The amazing personal technology of the 23rd and 24th centuries pales in comparison to the technological wonders found on starships. Able to traverse the galaxy at many times the speed of light, starships play a crucial role in most Star Trek series. Crews use them not only for traveling great distances but also for performing critical aspects of their assigned missions. For example, ship sensors can detect minute particles and energy fluctuations from lightyears away, enabling the crew to study stellar phenomena and planetary anomalies from a safe distance. In most series, the crew's starship stands out as the most important mission resource; it not only provides the means of transport to faroff galaxies, but also serves as the crew's base of operations and place of sanctuary while they're there.
Although every starship differs from the others in the fleet, they all share certain technologies and systems in common. Every ship has transporters, replicators, shields, and other useful types of technology. While a system on one ship may have greater power or versatility than the same system on another ship, both systems function similarly, use the same components, and depend on the same scientific principles.
Starfleet refers to the main systems aboard starships as operations systems. Operations systems help the crewmembers perform basic functions such as piloting the ship, detecting other ships, commanding the crew, and going on away missions.
The bridge serves as the center of operations aboard every starship. From the bridge the captain commands the vessel and oversees every aspect of its operations. Assisting the captain, chief officers—called the bridge crew—help keep the vessel operating smoothly and efficiently.
Depending on the size and purpose of a starship, its bridge can range in size from a small cockpit to a large command center. Regardless of size, the bridge houses the instrumentation to control virtually all of the ship's functions. A typical bridge has the following instruments and controls.
The central feature of the bridge is the captain's chair, also known as the command station. When on duty, the captain (or other commanding officer) sits here, receiving reports from his staff and issuing appropriate orders. On some bridges, such as that of the Galaxy-class explorer, other important officers such as the First Officer, Second Officer, and ship's counselor occupy seats near the captain's chair, but the captain's chair stands out as the largest and most prominent. The arms of the captain's chair contain the command station—miniaturized control panels and displays that allow the captain to monitor and assume control of any system on the ship. The First Officer may also have access to the command station on some ships, or use an auxiliary station of his own.
Complementing the command station, several duty stations are located at other points around the bridge. The bridge crew occupy these stations and control various operations of the ship. Each station has a control panel (see sidebar next page) specialized for its particular function. The number and nature of duty stations on a ship depends on the type of ship and its primary mission profile. The most common ones include flight control, communications, engineering, environmental control, operations management, science, and tactical.
COMMUNICATIONS: On 23rd-century ships, communications systems merit their own station. The Communications Officer uses this station to broadcast and receive transmissions, translate alien languages with the universal translator, transmit through interference, and so forth. In the 24th century, the Operations Manager or other officers perform this duty from their own stations.
ENGINEERING: The Chief Engineer usually oversees his department from the Engineering section of the ship, but sometimes the captain requires his presence on the bridge. In those situations, he uses the Engineering station on the bridge to monitor the performance of the propulsion systems, calibrate systems, evaluate the ship's status, and so forth.
ENVIRONMENTAL: Although life support and other environmental controls are highly automated, with multiple redundant backups to prevent failure and withstand sabotage, environmental systems occasionally require crew maintenance and manual control. A crewmember manning the environmental station can reroute energy to the life support systems, shut down life support in key areas of the ship, isolate contaminants within certain locations, and vent radiation or other toxins from the starship.
OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT: Usually referred to simply as "Ops." this station allows the Ops Officer to manage and allocate the ship's resources, particularly power. During crises, the Ops officer evaluates power requirements for different systems and functions and allocates power to them according to the captain's orders and the mission priorities. When necessary, the Ops station also allows the manager to schedule the use of other limited resources, such as laboratory and holodeck time, and to perform other minor duties such as communications.
SCIENCE: More common on 23rd-century ships than on later vessels, the Science station controls the sensors and access to the library computer. The science station also allows the Science Officer to gather and correlate data from the ship's laboratories. In combat or crisis situations, the Science station provides backup for Flight Control and Tactical.
TACTICAL: The largest duty station on many ships, Tactical controls the ship's defensive and offensive systems. With its controls the Tactical Officer (often also the Chief Security Officer) can detect, identify, and track other starships and external threats. The station also enables the Tactical Officer to raise, lower, and monitor the shields; and configure and fire weapons. The Tactical station uses a sophisticated computer and sensor suite known as the Threat Assessment/Tracking/Targeting System (TA/T/TS) to assist the Tactical Officer with these duties and if necessary can tie into other sensors and communications systems. The Tactical station also allows the Tactical and/or Chief Security Officer to monitor internal sensors, dispatch security teams to handle on-board threats, and regulate other aspects of the ship's internal security.
Other Bridge Features
Most bridges also include the following features:
VIEWSCREEN: While small ships, such as Danube-class runabouts, get by with a simple viewport over the cockpit, larger vessels usually mount a viewscreen. Any bridge officer can display data, transmissions, or an external view from any angle around the ship on the viewscreen. Under normal circumstances, the viewscreen shows a forward view so the crew can see where the ship is heading.
CAPTAIN'S READY ROOM: On many ships the captain can use a special office, called a "ready room," located next to the bridge. The ready room provides a secure environment for holding meetings, conducting research, receiving fleet orders, formulating strategies, or simply finding a moment to rest.
CONFERENCE ROOM: Many ships also have a conference or meeting room opposite the ready room. The captain meets with the crew and visiting dignitaries here to plan operations and discuss the ship's missions.
Every starship maintains one or more computer cores, each able to handle the vessel's entire computational needs. A computer core contains hundreds or thousands of isolinear chips (or, in the 23rd century, duotronic circuits). One isolinear chip can store 2.15 kiloquads of data, enabling the ship's computer to contain trillions of pages of text and data. As crewmembers gather data via the sensors and other systems, the computer automatically adds more information to its records, increasing its database every nanosecond.
Powerful and sophisticated, a ship's computers can almost run the ship by themselves in noncrisis situations. But they are neither artificially intelligent nor infallible. The ship's computers can only do what the crew programs them to do and thus cannot exercise reliable judgment in complex situations involving ethical matters or priority evaluations.
A computer cannot anticipate the wants and desires of the crew or individual crewmembers. For example, the computer does not automatically alert the captain about unauthorized use of the transporter; if someone wants that information, he has to specifically request it from the computer (though he may request the computer to make periodic reports). Starfleet engineers do program computers to alert the crew to some situations, such as failure of life support or the approach of obviously dangerous external phenomena. But since crewmembers can always check the computer to gain the information they want, there's no need to inundate them with myriad reports about routine functions. That's the purpose of the computer—to monitor systems and log reports so the crewmembers can look at this information if it becomes important.
Crewmembers interface with the computer via the Library Computer Access and Retrieval System (LCARS). LCARS allows them to access the computer by speech—a simple spoken command prompts the appropriate response from the computer—or via control panels.
The computer transmits data between duty stations, control panels, and its cores via the optical data network (ODN). This network of multiply redundant, multiplexed optical monocrystal microfibers is one of the ship's most important systems. If attacks damage or destroy the ODN, the crew may have difficulty accessing the computer (and thus controlling the ship).
At every duty station, and in most corridors, quarters, and other rooms aboard a starship, there are control panels for crewmembers' use in accessing the computer and performing their duties. Consisting of multilayer flat-screen technology, a control panel uses sophisticated data management tools to provide information and controls to the user in a graphical format. Crewmembers use control panels by pressing the appropriate areas on the panel. A user can customize almost all control panels, arranging the graphical interface to suit his individual preferences. After programming a configuration into the computer, a crewmember can call it up at any time with a spoken command.
Flight Control Systems
The primary purpose of a starship is to carry its crew and passengers from one destination to the next. Flight control systems exist to make sure the ship gets to where it's going via the safest and quickest routes.
Flight Control Station
The Flight Control Officer uses the Flight Control station on the bridge (also referred to as the "conn") to pilot the ship and control the ship's sensors. In the 23rd century, Starfleet divided these functions between a helmsman's station and a navigator's station. Linked to the ship's sophisticated navigation computer and navigational sensors, the conn allows the Flight Control Officer to chart a course from one point to another, access the propulsion systems, engage in offensive or evasive maneuvers, and configure sensors and review the collected data. In routine situations, the navigational computer actually does most of the piloting, but there's no substitute for a human pilot when crises arise.
Colliding with space debris when traveling at warp speeds can prove catastrophic to a starship and its crew. To avoid such mishaps, all warp-capable ships carry one or more navigational deflectors. A navigational deflector emits a series of shieldlike waves of energy which "push" small objects out of the ship's path. The deflector works in conjunction with the long-range sensors and is mounted directly in front of them so it doesn't interfere with their functions.
A ship's crew can also use the navigational deflector to project a wide variety of electromagnetic and subspace energies, such as verteron particles or tachyon streams. Using the navigational deflector in this manner has saved ships from destruction and provided tactical advantages on numerous occasions.
Inertial Damping Field
The inertial forces generated by accelerating to impulse or warp speeds would destroy everyone and everything aboard a ship were it not for the inertial damping fields (IDFs) generated aboard starships. The IDF generates a counterforce that keeps the occupants of the ship safe during hazardous maneuvering or sudden impacts. But some changes in speed, vector, or acceleration (such as those occurring in combat situations) occur too quickly for the IDF to neutralize completely.
Starships come equipped with dozens of different types of sensors that function as its "eyes and ears." They detect thousands of substances and phenomena, ranging from subspace variations to asteroid fields and approaching starships. As such they are crucial to almost all mission profiles, particularly those focusing on scientific or military pursuits. But sensors cannot detect everything at once; that would require too much computing power. For example, sensors used by Starfleet do not routinely monitor some 15,000 known substances and phenomena, but the crew can reprogram the sensors to detect and monitor these whenever the necessity arises. Sensors come in three basic types: long-range, lateral, and navigational.
Long-range sensors work at a range of five lightyears (for high-resolution scans) or approximately 12-17 light-years (for medium- to low-resolution scans). They cover a 45° arc forward of the ship. Long-range sensors function at superluminal speed, propagating at warp 9.9997 (slightly slower than subspace radio). They can detect solid objects, gravimetric and energy phenomena, subspace emissions, thermal images, neutrino images, and variations or fluctuations within any occurrence.
Lateral sensors are located along the sides of a ship in multiple "pallets." They detect objects in all directions around a vessel, but only up to a range of approximately one light-year. As such, they are of little use when traveling at warp velocities. At impulse speeds, lateral sensors facilitate scientific research; during combat situations, they allow the ship to locate and track enemy vessels. The standard Starfleet lateral sensor pallet includes EM scanners, subspace imagers, thermal sensors, and several other detectors. If needed, a crewmember can replace a standard pallet with a more specialized version for a specific mission.
Navigational sensors link with the navigational computer and conn station to chart a starship's course through space. Optimized to detect navigational markers such as chronometric relays, navigation beacons, pulsars, quasars, and other objects programmed into the ship's computer, nav sensors make it easy for the Flight Control Officer to stay on course and monitor the ship's progress.
Sometimes sensors malfunction or prove otherwise incapable of fulfilling all of a ship's data requirements. In these situations, ships can deploy probes-automated sensor platforms-to study an area or phenomena. Ships often employ probes to perform standard surveys of planets and sectors, approach hazardous objects or energy fields, or simply extend the ship's sensory capacity.
