The first episode of Star Trek/TOS that used a shuttlecraft was The Galileo Seven, which included the full interior and exterior of the shuttle. That was more than halfway through the season (Episode S01E16). Earlier, in The Enemy Within (S01E05), there is no mention of the shuttle at all, even when it would have solved the problem of rescuing the men stranded on the planet in the extreme cold. (Or did I miss a mention of it there?) I've read a comment from Roddenberry about the transporter being created because they couldn't land a big ship on a planet every week, which indicates he wasn't even thinking of any kind of shuttle in the early part of the production process.

So a two part question:

  1. Is there any documentation about when the concept of having a shuttle on the Enterprise was developed and was it part of the concept from the beginning of the show?
  2. When was the shuttlecraft first mentioned in the series? Was it before The Galileo 7?
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    As I heard it, the shuttlecraft was in the original concept but the set for it hadn't been built yet. The transporter was invented so they could visit planets in the first few episodes, and it just caught on. Commented Mar 8 at 21:28
  • Roddenberry noting the Enterprise is not designed to land has nothing to with shuttles. Given that the Enterprise has always had a shuttlebay the absence of a shuttle in early stories where it would have been useful can be solely attributed to the out universe lack of a model and sets and a script that works fine without being nitpicked. Commented Mar 9 at 1:58
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    @lucasbachmann The Enterprise always had that space in the rear, but was it intended as a shuttle bay from the start? And if they had shuttles, why would Roddenberry be thinking of landing the full ship on a planet at all? Remember, when they finally did use the shuttle, we never saw it land or take off or doing anything but flying in space.
    – Tango
    Commented Mar 9 at 4:22
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    Prior to Star Trek science fiction had rockets or saucers doing the landing. See Buck Roger's, Rocketship X-M, Forbidden Planet. And obviously JJ Abrams didn't get - the Enterprise is uniquely meant for Zero gravity. It is not aerodynamic and it is held together by narrow sections. Commented Mar 9 at 5:23
  • @lucasbachmann I agree in many ways with your point about the Constitution Class being intended only for flight in space, but I think when you consider the stresses battle maneuvers and other things we saw (like breaking free of tractor beams or fighting one in, say, The Apple) show us that things like the nacelle struts can handle enormous stress. Still, there's a difference between a hull holding pressure IN than standing against outside pressure. (That also bothered me in Airport '77!)
    – Tango
    Commented Mar 10 at 6:17

3 Answers 3


…Before we go any further discussing the transporter either scientifically or dramatically, let’s see how this mess got started. Was the machine a part of the series from the beginning?

Contrary to popular belief, it was not. The first series outline-dated March 1964 contained no mention of anything so fantastic. The problem of transit between the large ship and any surface was handled by the only obvious answer, a “small shuttle rocket.” There were no story springboards involving a machine which would destroy the characters’ concept of distance and transportation times. enter image description here

Van Treuren, Richard. "On Ship-to-Surface Transportation". Best of Trek. March 1980. p. 53-65.

According to Wikipedia. The 1964 original premise for Star Trek mentioned...


Dated March 1964, the premise mentions a "small shuttle rocket".2 The shuttle rocket was too expensive to build for the first episodes. For most of the series the transporter served to teleport characters on and off the ship.

The source was given as

Van Treuren, Richard. "On Ship-to-Surface Transportation". Best of Trek. March 1980. p. 53-65.

Richard G. Van Treuren Rich Van Treuren's articles on the Star Trek miniatures in The Best of Trek #1 proved to be among the most popular in that collection. So armed with dozens of laudatory letters, we prevailed upon Rich to once more turn his writing attentions to Star Trek. His first few submissions to us were a series of excellent photo oriented articles, which, sadly, we are not able to include in this collection. However, just before our deadline for this book, Rich wrote and informed us he had "a little something on the transporter" that was mostly text, and might be suitable for inclusion. The "little something" turned out to be the most detailed and entertaining article on the transporter we have ever seen! We believe you will think so.

