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In 2267, pursuant to the starship's standing orders, the Galileo was dispatched to investigate Murasaki 312, a quasar-like phenomenon. This was First Officer Spock's first command, but unfortunately, the ionization effect of the quasar forced the craft to crash land on Taurus II and she was unable to regain orbit due to the loss of fuel. Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott was able to repair the shuttle by using hand phasers as a replacement fuel source, and the shuttle lifted off and achieved orbit. In a desperate gamble, Spock jettisoned and ignited the fuel, hoping that a signal flare would be seen before the orbit decayed and Galileo burned up. The craft flew long enough to gain the attention of the Enterprise, the surviving crew was recovered, but the shuttle herself was lost. (TOS: "The Galileo Seven")
The Galileo was named after Galileo Galilei. (Star Trek Encyclopedia 2nd ed., p. 165)
The Galileo was the first shuttlecraft created for Star Trek, although a shuttle from Starbase 11, in TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I", was the first televised shuttle as that episode was aired before "The Galileo Seven," with much of the episode footage being recycled from the former episode.
In 1992, Hallmark created a Shuttlecraft Galileo Christmas ornament as part of its Star Trek line of keepsake decorations. There was a button that when you press, Spock will be heard saying "Shuttlecraft to Enterprise, Shuttlecraft to Enterprise. Spock here. Happy Holidays. Live long and prosper."
The original prop is scheduled to go on display at Space Center Houston.