Probes fly and maneuver independently of the ship, using microfusion reactor engines (for impulse speeds) or warp sustainer engines (to maintain a warp field if the ship deploys them moving at warp speed). A ship can control a probe remotely. Ships deploy probes using torpedo launchers, so most probes resemble standard torpedoes in size and shape (typically about 2 meters long, .75 meters wide).
Starfleet uses nine standard classes of probe, and other species employ similar types. These include short-range EM scanning probes, planetary probes able to orbit a body for up to three months, and warp-capable long-range probes.
Some starships have the ability to separate a part of themselves from the main body of the ship. On Starfleet vessels, separation usually occurs between saucer and body. By disengaging a complex, redundant series of locks, the crew can separate the saucer from the engineering hull. The crew remaining in the hull uses an auxiliary or "battle" bridge to control that part of the ship. The saucer uses its own impulse engines to move; but lacking a warp propulsion system, it does not have the power to travel at warp speeds or operate many power-intensive systems, including shields.
Starships use tractor beams—superimposed subspace/graviton force beams—to manipulate objects outside of the ship (most commonly done to assist shuttlecraft landings). By creating and manipulating spatial stress around an object, a tractor beam can pull it closer, push it away, hold it in place, tow it along, or sometimes even tear it apart. The beam's effective range depends on the distance and mass of the target object. Although normally considered an operations system, a tractor beam has many combat applications, so the Tactical Officer usually controls it during battle.
A ship's transporters allow the crew to "beam" persons or objects from place to place by converting their matter to energy, then rematerializing them at the destination point. A subspace carrier wave transmits the energy stream and ensures the proper reassembly. The wave also carries a transporter ID trace, a computer log of the entire process, in case anything goes wrong during the process.
Transporting something takes about five seconds using Federation technology or similar systems. A transporter cannot beam through deflector shields, cloaks, or high levels of matter or energy interference.
Transporters come in three types: personnel, emergency, and cargo. Personnel transporters demonstrate a range of 40,000 kilometers and function at a quantum resolution, allowing them to transport living beings safely. Emergency transporters have a range of 15,000 kilometers and can only transport personnel from a ship. Cargo transporters work at a molecular level and cannot transport living beings. They have an effective range of 40,000 kilometers. The ranges for 23rd-century transporters show greater limitations: 26,000, 13,000, and 26,000 kilometers, respectively.
Regardless of its type, a transporter contains five main subsystems in addition to the control station used to operate and monitor the system. When the transport begins, the molecular imaging scanners in the transport pad analyze the transportee and tie in with the ship's sensors to locate the destination or target. Next, the energizing and transition coils dematerialize the transportee and later reconstitute him at the destination point, using an annular confinement beam (ACB) to create the spatial matrix for dematerialization. Other fields keep the transportee's energy pattern locked inside the ACB.
The transporter holds the transportee's energy pattern in the pattern buffer, a magnetic holding tank, until beam-out begins (microseconds after the Doppler compensators adjust for relative motion between ship and destination). A Federation transporter can hold a pattern in the buffer for up to seven minutes before degradation (with resulting harm to the subject) occurs; some other species' buffers reveal a shorter safety margin. Degradation can range from transporter psychosis (a treatable condition causing hallucinations and delusions) to bodily harm to the subject.
While the pattern is in the buffer, the transporter biofilters scan it for all known bacteriological and viral agents and eliminate them from the pattern if detected. Because the biofilters cannot detect unknown agents, transporters cannot always prevent accidental contamination of the ship. Other filters prevent the ship from transporting dangerous objects, such as primed explosives, aboard. Once the filters complete their task, the emitter and receiver arrays on the ship's hull complete the process by transmitting (or receiving) the energy stream.
Most transports represent routine affairs posing minimal danger to the subject (especially when beaming between two transporter pads). But interference, sabotage, and any number of other situations can risk malfunctions and jeopardize transport. Transporter mishaps can result in failure to rematerialize the subject fully or properly, possibly killing the subject or destroying the cargo. Other errors include rematerializing at the wrong destination (possibly inside a solid object, also fatal to the subject), fusing transported individuals or components, and creating temporal and/or dimensional shifts.
Closely related to transporters, replicators allow the crew to instantly create food, spare parts, and other useful objects such as clothing and tools. Their technology has revolutionized starship and colony life, allowing Starfleet to undertake longer and deeper missions without worrying about supply and logistical problems. Most ships carry industrial replicators (small and large) as well as food replicators, which are located throughout the ship.
Replicators dematerialize a sterilized, organic particulate suspension supplemented by recycled waste products and transform it into the desired food or object via established materialization patterns. Since they depend on preprogrammed patterns, they cannot vary what they create; every plate of potatoes a food replicator creates looks and tastes identical. Crewmembers can program new patterns if necessary.
Replicators suffer from four other significant limitations. Because of data capacity, they function only at the molecular level. This means they can't produce living things, and single-bit reproduction errors sometimes occur. Second, the replicator requires greater amounts of energy to replicate large and complex objects. Third, replicators possess safety interlocks preventing the creation of dangerous objects such as explosives (though in an emergency this feature can be overridden). Fourth, replicators cannot create certain objects, or cannot create them safely. The most prominent example of this occurrence involves latinum, which explains why many civilizations use it as a medium of exchange. Similarly, some medicines and complex compounds defy replication; the single-bit errors occurring at quantum levels render them inert or similarly useless.
Power and Propulsion Systems
Starships contain several systems designed to propel them through space at superluminal speed. These systems also generate the massive amounts of power needed to operate their drives and other shipboard systems. Most ships include both warp and impulse drives.
Warp Propulsion System
The main propulsion and power generation system for most starships is called the warp propulsion system, or warp drive. The warp drive works by combining matter and antimatter under controlled conditions, allowing the system to tap the annihilation reaction for energy. A warp drive includes three primary subsystems: the matter/antimatter reaction assembly, the power transfer conduits, and the warp nacelles.
The matter/antimatter reaction assembly, or warp core, typically arranged as a column (or, in the 23rd century, a horizontal structure), uses reactant injectors to inject matter (deuterium) in one end and antimatter (anti-deuterium) in the other end. Magnetic suspension keeps the antimatter and matter from contacting each other until the proper moment. Magnetic constriction segments align the matter and antimatter streams, forcing them into the matter/antimatter reaction chamber (M/ARC).
The M/ARC contains a crystal of dilithium, the only substance known to science which does not react with antimatter when exposed to a high-frequency electromagnetic field. In the 23rd century, dilithium crystals degraded with use, thus requiring periodic replacement. Scientists developed recrystalization techniques in 2286 and greatly extended the usable life of dilithium crystals.
Inside the crystal, matter and antimatter streams collide and annihilate each other. The crystal channels the resulting plasma, directing it into power transfer conduits (PTCs). The PTCs carry the plasma to the warp nacelles, where a plasma injector system feeds it into the warp field coils. The coils create nested subspace fields. By shifting the fields' frequencies, the nacelles generate propulsion at speeds faster than light. As of 2377, Starfleet vessels can achieve maximum speeds of Warp 9.982.
Because the warp propulsion system is so crucial to the functioning of a starship and so potentially dangerous, it includes numerous safety features. The engineering crew performs routine maintenance on it every day and can shut it down for major repairs or to replace the dilithium crystal. An extensive network of access tubes and conduits honeycombs the sections of the ship containing the warp propulsion system, allowing the crew to reach any problem area easily. In the event of a warp core breach, the engineers can eject the core and save the ship from deadly radiation.
Ships rarely engage in combat at warp speed. Not only is maneuvering at such high velocities dangerous, but only warp-propelled torpedoes function properly at translight speeds. Instead, ships usually drop to impulse speeds when engaging in combat.
Travel Times at Warp
|Speed||Kmh||# of Times Speed/Light||400,000 km||12 million km||5 LY||20 LY||10,000 LY||100,000 LY||2,000,000 LY|
|Examples||Earth to Moon||Across Sol System||To Nearby Star||Across One Sector||Across UFP||Across Galaxy||To Nearby Galaxy|
|§ Standard Orbit||9600||<0.00001 sublight||42 hours||142 years||558,335 years||2 million years||1 billion years||11.7 billion years||223 billion years|
|ø Full Impulse||270 million||0.25 sublight||5.38 seconds||44 hours||20 years||80 years||40,000 years||400,000 years||8 million years|
|⊂ Warp Factor 1||1 billion||1||1.34 seconds||11 hours||5 years||20 years||10,000 years||100,000 years||2 million years|
|Warp Factor 2||11 billion||10||0.13 seconds||1 hour||6 months||3 years||992 years||9921 years||198,425 years|
|Warp Factor 3||42 billion||39||0.03 seconds||17 minutes||2 months||1 year||257 years||2568 years||51,360 years|
|Warp Factor 4||109 billion||102||0.01 seconds||7 minutes||18 days||2 months||98 years||984 years||19,686 years|
|Warp Factor 5||229 billion||214||0.006291 seconds||3 minutes||9 days||1 month||47 years||468 years||9,357 years|
|∆ Warp Factor 6||421 billion||392||0.003426 seconds||2 minutes||5 days||19 days||25 years||255 years||5,096 years|
|Warp Factor 7||703 billion||656||0.002050 seconds||1 minute||3 days||11 days||15 years||152 years||3,048 years|
|Warp Factor 8||1.10 trillion||1,024||0.001313 seconds||39 seconds||2 days||7 days||10 years||98 years||1953 years|
|Warp Factor 9||1.62 trillion||1,516||0.000887 seconds||26 seconds||1 day||5 days||7 years||66 years||1319 years|
|Ω Warp Factor 9.2||1.77 trillion||1,649||0.000816 seconds||24 seconds||1 day||4 days||6 years||61 years||1213 years|
|Warp Factor 9.6||2.05 trillion||1,909||0.000704 seconds||20 seconds||23 hours||4 days||5 years||52 years||1048 years|
|Warp Factor 9.9||3.27 trillion||3,053||0.000440 seconds||13 seconds||14 hours||2 days||3 years||33 years||655 years|
|Warp Factor 9.99||8.48 trillion||7,912||0.000170 seconds||5 seconds||6 hours||22 hours||1 year||13 years||253 years|
|≈ Warp Factor 9.9999||214 trillion||199,516||0.000007 seconds||0.2 seconds||13 minutes||53 minutes||18 days||6 months||10 years|
|μ Warp Factor 10||<Infinite>||<Infinite>||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
§ synchronous orbit around Class-M planet
ø 1/4 light speed; normal maximum impulse speed
⊂ equals speed of light
∆ normal cruising speed of UFP starships circa TNG
Ω normal maximum speed of UFP starships circa TNG
≈ subspace radio speed with booster relays
μ unattainable without transwarp
Starships don't always need to travel at warp speeds. When conditions warrant—when passing through a solar system or engaging in combat, for example—they use impulse drives. Impulse drives employ large fusion reactors to propel the ship forward. Like the warp drive, impulse drives can also supply power to the rest of the ship, but in lesser amounts.
Ships calculate impulse speeds as a percentage of c (the speed of light). Most impulse drives allow speeds of .1 to .75 c, but the most advanced models can propel a ship at speeds up to .95 c. Starfleet refers to .25 c as "full impulse," since faster rates usually warrant traveling at warp speed instead. Only emergencies prompt captains to order higher impulse velocities.
