‘Star Trek’ Spaceship Model Soars Into Stratosphere

by Elizabeth Howell on May 17, 2013

It was billed as the U.S. S. Enterprise’s first “real” flight in space, but the spaceship didn’t get quite that far.

A group of Star Trek fans launched a model of the famed fictional vessel to an altitude of 95,568 feet (29,129 meters) above Canada, or about 18.1 miles (29.1 kilometers), they told media.

The Karman line — a commonly accepted threshold for the edge of space — is at about 62 miles, or 100 kilometers, above sea level.

Still, the high-flying feat made the Canadian group quite happy, even though the ship made a suicidal crash landing at the end of its flight.

“We lost our engines,” said Steve Schnier, a member of the group that set Enterprise aloft with a weather balloon from Stayner, Ontario, in an interview with Canada AM.

Dropping out of warp speed could have deadly results. (Image: Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios)

The Enterprise takes flight in a Star Trek showing. (Image: Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios)

“It wasn’t a smooth ride,” Schnier added concerning the ship’s final minutes. “It was moving, at one point, at 117 kilometres [72.7 miles] an hour.”

Enterprise smashed into the water near a Georgian Bay island in an area roughly 2.5 hours’ drive north of Canada’s largest city of Toronto. Searchers found it using a GPS signal.

The launch at the end of April came just weeks before Star Trek: Into Darkness, the next installment of the nearly 50-year-old franchise, zoomed into theaters in Canada and the United States this week. (Read our full review here.)

Weather balloon flights are used in science to collect information about the upper atmosphere. Other amateur groups have had fun using the idea, flying tokens ranging from teddy bears to Lego figurines.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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