A spaceship named Enterprise had its first free flight as part of testing for the Space Shuttle on this day in history.
The Space Shuttle Enterprise was used for a series of Approach & Landing tests to give astronauts and NASA researchers a chance to evaluate how the ship called the “flying brick” would glide to a landing upon returning from space. The first free flight would take place on August 12th, 1977.
The Enterprise was taken into the skies attached to a specially-modified Boeing 747 jet. It then detached from the jet. The first flight had a nosecone covering where the engines would be and would land on a lakebed instead of a normal runway.
Fred Haise Jr. and C. Gordon Fullerton were the crew of the first flight. The orbiter achieved speeds of over 300 hours on a successful mission.
Four more free flights would take place, before the shuttle Columbia became the first shuttle to fly into space years later.
It’s the final battle for Earth between humanity and its allies and the Xindi in an episode of Enterprise that aired on this day in television history.
“Zero Hour” is the final episode of the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise. Written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, it first aired on UPN on May 26th, 2004.
The Xindi superweapon approaches its target: Earth. Courtesy: Paramount / Viacom / CBS
The episode continues the event of the storyline of the entire third season, as the crew of Enterprise work to stop a weapon made by the Xindi that could destroy Earth. This episode features the final battle for humanity’s survival.
The episode ends with a twist cliffhanger that would lead into the show’s fourth and final season.
The final television episode of Star Trek to air to date was aired on this day in television history.
“These Are the Voyages…” is the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, which aired on UPN on May 13th, 2005. The episode concluded the fourth and final season of the show, and was written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga.
Commander Riker in an Enterprise uniform. Courtesy: Paramount / Viacom / CBS
The episode is set several years after the penultimate episode of the series, as the Enterprise is set to return to Earth for the founding of the United Federation of Planets. Two centuries beyond that, Commander William Riker is reliving these events in the holodeck of the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The episode guest starred Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker and Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi. Brent Spiner makes an audio cameo as Lieutenant Commander Data. Aside from those three characters returning from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the recurring Enterprise character of Shran returns, played once again by Jeffrey Combs.
The show ends with a montage of the various starships named Enterprise featured in their own television series.
The conclusion of this episode marked the end of 18 years of continuous production of Star Trek television, which included four series: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. Currently, a new series, Star Trek: Discovery, is under production.
The crew of Earth’s first Warp-5 ship encounter one of humanity’s greatest threats in an episode that aired on this day in TV history.
“Regeneration” is the 23rd episode of the 2nd season of Star Trek: Enterprise. Written by Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong and directed by David Livingston, it first aired on May 7th, 2003 on UPN.
The Enterprise battles a transport enhanced with Borg technology. Courtesy: Paramount / Viacom / CBS
In the episode, an expedition in the Earth’s arctic finds unusual alien wreckage and bodies. Their investigation takes a shocking turn when the bodies come to life. The Enterprise is sent to intercept a transport that he aliens took from Earth and enhanced. They turn out to be the part-human, part-machine threat known as the Borg.
The Borg, a staple of the Star Trek series set in the 24th century, appear here in full continuity to the rest of the Star Trek universe. The wreckage is from when the Enterprise-E destroyed a Borg ship in the 21st century as seen in Star Trek: First Contact. Brian Tyler, known for such musical scores as the one in Iron Man 3, composed the score for this episode–one of only two for Enterprise.
The Enterprise is taken over by a mysterious alien race (but one familiar to longtime Star Trek fans) in an episode that aired 15 years ago today.
The Ferengi troll the Bridge, with its command crew knocked out. Courtesy: Paramount / Viacom / CBS
“Acquisition” is the 19th episode of the 1st season of Star Trek: Enterprise. Written by Maria Jacquemetton & André Jacquemetton (with story by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga) and directed by James Whitmore, Jr. , it first aired on UPN on March 27th, 2002.
The crew of the Enterprise has been knocked out at Earth’s first Warp 5 ship is boarded by aliens who come onboard to plunder the ship–and its crew. The only one still conscious is Commander Tucker, who must help to save the Enterprise himself.
The Ferengi make their first appearance in Enterprise, with the race dating back to the beginning episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The three Ferengi are played by Star Trek alums: Jeffrey Combs (who also played another Ferengi, Brunt, on Deep Space Nine), Ethan Phillips (Neelix on Star Trek: Voyager) and Clint Howard (Balok in the original series episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver”). The Ferengi also use the energy whips they used into their introduction episode of Next Generation.
In the midst of trying to stop a superweapon destined to destroy Earth, the Enterprise faces a brutal attack from its deadly foe.
“Azati Prime” is the 18th episode of the 3rd season of Star Trek: Enterprise. Written by Manny Coto (with story by Coto with Rick Berman and Brannon Braga) and directed by Allan Kroeker, it first aired on UPN on March 3rd, 2004.
The Enterprise is wrecked by a brutal Xindi attack. Courtesy: Paramount / Viacom / CBS
The episode continues the Xindi arc which spans the 3rd season of the show—this arc involves the Enterprise in a dangerous region of space to stop a superweapon that could destroy Earth. That superweapon is found in this episode. But, when Captain Archer himself tries to go on a suicide mission to stop it, he is whisked to a distant future to show the importance of surviving his mission. Soon after, the Enterprise of the “present” is savagely attacked by Xindi ships.
The episode portrays the Enterprise-J as seen in a potential future of the 26th century. “Azati Prime” is notable for an action scene where the NX-01 Enterprise (the current one of this series) is heavily damaged, as shown by external CGI along with trashed sets and injured crew. The episode ends in a cliffhanger, and from here on out, each episode of the season continues into the next through the 3rd season finale and into the 4th season premiere.
In the future, Earth has been destroyed and Captain Archer can’t keep his memories as what’s left of humanity struggles to survive.
A shocking sight as Earth as destroyed by the Xindi superweapon. Courtesy: Paramount / Viacom / CBS
“Twilight” is the 8th episode of the 3rd season of Star Trek: Enterprise. Written by Michael Sussman, it first aired on UPN on November 5th, 2003.
In the episode, set years ahead of where the show currently was in that season, Captain Archer and the remnants of humanity struggle to survive on a planet after Earth was destroyed by the Xindi superweapon that the crew of Enterprise had set out to stop. He can’t recall this because he is unable to keep his memories. As he is once again told the story by his caregiver T’Pol, his old doctor Phlox says he might have a way to cure him…which could also change history in the process.
The episode was directed by Robert Duncan McNeill, who played Lt. Tom Paris for seven years on Star Trek: Voyager. It continues the Xindi plotline established at the end of Season 2 that would run throughout the show’s third season.