Watch: New NASA Shuttle Documentary Narrated By William Shatner

On July 8th NASA launches Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-135, the final mission of the 30 year Space Shuttle program. To commemorate the event NASA has released a new documentary about the Shuttle program narrated by Star Trek’s William Shatner. Watch the entire doc below.


The Space Shuttle Documentary (Narrated by William Shatner)

On Tuesday NASA released a 1 hour 20 minute documentary "The Space Shuttle" which chronicles the history of the 30 year space shuttle program. The documentary is narrated by Star Trek’s William Shatner.

Star Trek and Shuttle: From beginning to end

Of course Star Trek and the Space Shuttle program have been intersecting since the beginning. The intersection started with the first space shuttle (OV-01) was named Enterprise after Star Trek fans lobbied for a name change, and Gene Roddenberry and the cast of Star Trek were on hand when the Shuttle first rolled out of the hanger.

Shuttle Enterprise introduced in 1976

There were many intersections with Star Trek and the NASA Shuttle program over the years, including multiple wakeup calls. Shuttle astronauts have even appeared in televised episodes of Star Trek and even done contributions to Star Trek DVDs. As the Shuttle program has been winding down this year, Star Trek has again been part of the final flights. The original Star Trek theme (and a new narration from William Shatner) woke up the astronauts on the last day of the final flight of Shuttle Discovery in March. And Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols is traveling to Florida to attend the final launch as a guest of NASA.


Thanks to Casey for link

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Still dying to see an actual and functioning spacecraft named Enterprise.

One day….

Is there a busier 80 year old than this guy?

Actually functioning in space, that is.

i don’t know two forty year olds as busy as Shat, Harry!

Isn’t the first Virgin Galactic tourist spaceplane named Enterprise?
I wonder when it will finally go up….

I’m a reasonably-active 45 this year, and just watching him accomplish all he does makes me weary.

Got a kick out of watching his episodes on the Twilght Zone marathon Sci-Fi ran the other day.

Sad to see the demise of the US space program.

Shatner is the US space program. Long live Shatner!

This is cool! And #7,I agree with you.

@8, Kinda ironc that a Canadian “is the US space program”. Hail the Shat!


It’s the iconic “First Contact” theme on 40:25-42:30.

Plus, of course, Shatner, the Shuttle Enterprise and the story about the Trekkies too. Realy touching & sad.

Actually it’s not the end of the space program just the outdated Space Shuttle. A new era in commercial space flight is about to emerge.

@1. You’ve not got long to wait. Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise should be flown within the next year or so.

@12 There’s very little going on in the US space program right now, and you’ll have to forgive me if the best possible commercial alternative is a program to offer a handful of rich eccentrics the opportunity to go on a brief near-orbit ride. That’s little or no consolation to those on the “Space Coast” in Florida who are wondering about their future.

The era of US space leadership, leadership that put men on the moon, that built a space station with comparatively minimalist technology in the 70’s (Skylab), and created a reusable manned spacecraft (despite its well-publicized flaws) is ending, and that’s a national tragedy IMHO.

While I do remember the campaign of fans to name the first shuttle ENTERPRISE, I always thought that was a bit of acting too quick since the first shuttle was never going to fly in space, just a test aircraft for landings.

Now we need to go to Mars. Even Disney made a great TV episode called Mars and Beyond back in the late 1950’s. If Walt could come up with some ideas back then, why cannot we do something liek that today????

I remember writing a science report for my 6th grade English class about the space shuttle (which would have been about 1976), and at that time they were in the midst of the two problems that plagued shuttle development: adhesive for the tiles, and tests of the shuttle’s main engines.

They were literally concocting new adhesives by the week to adhere the silica-based tiles to the shuttle’s structural surface. I remember them towing the shuttle back and forth, with tiles falling off as each later type of adhesive failed.

I also remember horrendous problems with the shuttle engines, with failure after failure being highlighted by spectacular explosions during full power tests.

Obviously, those issues were resolved, but they were huge obstacles that were primarily responsible for the delay in getting the fleet deployed, and the attendant high-maintenance issues associated with the eventual solutions serving as the reason the shuttle was never able to be turned around in a 1-2 week timeframe as had been originally proposed.

I also remember that NASA naming the “test” shuttle Enterprise was a bit of a joke on the Trek influence, which had lobbied for such a naming while not realizing the first shuttle would never go into actual service.

15… Incorrect. OV-101 Enterprise was indeed meant to fly in space, it simply would have been the second Orbiter to do so. The original contract with Rockwell was for four airframes: the non-flightworthy MPTA-098 and STA-099 and the spaceworthy OV-101 and OV-102. The MPTA was the Main Propulsion Test Article, just an aft-end of a Shuttle used for engine testing. The STA was a structural test article. OV-101 and OV-102 were built to be operational space vehicles. The first order of business was to prove that the Orbiter could fly in the atmosphere, so OV-101 was only built to the point where it could complete the Approach and Landing Test program in 1977. OV-101 was to be named Constitution, but Star Trek fans in 1976 persuaded President Ford to instead have her christened Enterprise. While Enterprise was flying the ALT program in 1976-77, Rockwell built OV-102 Columbia, which was always scheduled to be the first Orbiter in space. After Columbia was finished, Enterprise was to return to Rockwell and be finished for spaceflight. But then the number crunchers got involved. At that time (1978) NASA still had not been authorized to build any more Orbiters, so they had to make do with what they had. Both Enterprise and Columbia were heavier than NASA wanted, meaning they could not launch the heaviest payloads planned for the Shuttle. But the STA was lighter, and a NASA/Rockwell study found that upgrading the STA instead of Enterprise for spaceflight would cost about the same and take about as much time, but the STA would have about 5,000 lbs. more payload capacity. With OV-103 and OV-104 still unfunded, NASA decided to upgrade the STA instead of Enterprise. STA-099 was recommissioned as OV-099 and named Challenger.

