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4171Re: Star Trek 40th anniversary event -- update

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  • Herb Johnson
    Sep 13, 2006
      > Evan wrote:
      > >There's also the story about how MITS got the name "Altair" from a
      Star Trek
      > >planetary reference -- but I've read that the story may or may not
      be true.
      Vill Degnan wrote:
      > that's what I was referring to.

      This is an old question. I've researched on the Web, which has reports
      from first and second-hand sources. See my notes and links at this link:


      But the upshot is that the MITS Altair 8800 was most likely named
      based on a reference to "Altair" from a Star Trek episode. WHO named
      it varies from report to report. The predominant explanation is it was
      a young daughter of Les Solomon, the editor of Popular Electronics
      where the computer was offered as a kit). Others say it was named by
      the daughter of Ed Roberts (designer of the Altair and MITS founder),
      or named by one of the other Pop 'Tronics staff.

      Here's a link to an Ed Roberts interview:


      Oddly enough, while the interviewer's posted article describes Les
      Solomon's daughter and Star Trek as the source, his dialog with
      Roberts in the article does not show that Roberts confirms this.

      The name "Altair" was already in technical and popular culture in the
      era. Orginally it is the name of a star. But "Altair" was also the
      daughter of the scientist in the Disney movie "Forbidden Planet" in
      the late 60's; then it became the name of a planet visited in a Star
      Trek episode. That Star Trek episode: "Amok Time", episode 34 -
      original airdate: 9/16/1967.

      Herb Johnson
      look for my signature line elsewhere
      too busy to add it today
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