In 2014, NASA presented William Shatner with this Distinguished Award.

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In 2014, NASA presented William Shatner with this Distinguished Award.

William Shatner’s first flight to space and the pomp that surrounded it have been widely covered in recent weeks. On Oct. 13, 2021, Captain Kirk fulfilled a lifelong ambition as he blasted off into the wide unknown. The expedition went off without a hitch.

William has been regarded as one of the most influential names in science fiction television for decades, and his journey 347,539 feet above ground level was the first time the Star Trek actor had ever left the planet. He was not, however, working with NASA in an official position for the first time.

Continue reading to learn more about William’s initial encounter with the illustrious space organization, as well as the award he received later.

Although William officially ascended the stratosphere for the first time on Oct. 13, 2021, his ties with NASA go back far further. The actor has always had a soft spot for NASA, and it appears that many of those who work there are also longtime Star Trek fans.

When NASA was preparing its successor to the Apollo program in 1976, a new space shuttle, originally named Constitution, was renamed Enterprise to honor William’s character’s notorious Star Trek ship.

In addition, to commemorate the final Discovery shuttle trip in 2011, William provided his voice to a recreation of the legendary Star Trek intro sequence, which was used as a wake-up call for the STS-133 mission astronauts.

In 2012, the actor was chosen once more to conduct a video presentation that showcased the mission that the Curiosity rover on Mars was about to embark on. It’s evident that he and NASA have a long and illustrious history together, which the organization opted to acknowledge not long after his hosting role.

In 2014, NASA awarded William the Distinguished Public Service Medal in recognition of his long-term commitment to the organization. This is the highest accolade that the agency may confer on a non-government individual. The medal was given to William for his “exceptional generosity and dedication to encouraging future generations of explorers around the world, as well as for unflinching support for NASA and its missions of exploration,” according to NASA. Brinkwire summary by David Weaver, who was at the time…

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