It was September 1964. The new, unique television show was taking shape. Its science-fictional spaceship, created by artists/ aviators, had been whittled out in model form. The pi- lot film story had been chosen. Even though the first-script draft was carefully prepared by an experienced entertainer with wide aviation experience, the opinion of an aerospace professional was solicited. The physicist took exception to only one major point-something called the "transporter." "What kind of fun is that?" he wrote. "Where is the suspense?" The scientist, of course, was H. P. Lynn; he was offering criticism to creator Gene Roddenberry. The story was made public in The Making of Star Trek. Here we had the most perfectly credible science-fiction space project ever attempted for television. (Admittedly, that is not saying very much.) Every facet had been either created or supervised by knowledgeable types. The pilot script was a…

enter image description here

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    Nice find--to address question #2 (not worth posting as a separate answer), assuming Tango was asking about production order rather than airdate order, I did keyword searches on the chakoteya.net transcripts for the 13 episodes before "Galileo 7", the prior episode "Conscience of a King" had Kirk giving Lenore a tour and saying "That's the flight deck down there with the shuttle craft". In "The Corbonite Maneuver" McCoy also asks if he is a doctor or a "moon shuttle conductor" but that doesn't count...
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Mar 8 at 23:13
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    The Enemy Within 1x05 is probably the most notorious with fans as a shuttle would presumably have solved the freezing Sulu vs malfunctioning transporter problem. Obviously just because we don't know the in-universe reason doesn't mean one can't be invented to preserve continuity. Commented Mar 9 at 2:04
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    @lucasbachmann One issue about The Enemy Within is that there wasn't even a throw-away line, "Normally we'd use the shuttlecraft, but we can't because..." and add any kind of excuse like repairs, heavy radiation out there, some odd atmospheric layer, and so on. That there wasn't even an excuse given makes it seem like it wasn't even a consideration.
    – Tango
    Commented Mar 9 at 4:21
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    Great answer overall, but the opening quotation is rather confusing without context — am I understanding right that “the machine” refers to the transporter, not the shuttlecraft?
    – PLL
    Commented Mar 11 at 9:42
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    I added a larger photo of more of the page and wrote the beginning of the quote so it is clear the machine being referred to is the transporter. Thank you @PLl Commented Mar 11 at 10:23

The very first mention of a shuttle of any sort is from TOS: The Corbomite Maneuver (airdate 10 Nov, 1966). In this instance, a moon shuttle.

KIRK: I'll be right up. You could see the alarm lights flashing from there, McCoy. Why didn't you tell me?

MCCOY: Finally finished a physical on you, didn't I. (Kirk leaves) What am I, a doctor or a moon shuttle conductor? If I jumped every time a light came on around here, I'd end up talking to myself.

The first example of a Federation facility possessing shuttlecraft is from TOS: The Menagerie (airdate 17 Nov, 1966), in this case a Starbase Shuttle.

MENDEZ: Starbase Shuttlecraft one to Enterprise. Come in, please. Enterprise, Commodore Mendez and Captain Kirk. If you read me, you are ordered to reply. Repeating it on all emergency frequencies, Jim.

The very first mention of the Enterprise having its own shuttles is from is TOS: The Conscience of the King (airdate 8 Dec, 1966)

KIRK: This is the observation deck. That's the flight deck down there with the shuttle craft.

And the first time we see a named shuttlecraft aboard the Enterprise is, as you say, from the titular TOS: The Galileo Seven (airdate 5 Jan, 1967).

KIRK: Captain to shuttlecraft Galileo. Stand by, Mister Spock.

  • I that reference in The Corbomite Maneuver is a general reference, so you're right that it's not to a shuttlecraft.
    – Tango
    Commented Mar 10 at 6:14
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    @Tango - Yes. All he says is that there's a moon shuttle. We don't know if it's a literal Shuttlecraft or if he means a shuttle as in 'shuttle bus' (e.g. a regular short transit from a to b)
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 10 at 13:22

The Enterprise had a "hangar deck" or "flight deck" in early drafts of the Constitution class design by Matt Jeffries. So by implication, shuttlecraft or equivalent small ships were always part of the plan. (Though I'd speculate small visiting alien ships could visit too like Babylon 5 had.)

(I just also noticed Matt Jeffries' registry scheme would have made the future Motion Picture refit be 1701A as a structure modification - rather than the honorary designation.)

From website "Forgotten Trek: Designing the First Enterprise"


enter image description here

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  • I wish there were dates on these sketches, since there's the story that the original Enterprise design was upside down to what we know and when it came time to hang the model for display, it was hung upside down and well received, so they stuck with the upside-down version, which is what we have now. One reason I doubt this is the design of the shuttle hanger and the curve up under it - that wouldn't really work as a hanger with a landing deck if the ship were upside down.
    – Tango
    Commented Mar 13 at 3:56
  • @Tango I suspect the upside-down stuff is related to some of the drafts with the sphere hull and later became the basis of the Daedalus class model in DS9/TNG for a pre-Constitution class. Commented Mar 13 at 6:08

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