say, he does have some impressive credentials. But, in all honesty, I had never heard of him before.
     
  19. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I wonder if the selection may have averted the Columbia disaster--it would have been Enterprise that blew up over Texas then.

    I think folks might have wanted to bring it out of service a bit earlier. The orbiter that became named Columbia was a bit heavy to make it to ISS.
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What purpose does this comment serve? Other than grinding an axe that you consistently grind over and over.