Auxiliary and Emergency Power
Most ships maintain two backup power systems: auxiliary and emergency power. The crew uses these systems to counteract losses of power from the warp and impulse engines, or to improve the performance of shields and other systems during combat. Additionally, some systems, such as phasers and cloaking devices, rely on individual power supplies called batteries to provide enough power for short-term use in the event of shipwide power failure.
An extensive network of microwave power transmission guides, called the electroplasma system (EPS), connects to the warp and impulse drives. The EPS taps the engines for the power needed to run the rest of the ship; if it suffers damage or interference, some or all of the ship's systems may lose power.
Ship designers include tactical systems, such as shields and torpedoes, aboard most vessels, included those designated for civilian use. Though few vessels require as much armament as an explorer or battle cruiser, most ships need shields and at least one small beam weapon for self-defense or utilitarian purposes.
In most battles, starships rely primarily on beam weapons for offense. Beam weapons such as phasers and disruptors create powerful bolts of energy with great destructive potential. Although they have greater physical limitations than missiles (shorter range and the inability to be used at warp speed), beam weapons offer more tactical options and greater precision than torpedoes.
Starfleet vessels mount phasers as their primary beam weapons. Although phasers lack the raw power of disrupters, they can fire in multiple modes and are far more versatile, making them perfect for an organization devoted to exploration and discovery rather than warfare. Phasers channel energy through emitters organized into arrays (or, in the 23rd century, into banks). These generate the energy beam and use an autophaser interlock linked to the targeting systems to ensure accurate firing. Phasers typically range in type from I to X, though recent breakthroughs have allowed Starfleet to install Type XI and XII phasers on its starships. In the 23rd century, the most powerful phaser is the Type VII, or the Type VIII as of 2284.
The Klingons, Romulans, and Cardassians, among others, prefer disruptors to phasers. Disruptors use microscopic quantities of antimatter to generate powerful bolts of plasma. They cause more damage than a similar model of phaser but lack the phaser's versatility and utility as a tool. Disruptors reveal distinct energy signatures, making it easy to distinguish them from phasers in most circumstances.
Most capital ships also carry missile weapons, called torpedoes. Starfleet and similar agencies normally employ two different types of torpedoes. The photon torpedo, which is the most common, creates a controlled matter/antimatter explosion to inflict tremendous damage to the target. The quantum torpedo, which is relatively new and much rarer, releases energy from a zero-point vacuum domain to create an explosion roughly twice as powerful as that of a photon torpedo. Several other types of torpedoes, such as the devastating plasma torpedo fielded by the Romulans, also exist in the Star Trek universe.
All torpedoes have much longer ranges than beam weapons; and they cause more damage than most ship-based beams. On the other hand, crews cannot fire torpedoes with as much precision, and enemy ships can evade or counteract them more easily than energy beams.
Deflector shields provide a ship's primary defense. Every ship maintains four shields: forward, starboard, aft, and port. When a crew activates a ship's shields, the shield generators create fields of highly focused spatial distortion, which the external shield grid conforms to the hull. The field concentrates at points of impact to repel damaging force. But even when a shield functions properly, the impact of the blast may jolt the vessel and cause minor structural damage. When a shield deflects attacks of excessive force, it eventually collapses and leaves the ship vulnerable to further attack.
Besides strength, shields demonstrate five additional properties: appearance, geometry, harmonics, modulation frequency, and polarity. By altering, modulating, or reconfiguring these properties, the crew can create a wide range of effects, such as temporarily strengthening the shields, hiding the ship from primitive sensors, or breaking tractor beams.
Starships contain many different systems to ensure the comfort and safety of their crews. Keeping the crew active, healthy, and in good morale improves the ship's performance.
Starfleet vessels contain large and relatively luxurious quarters for even the lowest-ranking crewmen (23rd-century ships maintain cruder, more utilitarian accommodations). Typical quarters include a living area, sleeping area, bathroom/shower facility, and a food replicator. Crewmembers can configure and decorate their quarters as they like.
Life support systems perform the crucial task of maintaining a habitable environment aboard ship. Life support functions stabilize not only pressure and atmosphere, but also temperature, humidity, and gravity. Ships have multiple redundant life support systems, including emergency life support modules and shelters that allow time for evacuation when all other systems fail.
A ship carries large amounts of breathing gases needed for life support, replenishing them when it docks. Additionally, atmospheric processors throughout a vessel recycle waste gases (typically carbon dioxide) to supplement the supply of fresh oxygen. Parallel atmospheric processors operating on 96-hour duty cycles ensure the system never breaks down.
On most Starfleet ships, life support systems maintain an atmosphere similar to a Class M planet, with a nitrogen-oxygen mix of gases. The crew can isolate a small percentage of quarters to support other environments, such as Classes H, K, or L Outside of their quarters, nonoxygen breathers must use personal life support devices to keep from suffocating.
The life support systems also maintain gravity inside the ship via networks of graviton-emitting stators or emitter blocks. This system provides crewmembers with a definable "up" and "down", regardless of the position of the vessel relative to a planet or other large celestial body.
Medical Facilities (Sickbay)
Starfleet vessels equip and maintain one or more medical centers, often referred to as "sickbays." A typical sickbay includes a medical clinic for routine examinations and minor treatments, an intensive care unit, and one or more research laboratories. The doctors and nurses in sickbay can treat minor illnesses and injuries, including broken bones, in just a few minutes using advanced medical technologies and treatments. More serious injuries or ailments may require surgery, drug or nanite therapy, or other sophisticated procedures.
A sickbay's ICU contains two or more biobeds, beds equipped with sophisticated sensors allowing medical personnel to obtain up-to-the-second data on a patient's condition. Larger ICUs may also contain one or more units doctors can seal off with force fields to create sterile environments.
If a crewmember requires surgery, doctors can attach a surgical support frame (SSF) to his biobed. An SSF contains advanced medical and biological sensors, a bioregenerative field generator, and equipment able to assist the doctor with surgery. The SSF can perform many routine procedures, such as administering drugs or anesthetics without supervision. It can also erect a force field around the biobed to create a sterile surgical environment.
There's more to life than work, even aboard a starship. Rest and recreation are essential for the crew to improve their efficiency and maintain high morale. But the crew of a starship can't go on shore leave every weekend, so starships provide many forms of recreation aboard ship, including lounges, rec halls, gymnasiums, and other facilities.
The most advanced recreation facility aboard Starfleet vessels is the holodeck. These special chambers are equipped with holoemitters, special sensors, miniaturized tractor beams, and replicators to simulate almost any environment, setting, or situation. Complicated scenarios require detailed holoprogramming, but crewmembers can recreate basic situations by issuing verbal commands.
With its tractor beams and replicators, a holodeck creates objects and people ("puppets") indistinguishable from the real thing. But because they are made of "holodeck matter," these simulacra disintegrate if removed from the confines of the holodeck. Creating a holographic representation of a specific person without permission constitutes both a crime and a breach of ethics in most societies.
Users interact with a holodeck simulation at all levels—they see it, hear it, touch it. They can get in fights with holodeck characters and end up bruised and battered, fall into a holographic sea and get wet, or encounter holographic people so realistic they might develop a passion for them. Though generally safe and reliable, holodecks occasionally malfunction. On at least one occasion, a malfunction is known to have created a sentient hologram, giving rise to various moral, ethical, and technical quandaries.
Crewmembers use holodecks not only for recreation but also for training, exercise, and many other purposes. Thanks to the holodeck, a crewmember can spend his shipboard free time learning to drive Altairan dune-skimmers, recreating great battles of history, or practicing Mok'bara against holographic opponents. Safety overrides prevent a holodeck user from suffering any real harm, but if the safety protocols are deactivated or damaged, a hologram can injure or kill.
Most species having sufficient technological advancement employ holodeck technology. Romulan ships have holodecks similar to those of Starfleet, while Klingons prefer to use their 'decks mainly for combat training and tactical simulations. The Ferengi make a healthy profit by selling or leasing holonovels ranging from intellectually stimulating to salaciously titillating.
Ships of the Line
Although its officers are the core of Starfleet, and the single greatest factor in its triumphs and capabilities, they don't get much done without starships. In truth, the average Starfleet officer idolizes his ship as much as any ancient "wet-navy" Hornblower or Nimitz ever did. Ships are homes, fortresses, hospitals, and inspirations to those who serve on them. The thought of abandoning, or destroying one's ship in the line of duty is one of the most painful that any officer can face. This section addresses the ships themselves, and the way they work together to make up a Starfleet.
To keep starfleet's ships out of danger, and to put them in the path of danger, are the twin, contradictory tasks of Fleet Operations. Headquartered at Starfleet Command on Earth, Fleet Operations plans and manages the deployment of all vessels in Starfleet. This includes assigning starships to a particular sector or fleet, making personnel assignments, and selecting starships to fulfill missions requested by other Starfleet offices such as Astronomical Science Operations, Starfleet Medical, and Starfleet Intelligence. For the most part, Fleet Operations maintains a tactical focus—it doesn't decide what Starfleet should do, it decides which individual ships can accomplish missions devised by other agencies while maximizing efficiency and reducing overlap. The Chief of Fleet Operations is responsible for maintaining the preparedness of the fleet as a whole. Among the CFO's most important duties is to keep accurate records on every starship and crewman in the fleet. Using these, the Fleet Operations Central Records Office makes sure every vessel undergoes its regularly scheduled maintenance cycle and every crewman remains current in his training.
Fleet Operations serves as the liaison between individual Starfleet craft and Starfleet's various agencies and branches, and those of the Federation and its members. Should, for example, the Vulcan Science Academy need a Starfleet ship to examine a newly discovered star, they would pass a request (through either the Vulcan ambassador or the Vulcan Defense Force) to Starfleet Command. Depending on who's asking, the request might go through Starfleet's own Office of Research and Exploration, or directly to Fleet Ops. Either way, Fleet Operations then coordinates the mission with the Chief-in-Command. Often, two (or more) missions can be combined; if a number of astronomers wish to study the same star, they can all be assigned to the same ship, or if ORE has already planned to survey the star, the Vulcans' representative can be added to the expedition-in-progress. All Fleet Ops decisions, of course, are subject to the standard round of emergencies, frontier crises, system failures, Joint Chiefs interventions for their own mysterious ends, and so forth. Hence, Fleet Ops is often playing "catch-up," and assigning the closest ship, rather than the perfect ship, for a given mission. To manipulate this process, either to get a plum assignment or to avoid a tedious "brown dwarf census" mission, requires command rank. Contacts and Allies will help immeasurably in this regard, and a successful first officer or captain nurtures both where possible.
Within Starfleet itself, the means of organizing, commanding, and deploying ships both individually and in groups has changed somewhat over time. Changes in the Federations' resources, strategic posture, and strategic doctrine have altered the fleet organization from a highly individualistic, dangerous task force model to a more comprehensive fleet model.
The Task Force Model
From the earliest days of Starfleet to the mid-2270s, ships regularly spend weeks or even months out of subspace relay range. Captains have to think for themselves, and come to rely on gut instinct and first-hand knowledge of a situation. (This habit of independence also sets the precedent for captains including themselves in landing parties that continues into the 24th century on many ships.) Starfleet Command can only coordinate missions at long range, and often sets up "relay chains" of ships to deliver cargoes, personnel, or even messages one to the other along the frontier, cruising along a general flight path until they located their successor in the mission.
