Back in the mid-late-end of the twentieth century, during the old republic's celebration of their "bicentennial," the first space shuttle was built. Amusingly enough, as was the way in those times, the form was decided to be more important than the function. The Space Administration decided to make it for show, not for flight. The first space shuttle was not equipped with engines. Or a heat shield to protect it from the heat of reentry. It was, however, equipped with a most powerful addition: publicity. The powers that be decided, after an exhaustive letter-writing campaign which might have conflicted with Star Fleet's Prime Directive, that this first reusable space vehicle be named "Enterprise."
That first Enterprise boldly went where no extraordinarily expensive glider had gone before: On the back of a 747, the OV-101 was on a voyage of test flights and public relations missions that brought more excitement and enthusiasm to a space program that had suffered from a decline in interest over the previous decade, when going to the moon went from being a daring adventure to a mere 384,400 kilometer commute. The Space Administration decided they needed a way to spice up the image of their new "space truck." That's where the first crew of the Enterprise came in handy. Along with his holiness,Gene Roddenberry, that gallant and adventurous group appeared alongside this prototype just in time to build the enthusiasm needed to bring the master's work to fruition. And while Captain James T. Kirk was unavailable for that particular photo-op, he spent the next few years cozying up to the powers that would eventually evolve into the United Federation of Planets. He did this primarily by lending his commanding presence and vocal stylings to a number of "out of this world" projects.
When that first Enterprise, the one that sailed the seven seas, was put into mothballs, James Tiberius Kirk was unable to put in an appearance. In the press, it was announced as a scheduling conflict. I sense a Klingon conspiracy.