A peek into our collections, one object at a time

U.S.S. Enterprise Model, “Star Trek”

September 7, 2011
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Star Trek Starship Studio Model
U.S.S. Enterprise Model, “Star Trek”, 1966, Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

This model of the fictional starship Enterprise was used in the weekly hourlong “Star Trek” TV series that aired September 1966 to June 1969. Despite its short initial run, “Star Trek” became one of the most popular shows in the history of television. The original Star Trek followed the interstellar adventures of Capt. James T. Kirk and the crew of an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century galactic "United Federation of Planets”—the Starship Enterprise.

The model's principal designer, Walter "Matt" Jefferies, worked with concepts provided by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry. In the early stages of production, Paramount Studios constructed a rough 4-inch balsa and cardboard prototype. A 3-foot "pilot" model of solid wood was then built by model-maker Richard C. Datin under subcontract to the Howard Anderson Co. The 3-foot model resulted in the final 11-foot model shown here. This model is constructed of poplar wood, vacu-formed plastic, rolled sheet-metal tubes and plastic.