Thirty-six years ago this week, the first space shuttle came out. It originally had a different name, Constitution. But Star Trek’s popularity was starting to snowball at that point. Just a few years later, we would have Star Wars out in theaters to long lines, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which I wish they had done better).
Fans did a letter writing campaign, and NASA changed the name to Enterprise. The Star Trek cast came out for the roll-out ceremony. Nichelle Nichols went on to recruit women and minorities for NASA.
The space shuttle itself would take off like a rocket and land like an airplane. Needed a huge landing runway, though.
It was really a hopeful time with the launch of the Enterprise. We thought we were going to go out into space like Star Trek.
Then NASA retired the shuttle program, and it felt like they said, “We give up.”
Yes, we still have the space stations, and the rover is on Mars. But part of who we are is getting out and exploring. Man has always done that, from venturing out of the village to see what else was beyond, to traveling the seas to see where they went.
We need the hope back.