133. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs (Gorog) to President Ford1 2


  • Naming the Space Shuttle

Next Wednesday you will meet with Dr. James Fletcher of NASA for a substantive meeting at which time you will be presented with a mock-up of the space shuttle, the full scale version of which will be rolled out in California later this month. NASA has not announced a name as of yet for the shuttle, and they are holding this announcement until your meeting with Fletcher.

Dr. Fletcher is not adverse to the name “Enterprise” for the space shuttle, and I suggest that you ask that it be so named for the following reasons:

  • NASA has received hundreds of thousands of letters from the space-oriented “Star Trek” group asking that the name “Enterprise” be given to the craft. This group comprises millions of individuals who are deeply interested in our space program.
  • The name “Enterprise” is tied in with the system on which the Nation’s economic structure is built.
  • Use of the name would provide a substantial human interest appeal to the rollout ceremonies scheduled for this month in California, where the aeronautical industry is of vital importance.

In short, this situation could provide the same public interest as the CB radio provided for Mrs. Ford.

Your approval is sought to have NASA use the name “Enterprise” on the space shuttle.

Approve [GRF initialed]
Disapprove ____________

[Page 2]



Naming the Space Shuttle

Staffing of the attached memorandum resulted in the following comments and recommendations:

Phil Buchen and Brent Scowcroft - concur with recommendation.

Jim Cannon - “It seems to me “Enterprise” is an excellent name for the space shuttle.

It would be personally gratifying to several million followers of the television show “Star Trek”, one of the most dedicated constituencies in the country.

Moreover, the name “Enterprise” is a hallowed Navy tradition. An “Enterprise” was in action against the Barbary pirates in 1803. During World War II, an “Enterprise” served with the Wasp and the Hornet in the carrier fleet in the Pacific. And the Navy’s current “Enterprise” is the first nuclear carrier.”

Dr. Guy Stever—“Enterprise” is fine for the reasons listed.”

Bob Hartmann—“This is an especially hallowed Naval name—going back to the Revolution—I think Navy should keep it.”

Jack Marsh—“I have no objection to this selection of a name, however, I am not enthusiastic about the rationale for the selection. “Enterprise” is a famous name for vessels since the early days of the Republic. I think that is a far better reason than appealing to a T.V. fad.”

Jim Connor
  1. Source: Ford Library, Presidential Handwriting File, Subject File, Box 34, Outer Space. No classification marking. Ford initialed his approval. The September 7 document reporting the reactions of White House staff is attached to the memorandum. The decision in favor of “Enterprise” was announced on September 9, one day after the meeting with NASA officials.
  2. The memorandum recommended naming the first space shuttle “Enterprise” as a response to appeals by supporters of the television show “Star Trek.”