Watch: William Shatner Narrates NASA Tribute Video To Space Shuttle

Today NASA released a new video celebrating the Space Shuttle program, narrated by Star Trek’s William Shatner. You can watch the full video below, plus we take a look at the Star Trek connections to the beginning and end of the Shuttle program.


The Space Shuttle (Narrated by William Shatner)

After over 30 years, NASA’s Space Shuttle program is winding now. Shuttle Discovery has already flown its final mission earlier this year. Later this month Endeavour will take its final flight and Atlantis will wrap up the program with the final Shuttle flight in June. Today NASA released a new video celebrating the Shuttle program, narrated by Star Trek’s William Shatner.

This is Shatner’s second connection to Shuttle’s final year. Last month William Shatner provided a new voice-over for a Star Trek wake-up call, the final wake-up call for Shuttle Discovery.

Shatner isn’t the only Star Trek connection to the Shuttle finale year. Both Star Trek: The Next Generation’s LeVar Burton and Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols have been invited to final shuttle launches. These Trek connections provide a nice bookend to the beginning of the Shuttle program, when the first orbiter (OV-101) was named Enterprise after lobbying from Trek fans. Gene Roddenberry and most of the cast of Star Trek (but not Shatner) were on hand when Shuttle Enterprise was first revealed.

Roddenberry and the TOS cast with Shuttle Enterprise – September 17, 1976

Thanks to Edmo for tip

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Way to go Shat. He missed the first but will be there for the end. Long live the Shat.

Nice to hear Mr. Shatner… but it is sad, no?

Wow. So young. Nice pic of DeForest Kelley talking to ? I cannot see James Doohan in the picture, or is the one with the beard behind George, Nichelle and Leonard. A lovely photograph – a real keepsake.

To NASA, and the Shuttle family.

We are very proud of the work you have done keeping those workhorses flying.

Thank you.

sept 171976 the day the space shuttle enterprise was unveiled and this photo was taken was also the day i was born,

William Shatner is a good narrator.

Space exploration seems to have reached a plateau in that nothing really new has developed or been discovered.

I think the two main obstacles to space exploration and travel is the fact that no new fuel has been found that would accelerate the time taken going between the Earth and Mars for instance. The starships of the 23rd century have impulse power, which is slower than warp drive, but is still much faster than what we have today.

The even bigger obstacle is the fact that no effective artificial gravity environment seems to have been developed. This is probably the single most important discovery/development that needs to happen, if humans can ever hope to travel any further than the moon. Several months ago, I read that if we were to travel with what we have now, our bodies would become more akin to jelly or blobs (and you’re worried about the “fat Shat”, MJ!). After a time our bodies would lose all muscle tone and much of its bone density. A little of this already happens to astronauts who spend a lot of time on the space station which is why they need to be brought back to Earth, other than for some well-earned R&R. Even with all the resistance training exercises etc, there is still some deterioration to the human musculaskeletal system, which would not have happened had they been on earth the whole time.

I really do hope that answers are found to these two major hindrances (plus, no doubt, a host of other smaller ones), because then things could start to get very exciting!

Wait, so Archer’s Enterprise was named Enterprise after a few space vehicles that came before it, which bore the name Enterprise, starting with the (albeit not space worthy) space shuttle Enterprise which….. was infact named…. after Kirk’s Enterprise, the successor to Archer’s ship!

That photo was and is surreal. Star Trek was incredibly popular in 1975-1976– 10,000 attending conventions, daily syndication, stores full of Megos.

I wonder if any of the Trek cast will be attending the launch of Virgin Galactic’s Enterprise…

Wasn’t Shatner offered a ticket?

I wish the Enterprise Shuttle would stay in DC instead of gong to NY. It belongs with the Smithsonian as the VERY FIRST SHUTTLE. Those who come to DC expecting to see the Enterprise Shuttle will get quite a shock. Discover is a nice shuttle, but it’s not the Enterprise.

5. September 17 is Constitution Day. Enterprise was to be named “Constitution” before the Star Trek write-in campaign persuaded President Ford to change the name.

For a little bit of history, Enterprise (OV-101) was originally planned to fly in space, but she would have been the second Shuttle to fly in space, after Columbia (OV-102). Enterprise was the first production Shuttle Orbiter, but was finished only to the point of being able to fly the drop-tests off the 747 in 1977, which would take place while Rockwell was building Columbia. At that time, Columbia was expected to fly in November 1978 and Enterprise would go back to Rockwell and be finished-out for spaceflight, making her first orbital flight in September 1982. But Enterprise and Columbia had turned out heavier than NASA expected, and neither could launch the heaviest payloads NASA planned and the Air Force required. NASA was still having trouble getting funding for the next two Orbiters (OV-103 Discovery and OV-104 Atlantis) so Rockwell suggested that a Structural Test Article, STA-099 with its lighter airframe, was a better candidate than Enterprise to be upgraded for spaceflight and would be able to launch the heavier payloads . NASA agreed, and STA-099 was redesignated OV-099 and named Challenger in 1978. NASA finally got funding for Discovery and Atlantis in late 1979. Columbia finally flew 30 years ago today, April 12, 1981. Challenger flew for the first time on April 4, 1983.

