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Enterprise (OV-101)

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Space Shuttle Enterprise on Earth.

Space Shuttle Enterprise on Earth.
Class: Space Shuttle
Registry: OV-101
Owner: United States of America
Operator: NASA
Status: Active (21st century)
Enterprise OV-101.jpg

Archer's drawing of Orbiter Vehicle 101

Archer's drawing of Orbiter Vehicle 101

Enterprise (OV-101) was a American space shuttle that was in service with NASA in the late 20th century. Enterprise was the first shuttle in NASA's Space Shuttle program.

An artistic rendition of the space shuttle Enterprise was displayed in Jonathan Archer's ready room, showing Enterprise in flight. (Star Trek: Enterprise)

The picture was based on one of the final two free flight tests (tests 1 through 3 were conducted with the ferry tailcone attached to reduce aerodynamic drag). The drawing includes the prototype shuttle's nose probe which was removed after approach and landing tests were complete.
Enterprise legacy tmp

Featured in a display (center) of ships named Enterprise

It was also honored with a portrait on the refit USS Enterprise's recreation deck in 2273. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

This space shuttle Enterprise also appeared docked to the International Space Station as a model in Benjamin Sisko's office on Deep Space 9. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)


Background information

Space shuttle enterprise star trek

The cast of TOS in front of the Enterprise

Enterprise was a prototype/test vehicle for Earth's first reusable spacecraft. She was used primarily to verify the performance of the Space Shuttle Orbiter design during final approach and landing and never flew in space. She was displayed in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum from December 2003 until April 2012, and now makes its home at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City; Leonard Nimoy attended and spoke at the arrival ceremony.

The first space shuttle was originally supposed to be named Constitution, in honor of the United States' bicentennial celebrations in 1976. However, a massive fan letter campaign organized by Bjo Trimble produced over 200,000 letters asking President Gerald Ford to name the shuttle Enterprise after the Star Trek starship (which, ironically, is Constitution class) instead.

In the real world, Enterprise (OV-101) was not designed to be space-worthy, and was meant only for atmospheric tests. It was intended to be modified for space flight in the wake of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, but cost and planning issues side-lined those plans.

The model of the Enterprise docked with the International Space Station seen in Sisko's office on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was given to the series as a gift by Majel Barrett. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)

Footage of the shuttle Enterprise included in the montage of historic images shown during the opening credits for Star Trek: Enterprise is actually one of the later shuttles with the name Enterprise digitally inserted. The footage shows the orbiter's name on the forward fuselage under the cockpit windows, where the operational shuttles had their names painted; Enterprise had her name painted on the payload bay doors just above the hinge and behind the crew module, where it remains to this day.


The novel A Flag Full of Stars states that she instead was named for the World War Two aircraft carrier because the brother of one of the engineers who worked on her died serving aboard said ship, and that she was the last surviving space shuttle. She was refitted with impulse engines so she could participate in a parade of antique spacecraft celebrating the 300th anniversary of Apollo 11.

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