Restored 'Trek' shuttlecraft wows, inspires

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HOUSTON -- When the smoke cleared and the music died down, Candy Torres could no longer contain herself. Looking at the shiny, restored "Star Trek" Galileo shuttlecraft sitting in Houston in all its TV glory, she broke down.

"All of a sudden I was just crying. I was in tears. I couldn't believe it," Torres said. "It meant something."

And Torres, a NASA engineer, wasn't alone. Trekkies of all stripes arrived in Houston on Wednesday for the unveiling of the shuttlecraft that crash-landed on a hostile planet in the 1967 "Star Trek" episode "The Galileo Seven." Some wore Scotty's Repair Shop T-shirts, others wore the full-blown outfits made famous by Mr. Spock in the TV show and movies.

Adam Schneider paid $61,000 for the battered shuttlecraft in an auction and spent about a year restoring the fiberglass ship. He flew in from New York to mark the unveiling at the Space Center Houston, where it will be permanently displayed not far from NASA's Mission Control. "Unbelievably proud," he said, beaming alongside the white shuttle. "Like sending your kid to college and having them get a job to build a successful life."

Richard Allen, the space center's 63-year-old CEO and president, hopes that just as "Star Trek" inspired Torres to pursue a career in science and engineering, that today's generation will be similarly inspired when they see the Galileo.

"It's fantastic," he said.