Given the logistical impossibilities of close coordination in the 23rd century, Starfleet uses a "task force" model, based around small groups of ships assigned to operate in neighboring sectors. The heaviest ships, and later, Constitution-class starships, operate on their own, patrolling large sections of the Beta Quadrant, and slowly charting the frontiers of the Alpha Quadrant. These "single-ship task forces" put in at starbases for shore leave, refit and resupply, and to handle any significant emergencies such as disease or courts-martial. Once these tasks are complete, they return to patrol, in a new stretch of space assigned by the commodore of the starbase. When possible, they contact the nearest starbase for instructions, and often piggyback off local planets' communications grid to boost transmissions back to headquarters. Standard practice is to "hand off" a burst of message traffic whenever encountering any other Starfleet vessel; thus, slowly (and occasionally redundantly), orders and reports travel both directions.
The other reason for a task force model, of course, is the continual shortage of ships. Starfleet explorers expand the frontier in all directions; the amount of space to cover increases as a cube function, while ship production in the early-replicator era can barely keep up arithmetically. In the mid-2260s, only 12 Constitution-class ships operate at any time; Starfleet as a whole can muster only 350 capital ships during this era, the vast majority of which patrol the Klingon and Romulan neutral zones. Local navies such as the Andorian Defense Forces pick up much of the slack, but only Starfleet can handle the worst crises. Hence, the heavy cruisers and explorers must juggle tasks from planetary surveys to diplomatic functions to stopping invasions—increasing the need to make decisions on the spot, since there is hardly any "standard procedure" to fall back on. The system works, after a fashion, but only at a terrible cost; almost every Constitution-class ship faced unimaginable stresses and dangers, and six of them were destroyed or decimated on duty. Only the stark heroism, independent spirit, and sharp minds of Starfleet's officers keep the fleet flying through the dangerous middle of the 23rd century.
The Fleet Model
By the 2340s, Starfleet organization reached a crisis point. The full exploration of replicator technology in ship construction meant a vast expansion of Starfleet capital ships (passing the 1,000 mark in 2292), which spread out on an unprecedented course of exploration, contact, and expansion throughout the Alpha Quadrant. As long as the Federation remained at peace, the organizational snarls and spotty communications could be overlooked in the name of Starfleet captains' traditional independence and initiative. Certainly the gallant—and completely unauthorized—act of Captain Garrett in sacrificing her ship to save the Klingon outpost on Narendra III paid dividends far into the future, and other acts, if less dramatic, were equally heroic. However, the Cardassian War of 2347-2366 and the Tholian War of 2353-2360 strained the system past the breaking point. At Starfleet Command, Admiral Taneko brought his Bolian genius for organization to the problem between 2348 and 2350, and developed the fleet model that lasted, and proved itself.
In Taneko's fleet model, Starfleet organizes itself into Fleets, each one comprising around 150-200 ships under the command of a Fleet Admiral (who may hold any actual rank from fleet admiral to rear admiral), usually based at a starbase. The "flagship" of a fleet is simply the ship best suited for command-and-control functions in an emergency; seldom is it the admiral's personal command. (A few admirals keep their "flag" on shipboard, however, and can make subordinates' lives a terror by dropping into a sector unannounced for a "look-see.") Fleet Operations passes orders down to the Fleet Admirals, who pass them along to subordinate admirals or to individual captains depending on the urgency of the order and the admiral's personal style. Reports and emergencies travel back up the chain to Fleet Ops. Within Fleets, some admirals set up "wings" to further subdivide command; a rear admiral normally commands a wing.
Each Fleet serves either a tactical purpose (such as to protect Vulcan) or a strategic purpose (such as ready reserve). Most tactical fleets are "standing" fleets, which retain the same mission throughout their existence. Most strategic fleets are either "mobile" fleets, sent to any crisis area or place on deep-space patrol and exploration duty, or "supporting" fleets kept ready for specific contingencies. The deployment of a mobile fleet essentially follows the older task force, only with better communications and more ships. Most mobile fleets keep their ships in the same broad area (20-40 adjacent sectors), for faster concentration and coordination in case of emergencies.
Starfleet has approximately 6,100 starships, plus transports, surveyors, hospital ships, and other support craft. (Another 2,700 or so small scouts, runabouts, fighters, and heavy shuttlecraft fill out the mission boards.) These ships make up 27 numbered Fleets, as well as six specialized Fleets.
Charged with the exploration and defense of a given sector or small group of sectors, a ship in a standing fleet can make an excellent base of operations for a single-sector series, or a source of personnel for a series centered on a stationary base of operations. A single-species series can also be set in a ship of a standing fleet assigned to protect the crew's home planet.
- 3RD FLEET: Assigned to defend Sector 001—the Solar System—from attack. Hardly a cushy posting, some of Starfleet's most elite officers and finest tactical minds serve in 3rd Fleet.
- 5TH FLEET: Patrols the Andor Sector, one of the crucial home defense fleets of the Federation. Officers in 5th Fleet work closely with the Andorian Defense Force.
- 7TH FLEET: Assigned to defend Betazed and the outer core worlds of the Federation.
- 22ND FLEET: The standing fleet established at Starbase 173 to guard against Romulan incursion. Officers in 22nd Fleet train constantly against captured or reconstructed "threat vessels."
Given vast, wide-ranging theaters of operation, mobile fleets make good assignments for ships in exploratory or otherwise galaxy-trotting series. Scientific, diplomatic, and intelligence series also work well with mobile fleet operations.
- 8TH FLEET: Explores uncharted reaches of the Alpha Quadrant, especially the coreward sectors past Ferenginar. This fleet is heavy on older ships such as Ambassador-class, Nebula-class, and Miranda-class cruisers.
- 16TH FLEET: Commanded by Fleet Admiral Nechayev, the 16th is the "Flagship Fleet" of Starfleet, containing the U.S.S. Enterprise. Its duties include a wide range of survey, diplomatic, and border emergency missions.
- 20TH FLEET: Patrols the rimward sectors of the Federation, including the Tholian border and portions of the Klingon frontier. This fleet has a number of Oberth-class science vessels seconded to it for sensor support.
Support fleets perform specific duties, or have tasks that require special abilities not always available in mobile fleets. Single-profession series, galaxy-trotting series, and series centered on the task profile of the fleet are good candidates for being set in support fleet ships.
- COLONIZATION FLEET: Made up of 34 vessels plus transport craft, and based out of Starbase 4, the Colonization Fleet specializes in establishing new colonies and terraforming missions. It also aids with planetary and life-form surveys.
- EVACUATION FLEETS: Three evacuation fleets base out of dispersed starbases in the Rigel, Deneb, and Canopus sectors. Each fleet has enough ships to coordinate and defend a convoy carrying up to 10 million civilians in case of planetary emergencies.
Both models of fleet deployment depend heavily on starbases to coordinate, resupply, and even defend the ships on duty. From almost its earliest days, Starfleet has joined stationary starbases with mobile starships as warp and weft of its defensive and exploratory pattern. From 17 starbases and a smattering of other stations in the early 2260s, the network expanded to over 500 such stations. Keep in mind that a base's purpose may shift over time; a former strategic base on the Federation frontier may, as the Federation expands, become a supply station and then a service hub, as ships of all kinds increasingly put in for supplies, refit, and eventually trade or recreation.
STARBASE 11: Located on the starkly beautiful planet Yko, this is one of the key Starfleet administrative facilities in the Beta Quadrant, and one of the emergency "continuity" offices of Starfleet Command itself, should anything happen to Earth. Important ceremonies and precedent-setting court-martial occur here.
STARBASE 12: Orbiting command post in the Gamma 400 star system, established in 2163 as a test for Starfleet's remote construction abilities. It remains an excellent location for starship maintenance, as well as coordinating much of the defense traffic for the inner core of the Federation.
STARBASE 173: A major command and administrative post for the Romulan Neutral Zone, located quite near Starbase 23, its associated strategic station. Built in 2280s, both bases are on accelerated alert status even in peacetime. Starbase 173 hosts a key field office of Starfleet Intelligence.
STARBASE 2: Located between Beta Auriga and Camus II, Starbase 2 has been a key center for space medicine research ever since the 2240s. Its advanced life support and hospital facilities can comfortably support (and hopefully heal) almost any known species or theoretical life-form. A strong Vulcan and Betazoid presence aids with counseling and psionic research.
STARBASE 9: Originally a supply station constructed in the 2180s, Starbase 9 slowly became a major scientific and astronomical monitoring station—the Argus Array, for example, was designed as an "uprated" model of Starbase 9's orbital phased EM collectors.
STARBASE 6: This starbase's reputation as the finest R&R post in the fleet goes all the way back to the 2250s, when a Tiburonian-Centauran team redesigned it from the hub out. In peacetime, starships divert from sectors around to enjoy its facilities, which include state-of-the-art holodecks, null-G saunas, and the most sophisticated replicators (and chefs) within a thousand parsecs of Aldebaran.
STARBASE 74: One of Starfleet's largest spacedocks, Starbase 74 orbits Tarsas III. Its bays can service fifty Galaxy-class starships at once, if need be. The Tarsas-Qualor run is an excellent place to see any and every kind of ship, under power or tow. In addition to being a spare-parts paradise, Starbase 74 bosts the finest Bynar computer techs in Starfleet.
STARBASE 315: A thriving commercial and traffic hub in the BeTau sector deep in Federation space in the Alpha Quadrant, Starbase 315 does it all. Its supply station falls under Federation Merchant Marine rather than Starfleet jurisdiction; built in the 2320s, its spacedock facilities are too small for any ship larger than an Ambassador-class vessel.
STARBASE 10: The original strategic base defending the Neutral Zone against Romulan incursion, Starbase 10 is screened and supported by the critical Gamma Hydra cluster. Between its construction in the 2170s to 2266, it slowly became a scientific support base as well; following the Romulan incursions in the later 23rd century, it added a state-of-the-art medical facility in case of war. It remains at accelerated alert status.
STARBASES 234: A crucial strategic base along the Klingon frontier, Starbase 234 dates back to the Klingon-Romulan crisis of the 2340s.
STARBASE 4: Initially constructed in the late 22nd century to support Federation colonial efforts, Starbase 4 eventually became an administrative center for the Lyris Corridor between Tellar and Deneb. During the Federation's great expansion into the Alpha Quadrant during the early 24th century, Starbase 4 became a test-bed for terraforming and replicator technology. It has temporary quarters with full life-support over a quarter of a million people (one of the largest orbital settlements in the Federation) and remains one of the most cosmopolitan places in Starfleet.
STARBASE 84: One of many floating refit and resupply bases for the Alpha Quadrant, Starbase 84 can embay 12 Galaxy-class starships and dock 24 smaller ships simultaneously. A number of industrial planets keep Starbase 84 supplied with dilithium, duranium, and even pre-built warp cores and phaser arrays.
Deep Space Stations
DEEP SPACE 4: A self-sustaining station in the confused frontier area between Romulus and Vulcan, Deep Space 4 sees all kinds pass through it, from mad archaeologists to pirates to naïve astrophysicists. Technically a Starfleet command post, its security force despairs of even getting rid of all the Tal Shiar agents on board. Hence, it serves as an informal diplomatic point, intelligence-gathering hub, and underground marketplace.
DEEP SPACE STATION K-7: One of the nine space stations strung along the Klingon frontier between 2218 and 2293, Deep Space Station K-7 began as a strategic outpost. By the terms of the Organian peace treaty, all frontier stations of both nations were open to each others' traffic, which made K-7 a hub of spies and confrontation. With the Khitomer Accords and the growing Federation-Klingon alliance, K-7 became a major transit point and meeting place for Federation and Klingon ships and personnel.
