The Factual Enterprise
This model of the starship Enterprise
was used in the filming of the Star Trek TV show, which
ran from 1966 to 1969. It is mostly made of poplar wood and
vacu-formed plastic. Sheet metal tubes were used for the two
engine housings or nacelles.
The Enterprise was based on the ideas of Star Trek
producer Gene Roddenberry and made from a design by Walter
M. Jeffries. A tiny balsa and cardboard version was built
first. Then Richard C. Datin Jr. built a 1-meter (3-foot)
wooden model, which was scaled up to create the final version.
Paramount Pictures donated the Enterprise model to
the Smithsonian in 1974.
Starship Enterprise Model
Smithsonian photo by Carolyn Russo
Starship Enterprise Model
Length, overall: 3.3 m (11 ft)
Diameter, saucer: 152 cm (60 in)
Length, engine pods: 185 cm (72.25 in)
Length, secondary hull: 135 cm (53.5 in)
Height: 80 cm (32 in)
Weight: 90 kg (200 lb)
More information: Model, Starship Enterprise, Television Show, "Star Trek"
The Fictional Enterprise
Star Trek producer Gene Roddenberry sought to create a believable
yet fictional spaceship of the 23rd century capable of traveling between solar systems — a starship, not just a spaceship. After poring over science fiction illustrations
and consulting leading aerospace companies on futuristic concepts,
he settled on the idea of a huge saucer-shaped vessel with 11 decks
and a crew of 430.
To avoid expensive and complicated sets, Roddenberry decided
not to ever have the Enterprise land. Instead, it went into
orbit around a planet and "beamed" crew members down to
the surface via an energy-matter transporter.
Configuration: The saucer-shaped Command section was joined
by a slanting pylon to the cigar-shaped Engineering hull, which
contained the machinery for driving the ship. Two additional pylons
supported the twin engine nacelles at the rear. The dome atop the
saucer was the bridge, the nerve center of the vessel.
Propulsion and Weaponry The ship was powered by a fictional
"space warp drive," later described in the show as a controlled
matter/antimatter system and based upon contemporary theories of
antimatter. The Enterprise was equipped with a laser-like
defensive "phaser" and "photon" torpedoes.
Registration Star Trek used naval terminology and
crew ranks to provide a link with the present. The Enterprise
was a starship of the Constitution class. Its registration number, NCC-1701— chosen by art designer Matt Jeffries to blend American and Soviet ship naming conventions with numbers that could be read easily on screen — has been used to extrapolate a vast fleet's worth of fictional registration numbers.
Length: 288 m (947 ft)
Diameter, saucer: 127 m (417 ft)
Length, engine pods: 153 m (504 ft)
Diameter, engine pods: 18 m (60 ft)
Length, secondary hull: 103 m (340 ft)
Weight, gross: 172,368,000 kg (190,000 tons)
The Enterprise's Original Stand
The model is displayed with the original stand upon which
the model of the U.S.S. Enterprise was mounted during filming
for the Star Trek TV show. Still visible at the bottom is
some of the blue chalk dust that covered the stand to make it blend
in with a blue screen background during filming. The image of the
ship was then superimposed against simulated scenes of stars and
planets to create a realistic effect of a spaceship flying through
Gift of Paramount Pictures
More information: Stand, Starship Enterprise