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President Ford’s Decision Memo Naming the First Space Shuttle Orbiter the “Enterprise”

This PDF file is a series of memos relating to President Gerald Ford’s decision on September 8, 1976 to name the first Space Shuttle Orbiter the “Enterprise.” White House aide William Gorog first sent Ford a memo suggesting the name on September 3, noting that “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 Gorog memo was shopped around to other White House offices, who largely concurred with the recommendation (though Ford’s Counsellor, Jack Marsh, did not like “appealing to a T.V. fad”). Ford then made the decision on September 8, just prior to a 4 p.m. meeting with NASA Administrator James Fletcher. Ford put his “GRF” initials in the “Approve” blank on the decision memo, and the rest is history.

Ford initials on Enterprise naming memo

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