FARSPACE STARBASE EARHART: A transitional station past Deneb in the Alpha Quadrant, Starbase Earhart serves a minor command post and replacement point for starships in the sector. Primarily a "hiring hall" for spacers of all kinds, its lurid and seamy Bonestell Recreation Facility it a great place to get a drink, a lover, a knifing, or all three.
Heavy Cruiser; Commissioned: 2322
Phasers: Type IX (x2/E)
Torpedo Launchers: Mk 60 DF (x5/E)
Photon Penetration: 7/7/7/7/7
Deflector Shield: CIDSS-3 (C)
Impulse System: FIB-3 (.75c) (B)
Warp System: LF-17+ (5/7/9) (B)
Atmosphere Capable: No
Cargo Units: 100
Life Support: Class 2R (CC)
Operations System: Class 2R (CC)
Sensor System: Class 2 (+2/C)
Separation System: No
Shuttlebay: 1 a
Shuttlecraft: 8 Size worth
Tractor Beams: 1 av, 1 fv
Transporters: 8 standard, 8 emergency
Maneuver Modifiers: +2 C, +1 H, -2 T
Traits: Hardened System (Weapons)
A deep space heavy cruiser designed for long range exploration and defense of the Federation, the Ambassador-class serves the primary capital ship of Starfleet from 2322 to 2360 in much the same role as the earlier Constitution-class and Excelsior-class. Designed to be durable and reliable, the Ambassador-class is a rugged vessel well-suited for missions in adverse conditions and far from support. Ambassador starships frequently operate independently and require little pampering to maintain. In combat, the Ambassador-class is a significant weapons platform, using a mix of phasers and torpedoes for overlapping fields of coverage, with little drop-off in combat ability. In diplomatic or support profiles, this class contains adequate cargo and personnel facilities to fulfill a variety of mission objectives.
The Ambassador-class is one of the first new starship designs of the 24th century but its design roots are similar to those of its ancestors, using the traditional primary and secondary hull profile common to Starfleet vessels. The class has proven itself a stable and dependable workhorse for Starfleet for over forty years.
Part of the Ambassador's rugged durability stems from its redundant and shielded systems. Electro-plasma system (EPS) taps throughout the vessel were the first to employ triple-redundancy, allowing the Ambassador to continue to operate even after several hull breaches. Her sensor arrays, while adequate for the time, are not overly sophisticated but suitable for a wide variety of missions.
Defensively, the Ambassador-class uses Starfleet's proven CIDSS shield grid system, providing it with superb protection and reliability. In combat the vessel relies on a number of phase arrays located on both the primary and secondary hulls, providing comprehensive fields of coverage. The class' Type IX phaser arrays, new when the fleet was initially designed, have an efficient power use curve that allows the Ambassador to mount more arrays than past designs. Her forward and aft firing Mk 60 direct fire torpedo tubes can lay down impressive volleys of photon torpedoes. Most significant to her design are the quad-redundancy fire and control systems integrated through her skeletal structure. This separates each individual array and targeting scanner from the rest of the grid, making it nearly impossible to disable individual weapon mountings. To date no recorded Ambassador-class starship has suffered more than a 40% weapons failure at any given time.
Perhaps the class' most glaring weakness lies in her speed. Even after significant overhauling and upgrades during the design process, the Ambassador-class is pressed to achieve warp 9 speeds—and even then for only short durations. A number of warp engine design simulations—including a quad nacelle configuration—were tested, but the Ambassador's spaceframe proved too large to achieve a stable warp field. In the end the experimental LF-17 warp engine, still in the early design stages, was forced into production and was up-rated to handle the Ambassador spaceframe. The LF-17 eventually proved to be unsuitable for the Ambassador-class and unreliable at times. While multiple overhaul plans have called for new drives, perhaps with the more appropriate LF-35 or LF-41 warp engines, technical limitations have made this unfeasible.
Ambassador-class cruisers have a mission profile of up to five years, and an overhaul schedule of 20 years.
While the Excelsior-class took its place as one of the most successful designs of the late 23rd and early 24th centuries, Starfleet was in need of a second capital ship, particularly one that could operate independently for extended periods of time—a role that was at the time filled by the Constellation-class. The admiralty desired a new vessel that could explore further beyond the borders of the Federation, and with greater safety, than before. It's no accident that the Ambassador mimics is older cousin, the Constitution-class, arguably the most successful starship design of all time, in appearance if not function.
Certainly designers set high standards, and the Ambassador-class was rushed into production. Many aspects of her design were beyond the capabilities and standards of the age, and in the end several key systems, notably her warp drive, ultimately paid the price. The end result was a multi-role starship capable of operating independently on missions of extended durations, but never quick to the scene.
The Ambassador-class, as her name suggests, carried the flag of the Federation to new worlds and new civilizations, and helped pave the way for several first contact situations, such as those involving the Zakdorn. The Ambassador's real strength showed in combat, where her size, rather than her speed, played an important role. At the height of Romulan aggression during the Khitomer conflicts, Ambassador-class ships sometimes found themselves in—and holding their own against—three-to-one odds. These heroic displays, especially that of the U.S.S. Enterprise-C in 2344, eventually led to a formal Federation-Klingon alliance. Ambassador-class vessels also saw action in the Cardassian and Tholian wars of the 2340s and 2350s.
Remaining Ambassador-class cruisers continue to serve in Starfleet, fulfilling either patrol or training duties, along with the occasional survey or diplomatic profile mission. Many of the design philosophies pioneered by the Ambassador-class have found their way into 24th century designs, such as the successful Galaxy-class.
Ships in Service
|U.S.S. Adelphi||NCC-26849||Commanded by Captain Darson; responsible for disastrous first contact with the Ghorusda (2361); (R5)|
|U.S.S. Ambassador||NX-10521||Prototype of the line|
|U.S.S. Enterprise||NCC-1701-C||Fifth starship to bear the name; commanded by Captain Rachel Garrett (2340-2344); destroyed while defending Klingon outpost at Narenda III against Romulan attack (2344); (R18, Famous)|
|U.S.S. Excalibur||NCC-26517||(R7, Famous)|
|U.S.S. Gandhi||NCC-26632||Made first contact with the Zakdorn while on the Coreward Frontier Survey Initiative|
|U.S.S. Horatio||NCC-10532||Commanded by Captain Walker Keel|
|U.S.S. Krotus||NCC-26544||Defeated Romulan incursion across Neutral Zone (2344)|
|U.S.S. Zhukov||NCC-26136||Commanded by Captain Gleason; discovered the twin parallax suns of Ultais|
Exploration Cruiser; Commissioned: 2284; Refitted 2331
Phasers: Type VIII (x5/E)
Torpedo Launchers: Mk 40 DF (x6/E)
Photon Penetration: 7/7/7/7/7
Deflector Shield: CIDSS-3 (C)
Impulse System: FIB-3 (.75c) (B)
Warp System: LF-35 (6/9.2/9.8) (D)
Atmosphere Capable: No
Cargo Units: 80
Life Support: Class 3 (D)
Operations System: Class 4 (E)
Sensor System: Class 2 (+2/C)
Separation System: No
Shuttlebay: 1 a
Shuttlecraft: 7 Size worth
Tractor Beams: 1 ad, 1 fv
Transporters: 4 standard, 4 emergency
Maneuver Modifiers: +1 C, +2 H, +3 T
Traits: Battle Tested
A state-of-the-art capital ship with impressive size, speed, and tactical characteristics, the Excelsior-class is well suited for a number of mission roles. Specializing in emergency response and long-range exploration, the Excelsior-class also distinguishes itself through superior firepower and the ability to project force into neighboring sectors. It served as the mainline fleet vessel for Starfleet after the retirement of the Constitution-class, and before the wide-scale use of Ambassador-class ships. It frequently operats as a command and control vessel, dictating fleet actions. A number of scientific laboratories and the ability to launch long-range probes also make the class viable for exploration and scientific missions.
Originally developed as a test-bed for the experimental transwarp drive, the Excelsior-class underwent a number of late design changes when that project ultimately failed. While transwarp was never realized, designers were unwilling to cast aside what was otherwise a sound cruiser design. The transwarp engines were removed in favor of conventional linear warp drive engines, the uprated LN-72s, the fastest warp engines available at the time. The Excelsior-class can cruise at warp 8, sustain speeds of warp 10 for several hours, and reach warp 13 (OCU) when necessary. This made it by far the fastest Starfleet vessel for almost five decades.
Tactically the Excelsior-class is the most powerful Starfleet vessel fielded during the 23rd and early 24th centuries. Mounting several Type VIII phaser banks, the Excelsior's firepower provides it with excellent strike capabilities. The addition of Mk 22 direct-fire photon torpedoes allows the class to lay down multiple fields of fire. Supplemented by the proven CIDSS-2 shield system, the class enjoys significant combat endurance.
As a support vessel, the ship's sensor capabilities are average for its class, while its operations and computer systems are top of the line. A large shuttlebay and ample cargo room gives the class the ability to operate in a number of auxiliary roles, such as colony supply, emergency relief, and deep-space surveying missions.
In 2331, the first Excelsior refits debuted with a number of upgraded systems. Foremost, the linear warp drive was replaced with the prototype LT-35 design. Excelsior-class ships served as a test bed for these engines years before they reached mass availability. The life support and impulse systems were also upgraded to the standards of the time, as were the torpedo launchers (which mounted the latest Mk 60 direct-fire photon torpedoes). This increased the Excelsior's already-impressive firepower to the strongest in the fleet. The latest CIDSS shield grid was also put into place.
Original Excelsior-class ships have a mission profile of up to four years, with refits and/or overhauls on a 22-year basis. These exceptional endurance numbers allowed the Excelsior to become the backbone of Starfleet in both the 23rd and 24th centuries.
The most prolific design of all time, more Excelsior-class starships have been built than any other vessel in Starfleet history. While not garnering the attention the Constitution-class earned, Excelsiors made formidable ships in their own right, regardless of their shaky beginnings. The failure of the transwarp project was only a minor setback to this class. The Excelsior-class was one of the few vessels that could mount the large LN-72s.
Even while other designs were on the drawing board, the Excelsior continued to astound critics with her multirole functionality. The class was exceedingly fast, able to reach distant colonies and borders in a third of the time of other vessels. More importantly, the Excelsiors were able to handle whatever they came across, thanks to their robust armament and defensive capabilities.
In the early 24th century, after the first overhauls, a number of designers saw ways to upgrade the venerable spaceframe. With no new designs on the drawing board to fill the void that would be left by retiring the class, Starfleet instead opted to upgrade the class. The upgrades breathed new life into the ships and allowed the vessels to continue to make valuable contributions to Starfleet.
Perhaps the most interesting characteristic of the Excelsior-class is the ability to fight "above its weight" in threat actions, frequently against superior numbers. The fighting reputation of the Excelsiors, coupled with their sleek lines, made them the flahship of choice for aggressive captains like Jellico, Leyton, and Nechayev. During the Cardassian war the Excelsior-class was an oft-seen combatant on the front lines.
The flagship of Starfleet, the U.S.S. Enterprise-B, was commissioned as an Excelsior-class, while the U.S.S. Excelsior herself went on to a fine and distinguished career under Captain Hikaru Sulu. The refits U.S.S. Gorkon and Cairo, commanded by Captain Nachayev and Jellico respectively, saw extensive action against the Tholians and Cardassians in a number of conflicts.
