The Long-Lost Original Star Trek Enterprise Model Is Heading Home

The Long-Lost Original Star Trek Enterprise Model Is Heading Home

It was our first look at the vision of Star Trek’s future: the original ship model of the USS Enterprise that zoomed across screens in the show’s opening credits. But after being loaned out during the making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it had gone missing… until now.

After, bizarrely, it randomly turned up on eBay last fall—the first time it had been seen publicly since it had gone missing—the original model of the Enterprise made for the Star Trek pilot “The Cage” and shooting its opening titles sequences is now back in the hands of the Roddenberry estate. After the eBay seller quickly learned just what they had their hands on, the model was handed over to Heritage Auctions for authentication, and when it was confirmed to be the long-lost Trek icon, held in storage until it could be handed over to Rod Roddenberry this past weekend. “After five decades, I’m thrilled that someone happened upon this historic model of the USS Enterprise. I remember how it used to adorn my dad’s desk,” Roddenberry said in a statement provided over email. “I am tremendously grateful to Heritage Auctions for facilitating the return of this iconic piece of Star Trek history to my family.”

The original model served as the prototype for what would become the primary original 11-foot shooting model of the Enterprise, which has had a similarly long and winding history on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum—it was damaged, then tweaked in an a restoration that was ultimately undone to restore it to its original glory just in time for Trek’s 50th anniversary back in 2014. Like its successor, the newly recovered model will find a life outside of a private collection: Roddenberry Entertainment intends to put it on public display.

“I can’t wait to figure out how we are going to share it with my extended family, Star Trek fans around the world,” Roddenberry’s statement concluded. “We look forward to making that announcement.”

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