Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum – “Star Trek” Starship “Enterprise” Original Studio Model

This model of the fictional starship Enterprise was used in the weekly hour-long “Star Trek” TV show (NBC-TV), which aired from September 1966 until June 1969. Despite its short initial run (only three seasons), Star Trek became one of the most influential shows in the history of television. The show’s depiction of a racially-integrated, multinational crew of men and women working together successfully, as well as its attention to contemporary social and political issues, pushed the boundaries of network television, earning Star Trek a dedicated fan base that lobbied for the franchise’s continuation.

In the television show, the Enterprise traveled at speeds measured in multiples of the speed of light using warp drives, a propulsion concept extrapolated from supersonic flight to imagine faster-than-light travel. The fictional ship grossed 190,000 tons, and measured 947 feet long and 417 feet in diameter. The saucer-shaped hull included 11 decks, and had a crew complement of 430.

The model’s principal designer, Walter “Matt” Jefferies, created several different ideas for the Enterprise’s design to fit the requirements provided by Star Trek’s creator Gene Roddenberry. To support the final design suggestion, Jefferies also created a rough 4-inch balsa and cardboard prototype. A 33-inch “pilot” model mostly of solid wood was then built by model-maker Richard C. Datin under subcontract to the Howard Anderson Company. Enlarging the plans for that model resulted in the final 11-foot model shown here. The Anderson Company again turned to Datin who contracted it out to Production Model Shop of Burbank, California, with Datin supervising the construction while he did the detail work. The internal lights and nacelle end cap effects were added in 1965.

Paramount Studios donated the model to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in 1974.

Alternate Name: Star Trek Starship Enterprise Studio Model

Key Accomplishment(s): Model Used to Film The Original 1960s TV Series

Impact or Innovation: Star Trek’s imagination of space travel inspired millions and offered a potent example of a diverse spaceflight crew.

Brief Description: This model of the fictional starship Enterprise was used in the original 1960s Star Trek TV show. The show’s depiction of a racially-integrated, multinational crew, and contemporary themes pushed the boundaries of network TV, earning Star Trek a dedicated fan base.

Country of Origin: United States of America

Credit Line: Gift of Paramount Pictures Inc.

Unique Media Name: NASM-A19740668000-NASM2016-02327-000002

Inventory Number: A19740668000

Type: MODELS-Science Fiction

Object Name: Model, Starship Enterprise, Television Show, “Star Trek”

Data Source: National Air and Space Museum

Manufacturer: Richard C. Datin

Materials: Primarily constructed of poplar wood, vacu-formed plastic, rolled sheet metal tubes for both the engine pods from the back of the struts to the start of the nacelle caps, and plastic for the main sensor dish and detailing (light covers, etc.). The front and rear of the engine pods or nacelles are of wood. The nacelle grill plates brass. Rolled steel wires were also inserted through its original pipe support for lights.

  • Dimensions (Overall): 78.7cm, 11 ft. 3 1/2 in., 152.4cm, 90.7kg (2 ft. 7 in., 344.2cm, 5 ft., 200lb.)
  • Dimensions (Saucer): 150.6 × 23.4 × 6.8cm (4 ft. 11 5/16 in. × 9 3/16 in. × 2 11/16 in.)
  • Dimensions (“Neck” Supporting Saucer): 37.4 × 66.9 × 7cm (1 ft. 2 3/4 in. × 2 ft. 2 5/16 in. × 2 3/4 in.)
  • Dimensions (Engineering Hull, w/o deflector dish assembly ): 122.1 × 24.3 × 33.5 × 20.5cm (4 ft. 1/16 in. × 9 9/16 in. × 1 ft. 1 3/16 in. × 8 1/16 in.)
  • Dimensions (Support Pylons): 12.7 × 52.6 × 3.3cm (5 in. × 1 ft. 8 3/4 in. × 1 5/16 in.)
  • Dimensions (Nacelle): 184.2 × 19 × 15.6cm (6 ft. 1/2 in. × 7 1/2 in. × 6 1/8 in.)

To view more on the ORIGINAL USS Enterprise Model (including Restoration), click the VIEW MORE Button Link below…







Walter “Matt” Jefferies



Howard A. Anderson



Richard C. Datin, Jr.



Production Model Shop

Burbank, California




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