The Galileo Shuttle Prop is up for auction

The original Galileo Shuttle is going to be auctioned later this month by it’s current owner Lynne Miller.   Despite the look of it, the structure has been repaired and partially restored after having been neglected for many years.   Bidding starts on June 18 and ends on June 28. You can see lots of pictures and read about the auction here.

The story of the Galileo is fascinating.  After the series ended, the shuttlecraft was donated to a school for the blind and was later sold to a man named Roger Hiseman who kept it in his front yard for several years.   It was then purchased by a fan named Stephen Haskins  and restored and displayed at a convention in 1986 in LA.   Unfortunately, after that time, the shuttle was left to the elements and fell into a state of disrepair.    In 1989, it was purchased by the current owner, Lynne Miller, who transported it to Akron, Ohio.   Lynne attempted to further restore the shuttle craft, but the project was never completed.  The ship was housed for a long time in a aircraft hanger, and later outside, covered, at a body shop.

There is a great history of the ship by Steve Thomas at the Star Trek Auction Blog

Lynne Miller, the current owner of the shuttle,  has posted some great stories about the prop in one of the hobby forums.   Here are a few excerpts:

First I want to say that Steve H., the prior owner of the shuttle, literally saved the ship from being scrapped back in 1986. If not for him it would not exist now. He restored it to the point where it could be displayed, and it is my understanding that it was at the 20th anniversary of Star Trek convention in Anaheim CA. There are famous photos of it after 12 years in the rain sitting at Rebel storage after being hauled from Roger H.s yard, and it was in sad condition before Steve’s restoration. It looked like a cake that had melted in the rain...

When I purchased it from him in 1989, it had been sitting out in the desert for many years at an RV storage facility in Palm Springs CA actually near Indio. The roof of the shuttle had again collapsed.

…Even after being carted across the country to Akron Ohio, there was 80 lb. of sand taken out of it, mixed with pistachio nut hulls I might add. The sides were both split in the center of the panels from top to bottom. The nacelles were badly dented and still full of vines from sitting as a lawn ornament in Roger H.s yard. The tubular steel undercarriage was rusting. The starboard side Masonite was so rotten, from years of sitting out in the rain, that it would fall apart in your hands. So were parts of the front. The roof beams were so badly dry rotted that they mushed when you touched them. There were missing molded metal strips on 2/3 of the rounded edges of the roof and bottom. The port side of the ship was Masonite too, but we did not try to replace this. The decision was to try to repair that side.

When I bought it in 1989, sight unseen, I wrongly assumed that all I would have to do was clean it up a bit. After all, the photos I saw at the time showed it looking fairly good…

My original intention was to try and find a place to donate it. After storing it for 2 years out there in California, and not finding any place that would accept it as an exhibit, I began to worry that I was so far away from it that I could not keep track of it, so at great expense it was moved to Akron Ohio where I live, and was placed in a hangar at the Akron Fulton Airport. This was a hangar where they used to make corsairs in WWII, and next door to the Goodyear Airdock. This was the first time in who knows how long it had been housed inside.….

I tried to sell T-Shirts at Star Trek conventions, and this went well the one time that the shuttle was actually at the convention. I actually sold $3,200 in T-shirts that weekend. However, trying to sell T-Shirts to the fans at conventions without the shuttle being there was a total bust….

…The work that was done was good and it was precise, and we had gotten to the point where all that was needed to be done was fiber glassing and painting. Almost finished, and I was so very happy the end was near. That was in 1991.

….Then I was laid off from my job as an engineer. Even when laid off I continued to pay the rent on the hangar, working three jobs to pay all my bills, and the shuttle ate before I did…. I had tried to find a home for it for years. At this point, all I could do was store it, and forget about finishing it.

Eventually, I got back on my feet. New job, and I found a company to finish restoring the shuttle. It was in Akron and the contract was with an automobile body shop with a sandblasting company next door. ….Whenever they finished a stage, I was billed and I paid for it. Most of the dents were pulled from the nacelles, that showed. Nacelles and other metal parts were sandblasted and primed in preparation for painting….

…One day the call came to remove the shuttle from the lot where they had it parked as the owner of the business was going to jail and the lot was to be razed. I had one day to move it, and it was not an easy thing to move. I flew around in a panic and managed to find a towing company that would do the work, and used my garage to repair the flat tires on the trailer. It was hauled to a boat storage area near my house, where it was shrink-wrapped. That is where the shuttle is now looking so much like a boat you wouldn’t even notice it. I barely managed to retrieve parts from their building, and was lucky enough to find someone there the next day. In a rush to retrieve the parts I somehow missed the blow molded nacelle domes I had paid Gene Winfield to fabricate.

I have decided that I will not finish the restoration. Someone else will have to do that. It is frustrating to have gotten so close to finishing it twice. But, I tried for 23 years to do the right thing. I did not make any money, and I do not owe anyone any money either. Instead, I spent 23 years paying to restore it, and to keep it alive….. Now it is time for someone new and hopefully with money to finish the job. And, I wish them well.

Lets hope the shuttle finds a new home and the restoration can be finished.   Lynne Miller is a bit of a hero here, saving and preserving the shuttle craft for all these years.

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