In a nod to the Shuttle program’s OV-101 Enterprise and OV-102 Columbia, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE named the first two Warp 5 starships NX-01 Enterprise and NX-02 Columbia.

Do any of you actually work in the Space Program? Just curious.

NASA has it on their site and you can download it

Matlz… Nope. Grew up around it, though.

Not quite sure if that’s the same thing, Spock. Your link goes to the video that was shown last April, when the disposition of the Shuttle Orbiters was announced.

@18, Maltz, I used to, back in college. At the University of Arizona, I worked on 3 Mars probes. Awesome job. I loved it. I’m dying to go back, but there are no jobs in the space industry.

That was great.

Fantastic documentary.
Fantastic commentry.
Go NASA! Go the Shat!

Actually, I believe suborbital flight will take over long distance airline flights eventually. Imagine, leaving L.A. for N.Y and getting there in less than an hour. It will help pave the way for Orbital and other space missions as the technology gets better. It has to become commonplace just like cell phones and computers.

The companies offering these options are already here, Virgin Galactic, Xcor, etc. and there will be more on the way. I think we’ll see huge interest for this market after the Space Shuttle is done, because folks will want to know what’s next and keep the U.S. on the map.

Realistically, I don’t see any missions to the moon or Mars any time soon. But I do think suborbital flights will have a big place in the travel market. Getting there is far easier and cheaper than orbital launches. Sure at first it will just be the rich, but they’ve already cut prices down on those flights already. The problem with it at first, is like everything, it takes a few early adopters to get things moving. They’re already running projections and have the space flight industry pegged at a $10 billion industry over the next ten years.

In a lot of ways it’s good the Space Shuttle is ending. In terms of cost, just to send up a few astronauts to LEO it’s cheaper to just use a capsule, so why not? It’s not like we need the Space Shuttle to do heavy lifting. We have other rockets that put satellites into orbit. Russia still uses capsules.

Obama stated why keep doing the same things over and over, we need better tech. to take us farther and cheaper and NASA just isn’t going to do that for us. Commercializing it will help, and we’re already seeing costs drop and we’ve barely begun. Now throw in fifty or a hundred more companies and let’s see what happens.

My dad worked on the SSME (Space Shuttle Main Engine) program at Rocketdyne in the San Fernando Valley from the 70’s to 90’s. I took a tour in the 80’s and saw a low of components, as well as an assembled full size SSME that might still be out in front of the building.

He still can’t watch the Challenger footage.

The way the current administration has gutted our space program is literally a crime against humanity. The only way for a human to current get into space is to buy a passenger ticket from the Russians, like Richard Garriott did. The last shuttle is going up with no rescue backup. Commercially viable space travel is still 20 years away.

The value of tech developments alone from the space program have repaid our economy many times. One of the few government programs to ever yield real benefits.

“The way the current administration has gutted our space program is literally a crime against humanity”

A crime against humanity? Hardly. Killing, torture, lack of access to food, water, clothing, shelter that properly protects people against the elements, security and medical care could be considered crimes against humanity.

I can’t see how anyone can equate not being able to go to the moon as a genuine crime against humanity, when so many people are missing out on the basics of life here on Earth.

People are responsible for themselves. A government deliberately impeding a peoples’ ability to take care of themselves is certainly guilty of a crime against them. Failing to actually PROVIDE those things is not a crime. That said, of course there are governments engaged in actual genocidal and barbaric crimes against humanity, and they should be held to account.

Space exploration and the technological advancements that come from it have rewarded humanity with riches of wealth, abundance, and leisure time. Given the various challenges mankind will face in the future, shutting down a major source of knowledge and technological acheivement will ABSOLUTELY have adverse consequences on mankind. And Obama should be held to account in 2012.

It was my understanding everyone knew the program was ending. It was a 30 year mission, right? So they’ve had plenty of time to find jobs and move on. SpaceX, Xcor, Sierra Nevada are all hiring.

Argh. It’s just the SHUTTLE that’s ending- not the space program. Shuttle was killed by GW Bush after the Columbia tragedy- it was NOT killed by Obama. Why does everyone forget this? Obama stopped the woefully underfunded and badly managed Constellation program. We weren’t getting to the Station anytime soon with the poor design of Ares 1 and the Heavy lift Ares 5 development had barely started.

More Billions wasted.

So, I say Go Space X! A Private Sector player which is actually cheaper to Orbit than the Chinese- Score one point for US entrepreneurship. Human rating coming soon for its Dragon capsule as is Space X’s heavy lifter – the Falcon Heavy- to test launch from Vandenburg in 2012.

How are we behind again?

Let’s leave low earth orbit to the private sector guys and lets get NASA to do the deep space research and planning. Engines in US Lab development (like the VASIMR) are the only ones getting us anywhere far, anytime soon

There are scores of additional Private sector players just waiting for their shot- let’s not count them out yet.

It strikes me funny that the laissez- faire conservative folks are the ones most loudly grousing about the Government getting OUT of Space ops. Isn’t the party line usually that the Gov’t does things inefficiently?

PS- Thanks to the Shat man for coming though for NASA.

For Nostalgia- a bit of 70’s spacey-trippiness for the Shat Man