Ships in Service
|U.S.S. Agincourt||NCC-38762||Commanded by Captain Christian Summers; defeated Tholian task force at Catalina Station (2355)|
|U.S.S. Al-Batani||NCC-42995||Commanded by Captain Owen Paris; participated in Tholian War (2355-2360) (R8, Famous)|
|U.S.S. Cairo||NCC-42136||Captain Edward Jellico in command (2360-)|
|U.S.S. Charleston||NCC-42285||Inadvertently thrown into Romulan territory by a transitory wormhole but able to successfully navigate back to Federation space (2293)|
|U.S.S. Crazy Horse||NCC-50446|
|U.S.S. Enterprise||NCC-1701-B||Fourth ship to bear the name; commanded by Captain John Harriman (2293-2298); damaged by Nexus anomaly (R12, Famous, Flagship (+2 C)|
|U.S.S. Excelsior||NX-2000||Prototype; commanded by Captain Robert Styles; part of failed transwarp experiment (2284), later recommissioned|
|U.S.S. Excelsior||NCC-2000||Prototype; commanded by Captain Hikaru Sulu (2290-2298); responsible in part for safeguarding the first Khitomer Accords (2293); (R14, Famous)|
|U.S.S. Farragut||NCC-2582||Decommissioned as training vessel (2359)|
|U.S.S. Hood||NCC-42296||Commanded by Captain Robert deSoto (2361-)|
|U.S.S. Intrepid||NCC-38907||Provided emergency relief to Klingon outpost on Khitomer following Romulan attack (2346) (R4, Famous)|
|U.S.S. Melbourne||NCC-62043||Flagship of Admiral Hanson|
|U.S.S. Okinawa||NCC-13958||Commanded by Captain Thomas Leyton (2350-2364)|
|U.S.S. Potemkin||NCC-18253||Discovered the Newton III rogue planet and led the first extensive expedition into interphasic space|
|U.S.S. Repulse||NCC-2544||Defeated four rogue Klingon battlecruisers attempting to raid Federation colonies along the Klandera border (2297)|
|U.S.S. Valley Forge||NCC-43305|
Explorer; Commissioned: 2357
Phasers: Type X (saucer x2, stardrive x3, stardrive 1 concealed (E)
Torpedo Launchers: Mk 80 DF (stardive x2/E)
Photon Penetration: 5/5/5/5/5
Deflector Shield: CIDSS-3 (C)
Impulse System: FIG-5 (.92c)
Warp System: LF-41 (6/9.2/9.6)
Atmosphere Capable: No
Cargo Units: 100
Life Support: Class 4 (E)
Operations System: Class 4 (E)
Sensor System: Class 4 (+4/C)
Separation System: Yes
Shuttlebay: 1 saucer a, 2 stardrive a
Shuttlecraft: 24 Size worth
Tractor Beams: 1 fv, 1 av
Transporters: 8 standard, 8 emergency
Maneuver Modifiers: +4 C, -3 H, +4 T
The first true multi-role starship design in over a century, Galaxy-class starships function as deep-space explorers capable of operating independently for several years. Extensive sensor capabilities and laboratory facilities, as well as diverse crews, allow the Galaxy-class to engage in a wide range of scientific research. As the foremost ship in the 24th century Starfleet, the class was intended to project Federation influence throughout the Alpha Quadrant and beyond. When pressed, the class also makes an effective weapons platform for deployment into hostile areas of space.
As a result of the Galaxy-Class Development Project, these ships incorporate many new technologies designed especially for the new design initiative. The design as a long-term deep-space explorer sets this vessel apart. With a standard mission duration of up to seven years, the Galaxy-class can operate for an extended period of time without returning to starbase. The systems on board were intended to last up to 20 years between overhauls and refits.
The design process of the Galaxy-class, most notably because of her size and unique requirements, was equally lengthy. Construction from concept to commissioning lasted 14 years, with other vessels following six years later. Part of this unique design is the capability of the Galaxy to house families. The Galaxy-class was the first, and only, Starfleet ship intended to transport civilians alongside the crew; this was calculated to counted the debilitating effects of long-term separation resulting from deep space exploration. The ability to keep ones family close at hand made Galaxy-class postings the most coveted in Starfleet.
The large size required by the ship's design parameters resulted in numerous technological advancements that would be incorporated into other starship designs, some occurring before the first Galaxy-class ship had even launched (like the Nebula-class). Structural integrity field strength had to accommodate the ship's size to prevent the spaceframe from collapsing in on itself. In order to safeguard the families on board, the Galaxy-class included separation capabilities. Ships of this class could separate into two fully-functional vessels, a saucer section and stardrive section. In the even of an emergency, the saucer section can deploy to escape danger, functioning essentially as a large lifeboat, and even make emergency planetfall. The stardrive section operates as an independent combat vessel, well-armed and able to provide covering fire if necessary.
The armament for the Galaxy-class is extensive. Multiple Type X phaser arrays, the largest of their kind, are mounted in collimated fashion across both the primary and secondary hulls and serve as the primary tactical system. The Mk 80 direct-fire photon torpedo launchers mounted fore and aft provide limited standoff capability and can also launch scientific and reconnaissance probes. The CIDDS-3 shield grid is one of the strongest in the fleet.
The Galaxy-class design process also heralded advancements in warp and impulse engines. The LF-41 warp engines make the Galaxy-class one of the fastest starships in the fleet, able to reach warp 9.6 (MCUs). In the event of hull separation, only the stardrive unit is warp-capable, though the saucer section possesses warp sustainers that allow it to continue to travel in a warp field. The FIG-5 vectored thrust impulse engines incorporate multiple fusion reactors coupled with an accelerator unit to propel the immense ship (and the saucer section maintains its own impulse engines for powered flight after separation).
Because of its size and its crew complement of over one thousand, the Galaxy-class includes several shuttlebays, support craft, and transporters. An extensive cargo capacity allows this vessel to transport large amounts of supplies and consumables.
The Galaxy-class was intended to take deep-space exploration to a level never before attempted by Starfleet. Building on the experiences of the Constitution-class, and after a long period of relative peace, Starfleet Command desired to return to a more outward-looking mission. Conflict with the Klingons had abated and the Romulan Empire remained dormant behind their Neutral Zone. The Constitution-class designed as a multi-mission deep-space vessel, had performed admirably despite the relatively small number constructed and their high rate of attrition. The Galaxy-class was meant to project Federation influence, engage in deep-space investigation, and operate autonomously as the Constitution-class had done a century earlier.
Because of the size of the Galaxy-class, Starfleet never intended to construct a large number of these ships. Beyond the initial six that were launched, another six spaceframes were completed but never assembled; they were instead held for a time of emergency.
By far the most famous Galaxy-class starship is the U.S.S. Enterprise-D, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The Enterprise is responsible for numerous first contact and exploratory missions.
Ships in Service
|U.S.S. Enterprise||NCC-1701-D||Commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (2364-); sixth vessel to bear the name (R35, Famous, Flagship (+5 C))|
|U.S.S. Galaxy||NX-70637||Lead ship of the line; (R3)|
|U.S.S. Yamato||NCC-71807||Commanded by Captain Donald Varley; (R6)|
Cruiser; Commissioned: 2283
Phasers: Type V (x5/C)
Torpedo Launchers:Type II (x8/C)
Photon Penetration: 7/7/7/7/7
Deflector Shield: Class 3 (B)
Impulse System: Type III (.6c) (B)
Warp System: Type IIIA (3/6/6.5) (x8/C)
Atmosphere Capable: No
Cargo Units: 50
Life Support: Class 1 (A)
Operations System: Class 1 (A)
Sensor System: Class 1 (+1/B)
Separation System: No
Shuttlebay: 1 a
Shuttlecraft: 4 Size worth
Tractor Beams: 1 fv, 1 av
Transporters: 4 standard, 3 cargo, 3 emergency
Maneuver Modifiers: +3 C, +2 H, +4 T
A Starfleet fixture of long-range scientific, supply, and exploratory missions for nearly a century, Miranda-class vessels probably logged more parsecs than any other single Federation vessel class. During the late 23rd century, Starfleet Command placed an increasing emphasis on deep space exploration and surveying. The first ships launched after the inception of the Exploratory Vessel Initiative, Miranda-class vessels represent the most notable result of Starfleet's renewed focus on exploration and discovery.
Merging a host of diverse capabilities, versatility, quickly became a hallmark of the class. Although Miranda-class ships primarily undertake scientific and exploratory missions, certain systems modules are swappable. These Miranda variants enjoyed great popularity in the early 24th century, and their expanded tactical and defensive systems are more than a match for most foes. Ships of this class have participated in every major battle of the 24th century, often serving on the secondary or reserve battle units.
By the middle of the 24th century, Starfleet decommissioned many Miranda-class vessels and sent them to surplus depots, scrapped them for parts, or used them as training vessels. Federation members planets and allied systems such as Altair and Betelgeuse first began to add reconditioned Miranda-class ships to their own space fleets in the 2360s, when the active production life of these ships ceased. Hence, many Miranda-class vessels continue to serve with distinction throughout Federation space and beyond for decades after their theoretical obsolescence.
Ships in Service
|U.S.S. Korolev||Diplomatic mission to Zald (2293)|
|U.S.S. Reliant||Support vessel for classified Genesis Project, later hijacked by Khan Noonien Singh (2285)|
|U.S.S. Tian An Men|
|U.S.S. Vigilant||Lost during long-range survey mission in Perseus Arm (2348)|
Cruiser; Commissioned: 2357; Tactical Pod Variant*
Length/Height/Beam: 465/140/467; 465/148/467
Phasers: Type X (x3/D); Type X (x5/E)
Penetration: 5/5/4/0/0; 6/6/6/0/0
Torpedo Launchers: Mk 80 DF (x2/D); Mk 80 DF (x3/E)
Photon Penetration: 5/5/5/5/5; 6/6/6/6/6
Deflector Shield: CIDSS-3 (C)
Impulse System: FIG-5 (.92c) (D)
Warp System: LF-41 (6/9.2/9.6) (D)
Atmosphere Capable: No
Cargo Units: 70
Life Support: Class 4 (E)
Operations System: Class 4 (+4/E); Class 4 (+5/E)
Sensor System: Class 4 (+4/E); Class 4 (+5/E)
Separation System: Yes (pod only)
Shuttlebay: 2 a
Shuttlecraft: 14 Size worth
Tractor Beams: 1 ad, 1 fd, 1 fv
Transporters: 6 standard, 6 emergency
Maneuver Modifiers: +3 C, -1 H, +3 T
Traits: None; Prototype (+1 missile, +1 sensor)
- Tactical Pod Variant data shown after semicolon on the right
Designed in tandem with the Galaxy-class, the Nebula-class is used for a number of different mission applications, from patrol and threat defense, to relief and ferrying of supplies. These mission profiles dictate which configuration pod the Nebula is equipped with to help achieve its mission objectives. The Nebula-class cruiser is an all-around excellent support craft capable of long-range mission profiles.
A compact and efficient design, the Nebula-class looks very similar to its sister class, the Galaxy. Many of the class' components were designed for the Galaxy-Class Development Project, but saw deployment on the Nebula-class first. Ships of this line were intended to be easier to construct and maintain, requiring a shorter construction time.
