National Space Society Launches ‘Enterprise In Space’ Project To Bring Student Experiments To Orbit


A group of engineers, IT professionals and educators (who also happen to be Star Trek and sci-fi fans) have come up with a project to send student projects into space on an unmanned orbiter named "Enterprise." Now they have teamed up with the National Space Society with the goal to launch the orbiter by 2019 and you can get your name on board (and even submit a design for the ship). Find out more below.

Enterprise in Space Project To Turn Science Fiction Into Science Fact

A love for Star Trek inspired Oregonian Shawn Case to start the ‘Enterprise in Space Project’ and he has now teamed up with a number of industry and education professionals, the National Space Society, and even Buzz Aldrin to make it a reality. The goal is to launch (and retrieve) an orbiter named the NSS Enterprise in 2019 which will be filled with experiments submitted from students around the globe. And the orbiter itself will be based on the winning submission from a "science-fiction inspired" design contest. The video below explains the project.

The project is seeking both corporate and individual contributions for funding the goal of $39 million. Individual donations are fixed to $20 and each donor will get their name (digitally) in space on the NSS Enterprise. You can donate and/or submit a design at

press release



Designing, Building, Launching, Orbiting, Re-Entering, Touring, and Displaying a science fiction inspired satellite, as a science education project for all ages and a tribute to the great visionaries of science and science fiction.

Born of classic science fiction’s inspiration to explore and learn, a grassroots project team of aerospace, IT and education veterans have announced the non-profit “Enterprise in Space” project—an orbital mission to launch, fly and retrieve global students’ winning experiments in 2019 and test out new space technology advancements. This is an opportunity for people to come together to accomplish something historic, through their talents and interests in space, science, education, astronomy, cosmology, science fiction and space exploration.

What began as a dream by an Oregonian webmaster Shawn Case four years ago has now won the sponsorship of the esteemed National Space Society. Shawn Case has assembled a professional team in project management, aerospace and education, planned its funding, and prepared a well defined project to launch an orbiter dubbed “NSS Enterprise,” with its artistic design to be conceived by a public competition. The spacecraft will re-enter from orbit for retrieval, tour along with the results of the student experiments, and ultimately be displayed in a major museum along with the names of all who helped fund it.

“Isn’t it time a real Enterprise spacecraft flew in space?” asks Shawn Case, voicing one of the ideas that gave life to the mission. Shawn Case believes people themselves should take the lead and, he adds, each donor will get his or her name on a chip to be carried aloft as a virtual crewmember on this historic flight – and also viewable upon return as part of a display at a major museum. A three-minute video explains the entire idea at the Enterprise in Space website. (

Famed Apollo 11 moonwalker and “Mars Return” backer Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin agrees. “This is an educational and inspirational tribute,” Aldrin says. “My name has been to space and back—now it’s your turn: rendezvous with me and support the Enterprise in Space project. Help make history all over again.”

Winning experiment proposals from students of all ages and nations, following an education outreach program and curricula headed by Lynne F. Zielinski, NSS Chair of Education and Outreach, will be heading up a team of Education Emissaries to develop new curricula and run multiple rounds of competition open to international teams from Kindergarten through post-graduate university students..

The project’s appeal to those in space, science, and education goes hand-in-hand with its audience of science fiction fans, many of whom have a naturally optimistic view of the future and of humans living and working in space—the goals that the sponsoring National Space Society promoted to since its founding in 1974.

Mission goals and emphasis:

1. Enterprise In Space is tribute to the many visionaries of both science and science fiction.

2. Enterprise In Space is a tribute to all vessels in history named Enterprise.

3. Enterprise In Space places a major emphasis on science education from building the Enterprise orbiter at a highly-recognized aeronautics and aerospace institution to science and space education for students.

4. Enterprise In Space will put the orbiter into the Smithsonian Museum or other major museum, after the museum’s approval process.

5. Enterprise In Space will fly on board: virtual crew members’ names, 100+ student science experiments from a world-wide student competition, and a representation of each of the previous vessels named “Enterprise”.

The EIS team would like to share this message: “Great visionary science fiction writers created hopes that people would be doing more in space by now. Let’s help to turn science fiction into science reality, bridging the conceptual gap through education, imagination, and inspiration. Through real-world enterprise, the people of Earth will contribute to the vision of Enterprise In Space.”

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Very cool stuff!!


There has got to be a limit to all the debris in orbit around the planet.
The controlled re-entry sounds promising, but pretty soon it’s gonna get tough to find an open sky to fly through.

Thats interesting..


Thanks Anthony! Very proud to be on this team and speaking on behalf of it now.

“Isn’t it time we finally had a *real* Enterprise in space?”

Totally out of this world, man!

If you’re saying the outer design is up for grabs, I can think of one shape I’d like to see the Enterprise take…

Hi TrekMadeMeWonder, I am the founder of EIS and yes space debris is a major problem. Some of the space companies we are engage with are working on ways to clean up space debris. EIS won’t contribute to that problem, in fact we might have experiments to look at solving some of the issues.

Thanks Anthony!