10 Secrets You Didn’t Know About NASA

8. The Enterprise


The Space Shuttle programme began in 1981 and was supposed to promote cost-effective, reusable space craft. Unfortunately, the plan never quite took off (ha!) in the way NASA wanted and it was shut down in 2011.

Five fully operational Shuttles were built in the project's lifetime, but it's the one that came before it officially launched (ha!) that we're interested in today.

The plan was to call this first effort the Constitution, a reference to Constitution Day, the day on which it was going to be revealed. However, NASA didn't count on one thing when they first named the ship - the power of Trekkies.

Star Trek fans in their masses wrote letters to the White House asking for the ship's name to be changed. In the end, the government acquiesced to their demands, renaming the vessel the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

When Constitution Day 1976 rolled around, the ship was unveiled with the cast of the original Star Trek present. Well, everyone except William Shatner, but that's probably because George Takei was there.

Similarly to the whole Boaty McBoatface thing, the Space Shuttle Enterprise shows the power of people coming together to force change. Except in this case it wasn't done as a joke.

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Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.