Sunday, July 10, 2016

She Flies Again!

Courtesy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

After a long restoration, the U.S.S Enterprise flies again, in a position of honor in the revamped Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The new climate controlled case (the model once was hung on wires out in the open) sits amidst quite a few non-fictional aircraft and spacecraft, such as a Lunar Lander, Yeager's Bell X-1, Sputnik I, The Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module, and some other good stuff. Why is a model of a fictional ship included here?

Yes, it's just a model, but...

This collection of wood, vacuum-formed plastic, lights, and a bit of metal and paint carries our hopes, dreams, aspirations, and at least one vision of our future. This model IS the Starship Enterprise many of us came to know and love in our childhood. The ideals set forth in the show got at least some of us through the rough times of the 1960's. Keep in mind, our first real reach beyond our planet, the moon landing July 20, 1969, occurred at the end of the original Star Trek run. Yes, I know one is real, and one is fantasy, but the dreams inspired by both will carry us to the stars. How poetic!

OK, back to Earth. There are quite a few videos on YouTube about the restoration, and I've posted just one of them below. I was quite fascinated by the computerized LED replacement lights in the warp drive nacelles. It seems the original rotating light show was created with motors and Christmas lights. The assemblies got hot enough to scorch the wood housing! How far we've come...

And now, I shall boldly go... back to work.