Philip Culmer wrote: ↑
Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:15 pm
And of course, there's that odd one ... the space shuttle
Apparently named after a campaign by Trekkies - who were shortchanged by it being used for a glide test vehicle rather than an orbiter - or so I heard.
Just to set the record straight, actually that was sort of true ...
: Space Shuttle Enterprise
(Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-101) was the first orbiter of the Space Shuttle system. Rolled out on September 17, 1976, it was built for NASA as part of the Space Shuttle program to perform atmospheric test flights after being launched from a modified Boeing 747. It was constructed without engines or a functional heat shield, and was therefore not capable of spaceflight.
Construction began on Enterprise on June 4, 1974. It was originally planned to be named Constitution
and unveiled on Constitution Day, September 17, 1976. Fans of Star Trek asked US President Gerald Ford, through a letter-writing campaign, to name the orbiter after the television show's fictional starship, USS Enterprise
. White House advisors cited "hundreds of thousands of letters" (I wrote ten!
) from Trekkies, "one of the most dedicated constituencies in the country", as a reason for giving the shuttle the name. Although Ford did not publicly mention the campaign, the president said that he was "partial to the name" Enterprise
, and directed NASA officials to change the name.
Although it was not built as space-worthy, it was intended that after its glide-landing trials were done, it would be refurbished and used as a space-worthy orbiter. However, multiple significant structural changes made during the building of Columbia
meant that it was more costly to modify Enterprise
than to build a new ship. Similarly, Enterprise
was considered for refit to replace Challenger
after the latter was destroyed, but Endeavour
was built from structural spares instead.