On September 17, 1976, NASA publicly unveils its first space shuttle, the Enterprise, during a ceremony in Palmdale, California. In 1977, the Enterprise became the first space shuttle to fly freely when it was lifted to a height of 25,000 feet by a Boeing 747 and then released, gliding back to Edwards Air Force Base on its own accord.
Construction began on June 4, 1974. Designated OV-101 (NASA Orbiter Vehicle 101), it was originally planned to be named Constitution and unveiled on Constitution Day, September 17, 1976. A letter-writing campaign by Star Trek fans (Trekkies) to President Gerald Ford asked that the orbiter be named after the Starship Enterprise. Most of the cast of the original series along with Gene Rodenberry were guests at Rockwell's, Palmdale California plant for the opening.
Documentary narrated by William Shatner