Building the Shuttlecraft Galileo

Midway through Season 1 of The Original Series, the Enterprise got a shuttlecraft and, eventually, a place to put it in.

The shuttle was not designed at the same time as the rest of the ship. The reason for that was simple: shuttlecraft do not get built until a storyline calls for one, because they are just too expensive. So Matt Jefferies was not asked to produce one of these small, short-ranged vessels until “The Galileo Seven” was written.

“The Enterprise was never supposed to sit on a planet’s surface,” Jefferies told Star Trek: The Magazine in an interview that was published in 2000, “so we needed something other than the transporter room. I think, looking at it in later years, it should probably have been a shuttle like a city bus, because several times a script came up that called for more people than we had seats for.”

I worked up sketches for it. But AMT, who were going to build the model in their shops in Phoenix in exchange for being able to market the kit of the Enterprise, felt it was beyond their capabilities, so it was designed by Gene Winfield, an automotive designer who had a custom body shop that primarily serviced the automotive industry through AMT. The Galileo as everybody knows it today was not my design. Overall I was a little disappointed, but I think within their capabilities it was a good solution. And it did work, obviously. People did accept it.

Winfield employed another company, Raymond Loewy Associates, whose Thomas Kellogg made the color rendering of the preliminary redesign. It was based on a separate Jefferies sketch for a “space dock utility craft personnel carrier”, which was boxier and therefore easier to build.


Jefferies’ original design was more aerodynamic.

Basically it was a teardrop thing, and the whole side panel, the outside door, would slide back and you could just step right off on the ground. The seats were like bicycle seats mounted on each side of the keel.

AMT duly produced a miniature of the shuttle. The design did not lend itself to Jefferies’ bicycle seat arrangement, so he had to come up with an interior that worked with the exterior shape.

Jefferies explained the exterior “was a separate set.”

A certain percentage of that had to be done in the studio shops. They brought it all over in a big truck. It was on a steel frame; it was bulky, and it was heavy. I think if it had been lighter and easier to move, and of course if we’d had the time or the equipment, we would have probably got much more use out of it. We could have lowered it to the surface and had the doors open and the people get out or get in. But it would have taken a lot of engineering and probably beefing up the stage structure to be able to lower the thing as it was.

The producers used the Galileo miniature for the photography alongside the interior set, which was designed to accommodate the seven personnel the script called for.

Number 7

It was never specified how many shuttlecraft the Enterprise carried, but Jefferies assumed there were several and gave the Galileo the “number 7,” tacked onto the main starship registration number. The vessel was “destroyed” during that episode but was later seen in other shows.

Jefferies also noticed that within a single script the description of the shuttle varied:

In one of Gene Coon’s stories [“Metamorphosis”] a description said there were no doors or opening in evidence, and then once we got inside there four or five entrances and people kept coming into the thing. I went to Coon and said, “Mr Coon, what am I going to do?” He said, “That’s your worry.”

Jefferies also designed a control console, but he did not consider this to be a major item. “We just tried to come up with something that looked sensible; some intrumentation they would have to have, compared to what could be done automatically on the Enterprise. Unless you had a story that involved a shuttlecraft entirely then it would have been such a quick, transitory thing that it would have been wasted effort.”


The Enterprise’s shuttlebay was deemed to have room for several shuttles. According to Jefferies,

We had the large curved clamshell doors at the back, and it didn’t look too much different from a lot of today’s modern hangers on the inside. The shuttlebay itself was only in miniature.

The view of the shuttlebay in “Journey to Babel” was created by shooting through a set of sliding doors toward sections of the interior wall placed 8 or 10 feet further back.

All of our interior walls were of the same finish, which would have included the shuttlebay.

The Galileo was reincarnated as the Galileo II in the Season 3 episode “The Way to Eden,” after the writers had conceded that the original no longer existed. However, the same model was used for photography.

Space tug

Space tug concept art
Space tug concept art

Jefferies came up with a range of other designs for potential shuttles and small vehicles, one of which he labeled a “space tug.”

They were just noodling, daydreaming on my part. But of course the writers were as hard up for ideas as I was and sometimes we could spread a seed if they were looking for something different. There’s one with a man sitting in a bubble and then there was another one with a hook on the back as though it would be for towing. They’d be service vechicles around a space port or a navy yard kind of thing. We would have been able to work from the top of the stage on wires and float them or move them around. They would have been fun to do.

2 comment

No mention of Thomas Kellogg? His is the red-and-black concept art on the far right.

Also, have a look at Bill George’s model of the Kellogg version.

Slash Wombat (Jan 14, 2020)

Thanks for the tip! I added the appropriate credit.

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