Space shuttle is a term referring to the 20th and 21st century space vehicle operated from Earth. The program was begun by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States of America. It was also an informal identifier for certain Federation shuttlecraft. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
The Enterprise (OV-101) was the prototype orbiter for the space shuttle system. The launch system used by the first vessels constructed of this model consisted of an orbiter vehicle, an external liftoff tank, and two rocket boosters. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
List of orbiters
NASA's first series of orbiters have been honored by having several future starships named for them. (listed in order shuttles became operational)
- The astronauts selected for the STS-107 mission were Husband, McCool, Brown, Chawla, Anderson, Clark, and Ramon. The mission insignia was later seen, in 2143, along with other NASA mission insignias in the 602 Club. (ENT: "First Flight")
- Challenger (OV-099) - Starships Challenger
- A memorial to this ship and its crew was seen at the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Mission insignias for two Challenger missions were displayed in the bar in Bozeman, Montana in 2063. (Star Trek: First Contact)
- Discovery (OV-103) - USS Discovery
- The mission insignia for STS-33 was displayed in the bar in Bozeman, Montana in 2063. (Star Trek: First Contact) Two other mission insignias were displayed in the 602 Club in 2143. (ENT: "First Flight")
- Atlantis (OV-104) - USS Atlantis
- In the early 21st century the Atlantis flew a mission which serviced the International Space Station. (Star Trek: Enterprise opening credits)
- Endeavour (OV-105) - Starships Endeavour
- Several mission insignias for Endeavor missions were displayed in the bar in the 602 Club. (ENT: "First Flight")
For known missions, see Space shuttle missions.
The first flight of the Columbia, and of the Space Shuttle Program, in 1981 is one of the real world events referenced in the Star Trek Chronology. Tragically, the Columbia and her crew were lost during re-entry twenty-two years later on mission STS-107. The Columbia was named after a Boston sloop famed for its exploration of the Pacific Northwest and the command module of Apollo 11.
The cast and crew of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home dedicated their film to the astronauts of the shuttle Challenger after it exploded in 1986.
The Endeavour was a replacement shuttle for the destroyed Challenger. Enterprise guest star Terry Virts piloted the shuttle on a mission to the International Space Station in February 2010. Another former Endeavour astronaut, Mae Jemison, guest starred in TNG: "Second Chances".