A Very Special Lady

1969 Enterprise Model and Lunar Module Simulator

1969 Enterprise Model in National Air and Space Museum – Washington DC

Business took me to Washington in January of this year, and I made a special side trip to visit an old dear friend, only recently back in circulation. She is, of course, the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 (and as Scotty said, no bloody A, B, C, or D). The National Air and Space Museum completed a significant restoration and conservation process on her around the middle of last year.

I missed her debut by about a day.

So there was no way I wasn’t going to see her back in all her glory, this time around. Crowds and barricades be damned.

She now resides in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall (essentially the main entry hall of the museum) in close proximity to Spaceship One, the Spirit of St. Louis, Yeager’s Bell X-1, the X-15 flown by Neil Armstrong and others, and shortly a conserved Apollo 11 Command Module. She is in good company certainly, but so are they.

Enterpise model in low light case

In a low light display case to protect her from UV rays, the 50+ year old starship rests surrounded by craft that preceded and followed her in mankind’s journey to the skies.

There is in fact a part of the display that answers the question “What is this doing here?”

If you’re a fan, you already know the answer to that.

She belongs here.

The fictional Starship Enterprise inspired a generation of astronauts, scientists, engineers, and explorers. And not just in the field of space exploration. The legacy of Star Trek is evident in medicine, communications, industrial design, and hopefully, in our human relations.

A half century on from her first “flight” many of us carry around “communicators”, tricorder-like computers, and talk to friends a world away, face to face, on wall-sized flat “viewscreens”. In many ways we are living in the world she imagined.

Sadly, in many ways we are not.

Wiring on the unseen port side

Unfinished port side of the model, showing the original configuration with exposed wires on the surface for the lights and motors.

The rest of my trip was a very poignant reminder of how far we have yet to go in fulfilling her dream of a future where all people live in peace, where want and ignorance are remote and unpleasant memories, and we’ve managed to resolve our differences with quiet rational discussion instead of through violence and hatred.

I keep believing, though there are days when it’s difficult. I hope to see fewer of those days in my life.

So, where is Pop Trek in all this? Well, after returning from DC, February and much of March were consumed with business obligations. If you’ve read the FAQ (and if not, why not?) you know that Pop Trek is something I am evolving in my spare time on my own dime, and when the day job requires I have to go forth and earn that dime.

And, also, I’ve put some time and effort into the “doing it right” column. In mid-March I did some electrical work in my garage/workshop/studio to replace old cranky fluorescent lighting with modern, stable, eco-friendly LED lights, and hope to have the animation table back in place by the end of April (more day job things intervene and I’m on the road again in a few days). But I remain optimistic and continue to work on props, models, and necessary tech while waiting for a clear schedule to shoot. Stay tuned for updates.

Live long and prosper.

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