The STS-44 mission logo.
Image: NASA.

On this date in 1991, the crew of Shuttle Atlantis’ flight STS-44 was awakened with the theme from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a voiceover by veteran actor Sir Patrick Stewart. “This is the voyage of the Space Shuttle Atlantis…”. He continued with, “Hello – Fred, Tom, Story, Jim, Tom, and especially Mario – This is Patrick Stewart, choosing not to outrank you as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, saying that we are confident of a productive and successful mission. Make it so.” NASA Capsule Communications technician Marsha Ivins contacted actor Patrick Stewart to request the special wakeup call for astronaut Mario Runco, a big Star Trek fan.