New Book Reveals how NASA and the U.S. Military were Trek Fans and Gave the Original Series Crucial Support
Introducing Inspired Enterprise: How NASA, the Smithsonian and Others Helped Launch Star Trek
Nearly 56 years after Star Trek first aired it remains incredibly popular, with new iterations like Strange New Worlds, Picard, and Below Decks drawing legions of fans. It took a long time for the original series to establish its fan base – and a new book is set to reveal the important role of NASA, the U.S. Military, private aerospace companies and even the esteemed Smithsonian in keeping Star Trek going during its formative years. A new Kickstarter campaign aims to bring the full story to readers.
While doing archival research at NASA in the 1990s and 2000s, Glen E. Swanson, then chief historian at the Johnson Space Center, uncovered tantalizing evidence connecting NASA and Star Trek together throughout the 1960s. This information was not well known or widely publicized by either NASA or Star Trek. Later in his career Swanson turned to this intriguing link once more, learning that elite encouragement for the series went beyond just NASA to also include personnel and representatives from the U.S. military, aerospace companies, and even the Smithsonian Museum! Inspired Enterprise will reveal a never-before-told history of these influential partnerships.
Swanson has visited multiple archives, uncovering documents and photos that were unknown or, in some cases, entirely lost. He has interviewed many influential persons in the history of Star Trek, including family members whose stories bring a fresh perspective. He seeks travel funds for additional archival research and to cover licensing fees that will allow Inspired Enterprise to include never-before-published photos. At the time of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign is underway, and has achieved a little over one-sixth of its $12,000 goal. The Kickstarter ends June 28th.
Swanson’s NASA expertise makes this book unlike anything previously published. At NASA, he was responsible for digitizing recordings of the Apollo missions and for spearheading NASA’s oral history program. His book Before This Decade is Out: Personal Reflections on the Apollo Program won the Pendleton Prize. Swanson has written scores of articles about NASA and the space program, honing his skills as an investigator, archival researcher and interviewer to create a work that promises to ignite the imaginations die-hard Star Trek fans and delight aficionados of both spaceflight and television history alike.