- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It may not fully make up for President Obama’s gutting of America’s manned spaceflight program, but for now it will have to do.

Star Trek’s Galileo, the fiberglass shuttlecraft featured on the “The Galileo Seven” episode of the classic ’60s sci-fi series, was officially unveiled Wednesday at Space Center Houston, the official museum/visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where it will remain on permanent display.

If nothing else, the Galileo development program proved far less costly than NASA’s $9 billion next-generation space program, Constellation, which fell victim to Mr. Obama’s budget ax in 2010.

The Galileo was purchased at auction for just $61,000 by Adam Schneider, who spent roughly a year, according to the Associated Press, restoring to its original glory the stellar prop vehicle, which is, in all candor, a little on the boxy side, evoking something like a zero-G minivan, or maybe a failed prototype for a Dulles Airport people-mover.

Mr. Schneider flew in from New York — sub-orbital, commercial air — for the unveiling, a colorful affair that drew “Trekkies of all stripes,” reported the AP’s Ramit Plushnick-Masti. “Some wore Scotty’s Repair Shop T-shirts, others full-blown spandex outfits worn by Mr. Spock and his peers in the famous TV show and movies.”

But the ersatz spacecraft also provided a kind of emotional release for spaceflight enthusiasts hungry for inspiration ever since the grounding of America’s real-life space fleet upon the final Space Shuttle landing in 2011.

The Galileo is “fantastic,” said Richard Allen, the CEO and president of Space Center Houston. “We’re all about exciting and educating … and I’m convinced that space is one of the best, if not the best, way of creating inquiry in young minds.”

Remember, the Obama administration won’t last forever, and one day we will return to space. Until then — sigh — the only place we’ll see an American spacecraft is in a museum.



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