Enterprise was constructed by Rockwell International in a United States Air Force hangar in California. She was named for the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, as the brother of one of Rockwell International's project managers was stationed aboard that ship and lost his life in service during World War II. (TOS - The Lost Years novel: A Flag Full of Stars)
- In reality, the space shuttle Enterprise was so named following a letter writing campaign by Star Trek fans to President Gerald Ford.
As a prototype vehicle, the Enterprise was not actually completed with the systems required to enter orbit, but was instead built mainly to verify the viability of certain technology—such as the landing systems of the space shuttle. After a number of test flights within Earth's atmosphere, Enterprise was retired as a museum piece. Although there was the possibility of having Enterprise refit as an operational vehicle, the space shuttle program ended on reference stardate -1/92 without the prototype ever having left Earth's atmosphere. (ST references: Spaceflight Chronology, Star Trek Chronology; TOS - The Lost Years novel: A Flag Full of Stars)
Images of this ship were displayed in Captain Jonathan Archer's quarters aboard the Earth Starfleet ship Enterprise (NX-01), and also on the recreation deck of the Federation Starfleet starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). (Star Trek: Enterprise, TOS movie: The Motion Picture)
The Enterprise was maintained as a museum ship by the Federation. In the 2270s decade, on the tricentennial anniversary of Earth's first series of lunar landings, the Dart Project saw the Enterprise fitted with orbital maneuvering thrusters and impulse engines by a team of Starfleet engineers that included Commander Montgomery Scott. Hull markings and pennants were also restored, with the US flag updated to show the proper 56 stars. The red and silver Federation standard was also added. Interior controls were replaced with state-of-the-art 23rd century technology—very similar to standard shuttlecraft controls. The shuttle was flown outside of Earth orbit for the first time in the company of the saucer section of the USS Enterprise, the saucer having been recently separated during an extensive refit process. (TOS - The Lost Years novel: A Flag Full of Stars)
In an alternate timeline created by Mia Colt's time travel, in 2293 the Smithsonian Museum of Air, Sea and Space in San Francisco exhibited the Space Shuttle Enterprise, the Constitution-class USS Enterprise and a replica of a seagoing USS Enterprise. (EV comic: "Future Tense, Part Two")
- Alice Friedman, CO (Dart Project)
|United States space shuttles|
|Enterprise (OV-101) • Columbia (OV-102) • Challenger (OV-099) • Discovery (OV-103) • Atlantis (OV-104) • Endeavour (OV-105) • Icarus (prototype) • Renaissance (OV-165, 2nd gen.)|
- ST reference: USS Enterprise Owners' Workshop Manual
- ST reference: The Star Trek Encyclopedia
- TNG reference: On Board the USS Enterprise
- Star Trek: Communicator Issue 135: "First Captain of the Enterprise"