The shuttlecraft Galileo, a piece of science fiction history, spent nearly 50 years slowly rotting away. Then, in 2012, Star Trek superfan Adam Schneider purchased the decrepit prop and began an amazing journey of restoration.
After nine months of work, the Galileo, a life-size spaceship prop from the iconic 1960s science fiction TV series Star Trek, will be formally put on display at Space Center Houston on July 31.
Schneider unveiled the fully restored Galileo shuttlecraft, at Master Shipwrights Inc. in New Jersey, a boat restoration company that performed the work on the Trek prop. The shuttlecraft features the Federation flag symbol, Trek logo and striping, plus some Tribbles in the trunk.
The Galileo made its Star Trek debut in 1967 in the episode “Galileo Seven.” It was originally built by car customizer Gene Winfield. It is about 23 feet (7 meters) long and has 5.5-foot (1.7 m) ceiling height. It is primarily made of painted wood and sheet metal over a steel frame. It would appear in seven Trek episodes before the series was canceled in 1969.
After the series was canceled, the shuttlecraft was donated to a school for the blind. It then changed hands over the years until June 2012, when Schneider bought the Trek prop in an online auction. Schneider’s plan was to restore and donate the craft. Fans from all over the world provided financial assistance, technical expertise and advice on the restoration. It will be unveiled later this month at the Space Center Houston museum, which is located next door to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the home base for the U.S. astronaut corps and Mission Control.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.