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  Naming OV-101: "Enterprise" decision memos

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Author Topic:   Naming OV-101: "Enterprise" decision memos
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29966
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-10-2014 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark Strauss at io9 cites documents the State Department published in 2009 as offering additional insight into the final decision to name space shuttle OV-101 "Enterprise."

Specifically, he quotes a Sept. 3, 1976 memorandum from William Gorog, the deputy assistant to the President for economic affairs to President Gerald Ford and the responses from White House staff members that the memo elicited.

The memorandum recommended naming the first space shuttle "Enterprise" as a response to appeals by supporters of the television show "Star Trek."

Source: Ford Library, Presidential Handwriting File, Subject File, Box 34, Outer Space. No classification marking. Ford initialed his approval. The September 7 document reporting the reactions of White House staff is attached to the memorandum. The decision in favor of "Enterprise" was announced on September 9, one day after the meeting with NASA officials.

Ronpur
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Posts: 509
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 07-10-2014 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those are great finds. I like Jack Marsh's response...."T.V. Fad".

I wish I had a copy of the letter I wrote back then. I am sure my cursive wasn't the most legible back then.

If they announced it on September 9, 1976, they missed the 10th anniversary of the premiere of the show by only one day...Sept 8!

Wait, I just realized the rollout was 10 days later. So they had to apply the name in that 10 day period. I wonder if "Constitution" was ever painted on?

Headshot
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Posts: 333
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 07-11-2014 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, a TV fad that has lasted almost 50 years and had a substantial run of motion pictures too!

Very good question about if the name "Constitution" had been applied to the vehicle. I'd love to see a picture of that, but one would have probably surfaced by now if it had happened.

Does anyone know who in NASA proposed the original name "Constitution?"

p51
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Posts: 1058
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 07-11-2014 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
Yeah, a TV fad that has lasted almost 50 years and had a substantial run of motion pictures too!
Hindsight always being 20/20, I think the 'fad' comment is valid for the time. None of them could have known that Star Trek would continue to be so deeply ingrained in the American psyche...

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29966
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-11-2014 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
Does anyone know who in NASA proposed the original name "Constitution?"
According to NASA, the name "Constitution" was considered to be a tribute to the Bicentennial in 1976, and as such it may never have been a formal suggestion for OV-101 but more of a general idea. The fact that these memos make no mention of "Constitution" as an alternative to "Enterprise" would seem to support that.

"Constitution" did top the list of 15 names an ad hoc committee recommended to NASA in 1978 for the first four orbiters.

(That same list suggested "Enterprise" for a space-worthy orbiter, but reserved it for assigned to OV-101 should it have been converted to become the fifth vehicle in the fleet.)

NavySpaceFan
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Posts: 645
From: Norfolk, VA
Registered: May 2007

posted 07-12-2014 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Documentary evidence, I love it!!!!!

Ronpur
Member

Posts: 509
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 07-12-2014 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found this at the Ford Library site. It is "talking points" for the meeting with Fletcher on Sept 8, 1976.

Also, the listing for the model he was presented at the same time.
http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/museum/ArtifactCollectionSamples/Catagories/Public%20Gifts/ShuttleModel.html

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