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Shuttlecraft Galileo: 1991
by Greg Tyler
September 16, 2003
Updated November 22, 2006

Out of all the shuttles seen in five live-action Star Trek television series, one animated cartoon series, and ten feature films, perhaps no shuttle has as much sentiment to longtime Star Trek fans as the Galileo NCC-1701/7 and its namesakes in the original Star Trek television series.

The first shuttlecraft Galileo debuted in the first-season episode "The Galileo Seven." The tiny ship crashed on planet Taurus II near the Murasaki quasar, and she was lost in the planet's atmosphere during a desperate but ultimately successful attempt to save her remaining crew.

Another Galileo found its way to Epsilon Canaris III in "Metamorphosis," where its crew discovered the long-lost inventor of warp drive, Zephram Cochrane. In "The Immunity Syndrome," Spock destroyed the Galileo during a successful attempt to destroy a giant amoeba-like entity.

The shuttlecraft Galileo II NCC-1701/7, an oddly numbered replacement to at least two previous shuttles named Galileo, was stolen by Doctor Sevrin and a band of "space hippies" in their quest to find Eden in "The Way to Eden."

The Galileo shuttles had a number of sister ships as well. Shuttlecraft Columbus took part in a search for the Galileo in "The Galileo Seven." Kirk and an illusory Commodore Mendez flew a shuttlecraft from Starbase 11 to the Enterprise in "The Menagerie, Part I." A Galileo-like shuttle can be seen launching from Star Fleet Headquarters in the director's edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Finally, a shuttle like the Galileo might be spotted in the hangar bay of Space Station K-7 in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations."

In reality, all of the shuttles seen in the original series were redresses of the same three components:

  1. A filming miniature of the shuttle, used in "space shots" and in shots featuring the hangar deck miniature set.
  2. A full-scale interior set, used for all interior scenes. Interestingly the interior set is considerably taller than the exterior set prop. The inside is literally larger than the outside!
  3. A "full-scale" exterior set prop of the shuttle, used for all exterior shots on full-scale sets. Note that the exterior set prop is too small to have been able to contain the interior as depicted by the interior set. Some have described the exterior prop as being "three-quarter-scale."

Following the cancellation of Star Trek in 1969, the full-scale exterior prop of the Galileo came under the possession of a number of owners. By 1991, the Galileo set prop was owned by a Star Trek fan who lived near Cleveland, Ohio. The fan took it upon herself to renovate the prop, which had suffered heavy damage from being stored outside for many years.

In November 1991 the Galileo exterior prop made an appearance at LagrangeCon '91, a fan-run Star Trek convention near Cleveland, Ohio. The prop was still under renovation, and its owner was raising money in order to continue her restoration efforts.

The 1991 owner purchased the Galileo in the late 1980s from a California resident. The "flight" of Galileo was documented in an article written by Julie Washington and published in the August 1991 issue of the Cleveland-based fanzine Ansible. Click here to read the article. It is hoped that the copyright owner(s) of the article and its accompanying photo will support this online "reprint" in the spirit of sharing information about the Galileo prop with fellow Star Trek fans.

This author is aware that, as of December 2005, Galileo is "docked" in Ohio, in safe hands, and almost fully restored. The current owner has asked to remain private, and this site's webmaster supports the owner's wishes.

The following images were taken by Greg Tyler (and/or his father) at LagrangeCon '91.

Image 1 Galileo exterior set prop as of November 1991. The shuttle was on display at LagrangeCon '91, under a tarp in order to protect it from the elements.

Image 2 Galileo exterior set prop as of November 1991

Image 3 Galileo exterior set prop as of November 1991

Image 4 View through port-side hatch, looking aft. Note that most of the interior -- and likely most of the exterior -- has been mostly replaced. Note also that the shuttle's ceiling has been removed. The door mechanism was said to have been the original mechanism, and it was said to still be in good operating condition.

Image 5 View through port-side hatch, looking forward. Note the fuzzy dice hanging by the forward viewports!

Image 6 Port aft view of Galileo prop. I no longer remember what the items in the foreground of this image were. I believe the cylindrical object may have been the starboard nacelle of the shuttle prop.

Image 7 Port aft view of Galileo prop.

Image 8 Aft view of Galileo prop. Note that the starboard nacelle has been removed.


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