Using many of the same components, these two vessels are more similar than dissimilar. Both use the same efficient LF-41 warp drive, capable of speeds up to warp 9.6. Both mount the Type X phaser and Mk 80 direct-fire photon torpedo launchers, and both use the same CIDSS-3 shield grid system. In addition, many of the operations systems came "off the shelf" from Starfleet's construction yards, which cuts development time and provides proven, reliable support.
The Nebula-class distinguishes itself through the use of mission-configurable upper pods. Located of the dorsal side of the vessel, the mission pod can be swapped out with any number of multi-use pods depending on the needs of the assignment. Different pod configurations, such as the cargo pod, sensor pod, and tactical pod give the Nebula exceptional flexibility. Reinforced and redundant systems on board the Nebula give it a well-earned reputation for reliability. Assisting in its role as a support vessel, the Nebula-class has two aft hangar bays and accommodates variety of shuttlecraft and shuttlepods so as to provide optimal efficiency for whatever missions the ship might undertake.
Most Nebula-class cruisers can operate for up to five years on a standard mission, with an overhaul schedule of twenty years. Before the end of the class' operational lifetime, Starfleet evaluated the possibility of a Nebula refit program to extend the life of the class even further.
Nebula Configurable Pods
The basic starship statistics provided in the starship profile represent the standard configuration of a Nebula-class cruiser with no supplemental pod, and a sample Nebula with a tactical pod is provided. The ship can be configured with a number of different pods base on the needs of the mission. When constructing a mission-configurable pod, allocate 22 space to upgrade or replace existing systems. A pod can be swapped out in six hours at any starbase or station facility. Sample configurations include:
Cargo: Upgrades Life Support Systems to Class 5 and Operations Systems to Class 5, and adds 70 cargo units
Probe: Upgrades Operations Systems to Class 5 and Sensor Systems to Class 5, adds 40 cargo units and an additional Mk 80 torpedo launcher
Sensor: Upgrades Operations Systems to Class 5 and Sensor Systems to Class 5, adds 20 cargo units and an additional Type X phaser array
Tactical: Enhances Sensor Systems (+5), and adds two Type X phaser arrays plus an enhanced Mk 80 torpedo launcher
The flexibility of the Nebula-class rapidly made it a favorite amongst the admiralty, and the class's extensive numbers are a testament to its popularity. Foremost is the ability to take a proven and reliable spaceframe and adapt it to any number of mission profiles through the use of the modular pod arrangement.
The Nebulas continue to play a vital role in patrol and exploration duty, as well as ferrying supplies and parts to distant colonies and stations. In many ways they replace the aging Miranda-class as the workhorse scientific platform in Starfleet, with many being assigned to long-term survey operations and research initiatives.
With the eventual retiring of the Galaxy-class on the horizon, some fear that the Nebulas may be quick to follow. This is, in fact, not the case—Starfleet plans to continue the development of the Nebula-class onward into the 25th century and plans are already on the drawing board for a significant refit project. Nebulas also serve as excellent test-beds for emerging technologies, again, thanks to their modular mission pod, and will no doubt become the benefactors of some of these new enhancements.
Ships in Service
|U.S.S. Chesapeake||NCC-62010||Mapped the Nutrion Expanse|
|U.S.S. Endeavour||NCC-71805||Commanded by Captain Joseph Amasov|
|U.S.S. Hera||NCC-62006||Commanded by Captain Silva La Forge|
|U.S.S. Leopard||NCC-62344||First vessel to penetrate and map the Tholian interphase (2357-2360); lost on Tholian border (2360)|
|U.S.S. Merrimac||NCC-61827||Patrols the Romulan Neutral Zone|
|U.S.S. Nebula||NX-60602||Lead ship of the class; reassigned to Sector 001 as test vessel for pod configurations|
|U.S.S. Phoenix||NCC-65420||Commanded by Captain Benjamin Maxwell|
|U.S.S. T'Kumbra||NCC-62100||Commanded by Captain Solok|
|U.S.S. Temeraire||NCC-65387||Commanded by Captain Donaldson|
|U.S.S. Ulysses||NCC-66808||Commanded by Captain Entebe|
Class F/G Shuttlecraft; Commissioned: 2245/2269
Complement: 1 pilot + 6 passengers
Beam Weapons: None
Torpedo Launchers: None
Missile Penetration: None
Defensive Systems: PFF 2 (A)
Impulse System: SBC (.5c) (B)
Warp System: None
Atmosphere Capable: Yes
Cargo Units: 1
Life Support: Class 2 (C)
Operations System: Class 1R (BB)
Sensor System: Class 2 (+2/C)
Tractor Beams: None Transporters: None
Maneuver Modifiers: +0 C, +2 H, +0 T
Type 6 Shuttlecraft; Commissioned: 2364
Complement: 2 pilots + 6 passengers
Beam Weapons: Type IV (A)
Torpedo Launchers: Mk 25 DF (A)
Missile Penetration: 2/2/2/2/0 (Photon)
Defensive Systems: FSQ-1A (BB)
Impulse System: FIB (.5c) (B)
Warp System: LF-2 (1.2/3.5/4) (B)
Atmosphere Capable: Yes
Cargo Units: 2
Life Support: Class 3 (D)
Operations System: Class 2R (CC)
Sensor System: Class 2a (+2/BB)
Tractor Beams: 1 av Transporters: 1 2-person standard
Maneuver Modifiers: +0 C, +1 H, +1 T
Traits: Unique System (Beam)
Shuttlepods and shuttlecraft are used as auxiliary and support vessels, able to free up a starship for other duties. A shuttlecraft is serviceable for diplomatic and envoy missions, as well as short-range patrol and exploration. Their atmospheric landing capability also makes them useful for transferring personnel or cargo that can not normally be moved by transport.
Class F/G Shuttlecraft: The F and G shuttlecraft are equipped with the lightweight SBC impulse drive, providing speeds of up to .5 the speed of light. Although not armed, these shuttlecraft boast defensive capability through a PFF 2 shield grid, providing limited protection. In the event of an emergency the fuel cells of the shuttlecraft can be vented and ignited, acting as something as a signal flare to nearby starships.
Type 6 Shuttlecraft: A short-ranged craft, the Type 6 shuttle is built on a reliable design. Key redundant systems, such as operations and sensors, ensure that the shuttlecraft remains operational even after potentially catastrophic mishaps. The LF-2 warp drive provides a maximum speed of warp 4, making the shuttle useful for transporting small numbers of personnel to and from neighboring facilities without inconveniencing the parent vessel. Armaments include Type IV pahsers and a mark 24 direct-fire microtorpedo launcher. The FSQ shield grid provides limited protection. The Type 6 shuttlecraft can carry four passengers comfortably for up to five days.
Class F/G Shuttlecraft: Good for short-range diplomatic and research missions, the class F and G shuttlecraft are small and maneuverable. They are launched via hanger bays on most Federation starships and can also be found at most starbase facilities. The shuttles lack warp drive capability to must operate within close proximity of their parent vessel. The differences between the type F and G shuttlecraft are merely cosmetic—functionally they are the same.
Type 6 Shuttlecraft: A dependable short-ranged shuttle, the Type 6 is commonly found on Nebula- and Galaxy-class starships.
UFP Aerie-class Surveyor
Surveyor; Commissioned: 2347
Complement: 2 to 10
Phasers: Type II (x2/A)
Torpedo Launchers: Mk 22 (A)
Photon Penetration: 2/2/2/2/0
Deflector Shield: CIDSS-3 (C)
Impulse System: FIG (.9c) (C)
Warp System: LF-10 (5/6/8) (C)
Atmosphere Capable: Yes
Cargo Units: 45
Life Support: Class 3 (D)
Operations System: Class 3 (D)
Sensor System: Class 4 (+4/E)
Separation System: No
Tractor Beams: 1 fv, 1 ad
Transporters: 2 4-person standard
Maneuver Modifiers: +0 C, +1 H, -1 T
Most Aerie-class vessels are made available to civilian scientists through the Federation Science Council. A long-range deep-space scientific explorer, the Aerie-class is designed to operate independently for extended periods of time with a small crew comprised of scientific experts. A number of laboratories and an enhanced sensor system allow the Aerie to retrieve valuable sensor data from a number of sources.
A compact and workman-like deisng, the Aerie-class is a deep-space explorer designed primarily as a mobile sensor and laboratory platform. Four decks in height, the Aerie-class can be modified to fulfill a number of mission profiles. For example, berthing and storage facilities can be removed in favor of additional laboratories but at the cost to mission duration. Inversely, unnecessary laboratory space can be swapped out with cargo modules, extending the Aerie's mission endurance. For most mission profiles the vessel can sustain a crew of up to ten, but its sophisticated operations systems allow it to be run by as few as two people.
The overall design of the craft has a rectangular primary hull, a forward cockpit module that serves as the vessels central control, and two aft-mounted warp nacelles that split off from the primary hull to the port and starboard. Underneath the vessel are eight cargo bay doors, allowing for the easy loading and unloading of cargo while landed.
The Aerie-class incorporates several distinguishing features. The Class 4 sensor system, located immediately forward of the primary hull on the tip of the nose cowling, is the main feature of the vessel. Secondary sensor pallets are located along the hull, including the aft section. These systems boast a respectable range and reliability, and would normally require access to a Nebula-class starship. Scientists provided with an Aerie-class ship appreciate having this powerful scanning capability at their disposal. In addition, the class is atmosphere-capable, extending its functionality as a research platform. Due to its limited size, the Aerie does not possess any shuttlecraft capacity, but it includes two 4-person transporters.
Tha class' propulsion and tactical systems augment its capacity as a mobile laboratory. The vessel is powered by a FIG impulse reactor with a sustainable flight duration of several weeks and a top sublight speed of .9C. The LF-10 linear warp drive is fast and reliable, allowing the Aerie to cruise at warp 5 and achieve speeds up to warp 8 for limited periods of time. Aerie-class surveyors are lightly armed with Type II phasers and a single Mk 22 direct-line torpedo tube. The latter is used primarily to launch long-range sensor probes to extend the Aerie's range, but a small number of photon torpedoes are also stocked for emergency purposes. The Aerie is outfitted with a CIDSS-3 shield grid for protection.
With judicious use of resources and the monitoring of consumables, the Aerie-class can undertake missions ranging from 5 to 20 years without significant re-supply or overhaul, based on projected simulations.
In addition to the extensive scientific initiatives undertaken by Starfleet, many more scientists engage in private research under grants provided by the Federation. In order to gather data, conduct experiments, and test their theories, civilian scientists usually have a starship placed at their disposal, and the demand for access typically exceeds supply. Even when available, Starfleet could only spare vessels for short-periods of time. To address this shortfall, in the mid 24th century the Federation Science Council requested Starfleet explore a program whereby dedicated science starships could be made available to qualified candidates for long-term loan.
The result was the Starfleet Joint Research Project. The Corps of Engineers would design and build starships compact in design, capable of extended missions, and equipped with enhanced sensor grids and interchangeable laboratory facilities. Starfleet would administrate the deployment of this fleet for extended, detached missions based on recommendations from the Science Council. And individual scientists and research groups would submit research applications to the Federation for the loan of these Aerie-class ships.
