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Model Facts: What you Didn’t Know About the Star Trek USS Enterprise Design

The original U.S.S. Enterprise model
Before William Shatner flew to space on a Blue Origin rocket, Star Trek's James T. Kirk captained the fictional spaceship USS Enterprise.

Actor William Shatner, famous for playing Star Trek's James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, rocketed into space aboard a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket courtesy of Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

But it was Shatner's fictional travels in the Enterprise that inspired Bezos to build Blue Origin, so from that perspective, it was Shatner who contributed to making it possible for Bezos to fly to space when he flew on the previous mission.

At 90, Shatner became the oldest person yet to fly to space.

“What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine,” Shatner told Jeff Bezos upon his return. "I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this.”

In honor of the occasion, we've compiled a gallery of photos of the 11-foot model of the USS Enterprise employed for special effects photography in the original show.

The science-fiction spaceship completed its stated "five-year" mission a little early, in 1969, so Paramount donated the historic model to Smithsonian in 1974. Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum exhibits the famous fictional spaceship now and provided these photos of it.

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