You know, maybe I’m picking a nit here, but how about a little love for a real spaceman, Yuri Gagarin today. Just saying….

Tracy was the last real person in that video! Yaa!

#12 Yes. I saw a news item on TV last night (12 April, NZ time) about Yuri Garagin. It was rather sad to hear that he died in a plane crash about seven years later. Imagine the fanfare if he was still alive – wow, 50 years ago *today* the first man got to go into space…

My baby!

14. Keachick – April 12, 2011

I think it was on NPR a few nights ago, they were running a human interest story on the spread of “Yuri’s Night” celebrations, and they had observed that it would have been spectacular, had Gagarin lived, if he could have shared the shuttle ride with John Glenn a few years ago. On a more sober note, the BBC ran some stories on Vladimir Komarov. It speaks volumns about the bravery of the men who flew craft that were held together with baling wire and chewing gum.

14. Keachick – April 12, 2011

I think it was on NPR a few nights ago, they were running a human interest story on the spread of “Yuri’s Night” celebrations, and they had observed that it would have been spectacular, had Gagarin lived, if he could have shared the shuttle ride with John Glenn a few years ago. On a more sober note, the BBC ran some stories on Vladimir Komarov. It speaks volumns about the bravery of the men who flew craft that were held together with baling wire and chewing gum.

Here are a couple pictures of OV-101 in 1975 when it was still Constitution. It looks almost finished! That is, until you notice the nose and engine pods are not the final design! Looks like the name is the least of the things they had to change before they rolled it out!

It’s rich that the Space Shuttle Enterprise can be called “Constitution-class” entirely by coincidence.

A remarkable and inspiring story.

Great clip!
Some nice music from Battlestar Galactica to add to the mood, too!

And the first woman in space was…? Anyone…?
Valentina Tereshkova. And she’s still alive today.

Happy Gagarin Day, everyone!

I seem to remember a USS Gagarin or some such being mentioned in TNG. Always love those little tips of the hat in Trek to the real space heroes.

15. Alex – April 12, 2011
Gov’t had to cut the chord sometime. SpaceX, Falcon, and other ventures are moving forward. Water and other raw materials have been discovered in large quantities on the moon, and industry is figuring out how to launch stuff cheaply, the solar system will get busy before long.

6. Keachick – April 12, 2011

Actually, most of the technology is available now that would let man stomp around the solar system quite a bit, and probably in our lifetimes. Turns out the moon is an abundant sourse of raw material, and launching from space requires a lot less fuel. Richard Branson wants to ferry tourists into orbit, and the Falcon rockets are nearing the testing stage.

Outside the solar system is a different story. FTL and artifical gravity are still the stuff of science fantasy. It’s been said for a while now that first contact will be by radio signal, the likelihood of a spaceship dropping by is really remote, UFO believers not withstanding….

The photo of the TOS crew with the Enterprise was first published in “The Making of Star Trek” by Stephen Whitfield.

That rocked!

Yes, it’s disappointing that there’s no acknowledgement of Gagarin’s achievement on this site, when pretty much the rest of the planet had 50th Anniversary nods in some form. Google’s logo-of-the-day was brilliant!
Would be interesting to know why this awesome moment in the history of space travel was not considered worthy of a news item.

27. That is a bit of a disappointment

Shatner’s voice really sounds great set to the Batman Begins soundtrack.

The Enterprise is coming to live at the Intrepid Museum. East Coast Trekkies, let’s boldly go!

29 Shatman Begins!

I likee.

Nice Tribute.

I would to see love a vid of Next Years Enterprise/Discovery Swap-out at the Smithsonian.

Space X seems like our best hope now-

For the near term Our 21st Century Conestoga wagons are in private hands. Lets hope that Falcon 9 Heavy can do all that is promised and we can start thinking big (as in near Saturn V or Energia big) payloads to Orbit again.

32. Come on, think big…use these bad boys to put automated platforms on the moon to begin preparation for habitation. You can’t pick up a science mag or a paper and not read about the water they have found, and the place is a treasure trove of raw materials for everything needed to go to Mars. Got to start somewhere….

That was an awsome narriation! Great video and backround information!! Makes me excited for the new shuttle fleet to be built!