How geeky-cool is this? The first space shuttle, named for the Star Trek spaceship Enterprise, is met by members of the Star Trek crew and actual space scientists: Dr. James C. Fletcher (NASA Administrator), DeForest Kelley (Leonard "Bones" McCoy), George Takei (Hikaru Sulu), James Doohan (Montgomery "Scotty" Scott), Nichelle Nichols (Nyota Uhura), Leonard Nimoy (Spock), Gene Roddenberry (The Great Bird of the Galaxy), an unnamed NASA official, and Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov).

Photograph courtesy NASA

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  • On Sept. 8, 1966, Star Trek, a science-fiction television series, premiered on NBC. The show, created by Gene Roddenberry, followed a spacecraft, the Enterprise, as it traveled the galaxy with a multicultural crew. In addition to featuring people of different ethnicities, different alien species coexisted on the ship. This was one of the first shows to imagine such an optimistic, harmonious future.

    Star Trek has become a powerful cultural force. People travel around the world to attend Star Trek conventions and mingle with other fans of the show. It prompted popular spoofs and spinoffs, and catchphrases, such as "Live long and prosper."

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    galaxy Noun

    collection of stars, planets, gases, and other celestial bodies bound together by gravity.

    harmony Noun

    agreement or complementary association of several parts.

    mingle Verb

    to mix or combine with.

    multicultural Adjective

    representing many different traditions or cultures.

    optimistic Adjective

    having a hopeful or positive point of view.

    science fiction adjective, noun

    art form that draws on knowledge of science for plot, setting, or character.

    spacecraft Noun

    vehicle designed for travel outside Earth's atmosphere.