Star Trek Celebrates 50 Years
To commemorate 50 years of boldly going where no one has gone before, And There Came A Day presents a weekly countdown to September 8, 2016 – 50 years to the day of the premiere of Star Trek.
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Today is the 30th anniversary of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. This event was the “do you remember where you were” moment for many in my generation and memories of that day (I was a sophomore in high school when it happened) are still very fresh in my memory.
Star Trek has, of course, has had a special relationship with the United States Space Program in general and with NASA in particular.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (The One with the Whales as some refer to it) opened during the fall of 1986, some 10 months after the Challenger exploded and the movie bore the dedication: “The cast and crew of Star Trek wish to dedicate this film to the men and women of the spaceship Challenger whose courageous spirit shall live to the 23rd century and beyond…”
Almost a decade before that, at the dawn of the Space Shuttle program, fans of Star Trek wrote NASA in bunches, demanding the name of their new, experimental space craft (which had been previously called The Constitution be changed to a more fitting name: The Enterprise. Not only did NASA accede to this demand, it also invited the cast of Star Trek to the dedication ceremony for the new space ship.
Star Trek was something of an inspiration for many astronauts. Many in the space program have credited the show for their interest and have cited it as a motivation for their careers.
Certainly the bravery of the Challenger crew (in particular that of teacher Christa McAuliffe) was surely an inspiration to many, including aspiring astronaut John Denver: