1. Space Shuttle Enterprise (1976) - From the very beginning of the space program, Star Trek was there. It began when the first prototype of the space shuttle was commissioned. The shuttle was originally going to be called the Constitution, but a massive write-in campaign to President Gerald Ford led NASA to re-name it the Enterprise. At its unveiling on September 17, 1976, Leonard Nimoy, Gene Roddenberry, and other cast and crew from the original Star Trek series were there to mark the occasion.
2. Gene Roddenberry's Ashes (1992) - Gene Roddenberry was the creator of the Star Trek series, but never actually traveled into space. One of his final wishes was to have his ashes carried into space. That's why, after his death, some of Roddenberry's ashes were sent to an astronaut named Jim Weatherbee. Weatherbee carried a small container of the ashes with him aboard his 1992 flight on the space shuttle Columbia. In that way, Roddenberry did manage to achieve his dream.
3. Endeavor: The Motion Picture (2009) - There's a tradition among space shuttle launches to create a poster based on a popular movie. On the final voyage of the space shuttle Endeavor, the crew re-created the movie poster for the rebooted Star Trek movie. It was sort of like acknowledging the new beginning for Star Trek as well as the end of the shuttle program.
4. Star Trek Morning (2011) - Every morning aboard the space shuttle, a song is played to wake up the crew. Typically, the song is chosen by the astronauts and their families. But on March 7, 2011, a public poll led to the crew of the space shuttle Discovery's awakening by the theme song from the original series, and the voice of William Shatner as James T. Kirk. In a recording created just for the event, Shatner said, "These have been the voyages of the space shuttle Discovery. Her 30-year mission: to seek out new science, to build new outposts, to bring nations together in the final frontier, to boldly go and do what no spacecraft has done before."
5. Atlantis Returns to Voyager (2011) - On July 21, 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis touching down was a tremendous moment. Not only was it the final voyage for the Atlantis, but it was the final space shuttle mission as the program was being shut down. As the Atlantis was towed home for the last time, NASA played the theme to Star Trek: Voyager. It was a fitting end, completing the arc created by the Enterprise.
What are your favorite moments of Star Trek and the Space Shuttle program?
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