Among the many early entries was a requested from Doctors Magnus and Erin Hansen, both noted exobiologists, to "observe and track a number of spacefaring species beyond explored space in the Delta Quadrant." Starfleet's interest had always been piqued by what lie beyond Romulan space and the Hansen's petition was accepted. They set off aboard the U.S.S. Raven and haven't been heard from ever since.
Even with the mysterious disappearance of vessels like the Raven, many in the scientific community considered the Starfleet Joint Exploration Project a success. The research performed by Aerie-class ships has benefited both sides, Starfleet has plans to expand the project further.
Ships in Service
|U.S.S. Aerie||NAR-32002||Lead vessel of the line|
|U.S.S. Dunnock||NAR-32007||On extended exploratory mission to Epsilon Canaris III, headed by Doctor Douglas Brady|
|U.S.S. Greenfinch||NAR-32335||Studying the unusual tidal effects on Argelius II and the impact of erosion on the ecosystem|
|U.S.S. Linnet||NAR-32552||Currently between missions; awaiting assignment|
|U.S.S. Raven||NAR-32450||Operated by Doctors Magnus and Erin Hanse for extended exobiology observation into the Delta Quadrant; missing since 2356|
|U.S.S. Robin||NAR-32048||Damaged in skirmish near Kalindra Sector; currently undergoing overhaul|
|U.S.S. Rook||NAR-32382||Participating in an extended sociological re-education program on Beta III under Doctor Timothy Wess|
|U.S.S. Skylark||NAR-32708||Tracking the migration patterns of spaceborne life-forms in the Alpha Omicron System|
|U.S.S. Starling||NAR-32877||On assignment under Doctor T'Venik for stellar cartography research in the Gamma Quadrant|
|U.S.S. Swift||NAR-32410||Studying subspace ruptures in Sector 15120|
|U.S.S. Tern||NAR-33199||Currently in trials prior to commissioning and assignment|
|U.S.S. Warbler||NAR-32191||Assigned to Professor Lawrence Mitchell; field testing of new Class XI tetryon probe|
|U.S.S. Wren||NAR-32624||Performing classified research under Starfleet Directive 715; location unknown|
UFP Altair-class Freighter
Freighter; Commissioned: 2240
Complement: 4 + 6 passengers
Torpedo Launchers: None
Photon Penetration: None
Deflector Shield: PFF 1 (A)
Impulse System: SBE (.5c) (A)
Warp System: PB-1 Mod 1 (2/4/5) (A)
Atmosphere Capable: No
Cargo Units: 250
Life Support: Class 1 (A)
Operations System: Class 1 (A)
Sensor System: Class 1 (+1/A)
Separation System: No
Tractor Beams: 1 a
Transporters: 1 standard, 2 cargo
Maneuver Modifiers: -1 C, -1 H, -2 T
Inexpensive to produce and reliable, the Altair-class is a medium-ranged transport vessel capable of moving small- to mid-sized cargoes and passengers to distant star systems. It is most often found in the possession of independent traders and merchants operating along the Federation frontier. It is a common sight along the spacelanes of the late 23rd century.
Constructed by the Gavor Shipyards on Tellar, this stocky cargo freighter is well-suited to delivering its cargo in a timely manner thanks to the PB-1 Mod 1 linear warp drive used in its design. The Altair can transport its cargo eclipsing to warp 5 for short durations when necessary. The PF-1 design, a proven engine in the field, is easy to maintain and repair for freighter crews. The SBE impulse drive is standard in a vessel of this size; it has a proven design, reliable construction, and uses easily replicated part. The impulse thrusters are located directly aft while the two warp nacelles flank the sides of the vessel, recessed into cowlings off the main hull.
The Altair comes without armament, but integrates a minimal shield grid for protection against meteor showers, ion storms, and stellar anomalies. While the PFF design is older than the shield systems found of Starfleet starships, it does its job effectively.
Foremost a cargo carrier, the Altair provides minimal accommodations for her crew of 4 and berthing for up to an additional 6 passengers. The cargo containers are not rated for humanoid transport. The two cargo storage bays run underneath the dorsal spine down the centerline, off of the primary hull. The Altair's bulky size makes it unsuitable for entering a planetary atmosphere, so two industrial cargo transporters allow the moving of cargo to and from the ship. At a drydock or bulk storage facility, the cargo bays are detachable, allowing the Altair to easily pickup pre-configured containers and quickly be on its way.
With enough consumables, the Altair can travel up to six months before servicing is required. The recommended overhaul schedule is 15 years.
In the mid-23rd century the Altair became the backbone of independent merchant fleets throughout the Federation. Originally commissioned as a Starfleet transport, the Altair had a brief career in Starfleet before the contract was unceremoniously dropped in favor of an alternate—the Antares. The Altair proved to be reliable but easy prey for raiders and was underpowered for Starfleet's needs. In the commercial sector, however, the Altair was affordable, common, and easily repaired, which quickly made it the freighter of choice for merchant captains seeking their own fortunes.
More than a few captains have made adjustments to their Altairs, a few even adding a pulse phaser or disruptor bank, although the power grid of the Altair would be woefully overtaxed to power anything else. The cargo bays were never certified for humanoid use, although this does not deter many Orion slavers from transporting their wares in the cargo hulls of Altair-class freighters.
Many Altairs continue to see service into the 24th century, although by this time they are notoriously slow and unreliable. Only the most desperate or unfortunate merchant captains continue to risk their careers on these vessels after decades of questionable maintenance schedules.
As with most vessels in the private or commercial sectors, Altair-class ships are typically named in honor of lost flames and longing loves.
Ships in Service
|S.S. Alla Tarasova||NDT-833||Scrapped (2293)|
|S.S. Arctic Queen||NDT-891||Scrapped (2274)|
|S.S. Diamond Queen||NDT-768||Lost on the Nipps-Tecla run (2257)|
|S.S. Huron||NDT-802||Scrapped after internal fire (2261)|
|S.S. J. Burton Ayres||NDT-838||Destroyed by Nausicaan raiders (2252)|
|S.S. Jade Star||NDT-794||Stolen by Orion pirates near Hirats III (2244)|
|S.S. Kathrine Clewis||NDT-850||Scrapped (2297)|
|S.S. Kay Cole||NDT-809||Destroyed by warp core breach (2255)|
|S.S. Marine Courier||NDT-826||Lost near Intellas IV colony, presumably to Klingon attacks (2263)|
|S.S. Medusa Challenger||NDT-867||Scrapped (2301)|
|S.S. Medusa Conquest||NDT-772||Crash-landed on Bennus II; unsalvageable (2277)|
|S.S. Nicolet||NDT-812||Scrapped (2284)|
|S.S. Millenium Queen||NDT-846||Scrapped (2316)|
|S.S. Sarah Spencer||NDT-877||Mothballed at Necuon Facility (2280), scrapped (2347)|
|S.S. Senneville||NDT-780||Scrapped after internal fire at Rigel III (2289)|
|S.S. Spar Garnet||NDT-811||Scrapped after collision at Anteres X Docking Yard (2252)|
|S.S. Spar Jade||NDT-899||Sold and converted to orbital storage facility at Tandar Prime (2323)|
|S.S. Spar Opal||NDT-854||Scrapped (2271)|
UFP Class III Tanker
Tanker; Commissioned: 2240
Complement: 81 crew + 300 passengers
Torpedo Launchers: None
Photon Penetration: None
Deflector Shield: PFF 2 (A)
Impulse System: SBE (.5c) (B)
Warp System: PB-4 (3/4/6) (B)
Atmosphere Capable: No
Cargo Units: 460
Life Support: Class 3 (D)
Operations System: Class 2 (C)
Sensor System: Class 1a (AA)
Separation System: No
Shuttlebay: 1 fd
Shuttlecraft: 2 Size worth
Tractor Beams: 1 fv, 2 av
Transporters: 4 standard
Maneuver Modifiers: -2 C, -3 H, -2 T
A long-rnge bulk tanker, the primary mission of the Class III involves transporting large quantities of fuel and raw supplies to distant outposts. In the 23rd century, these ships were a common sight along the Federation's trade routes. In addition to their cargo-hauling duties, the Class III boasted passenger accommodations, making it a popular choice for civilians traveling through the Federation.
While the Altair-class freighter is popular with independent merchants and free traders operating inside the Federation and along the frontier, the Class III tanker provides a valuable service. Utilized by large interstellar concerns and the Federation merchant marine, the Class III transports goods, fuel, and passengers in bulk, servicing established colonies and homeworlds alike.
The basic design incorporates a gantry structure connecting the forward hull to the engineering section, which surrounds removable tanks located on the ship's ventral side. Living quarters and command and control areas are located in the primary hull. An access shaft runs along the dorsal side of the tanker to the aft engine compartment where the sublight and warp engines may be serviced. In the event of an emergency, the gantry can be detonated to separate the forward area of the ship from the fuel canisters and engineering section, a primitive form of emergency separation (and thus not counted as a true separation system on the ship's profile).
These tanks commonly hold deuterium processed at one of several gas mines located in orbit over various Class-I planets throughout the Federation. The swappable fuel containers can also be replaced by large cargo canisters intended to ferry almost anything from dilithium ore to industrial parts. In addition to it cargo capacity, the ship's main section comes equipped with berthing accommodations for up to 300 passengers, and enough consumables for a period of up to 30 days. Quarters are cramped, but these bulk rates are significantly cheaper than those found on more conventional passenger ships. Passengers sleep in nine- and twelve-person berths equipped with stacked bunks and are allowed limited storage for their belongings.
The tanker is far too large to achieve atmospheric entry. Four standard transporters and two small shuttlepods provide transfer for passengers and fuel is transferred via integrated pumps while docked at an orbital facility. The Class III tanker can even refuel a starship in the field, although this is rare—a tankers time is best spent delivering the bulk of its cargo to a central destination. Cargo canisters and fuel pods can be disengaged and transferred via work bee support craft.
The propulsion systems on board were never intended for speed; a PB-4 warp drive provides a standard cruising speed of warp 4, considered one of the best speeds for a tanker of this size. The SBE impulse drive supplies reaction thrust at sublight speeds when maneuvering in and out of docking facilities; the ship can double normal impulse speeds for brief periods.
As one would expect, the Class III tanker excludes armaments; the tanker is not designed to participate in combat, but does possess limited defensive capabilities in the form of a PFF-rated shield grid. Rated primarily as navigational shields to protect the ship from space debris and particulate matter, the defensive systems on board provide limited resistance against attack. Threat vessels firing on a Class III tanker while fully loaded would likely be destroyed in the resulting detonation.
Constructed at the Antares Shipyards by the Velosi construction firm of Axenar, the Class III tanker is one of the few vessels in the 23rd century suitable for transport of neutronic fuel such as deuterium and anti-deuterium. As such these tankers are in high demand and their whereabouts checked on at regular intervals. Most Class III tankers operate in the private sector, although a few are used in Starfleet to transport mission-critical fuel supplies under escort, and by the Federation merchant marines to supply outlying colonies.
Earlier Class III tankers made no sacrifices for passenger accommodations, but the Class III was designed to carry commuters to supplement its freight capabilities. Class III ships provided a travel alternative between major starbase facilities, provided you didn't need to get to your destination in a hurry and didn't mind layovers at remote lithium cracking stations and deuterium refineries.
These ships presented tempting targets to raiders, operating as they did along remote travel routes and without armament. Klingon warships were known to attack stray Class III tankers in the expanse incorporating Sherman's Planet, Capella IV, and Donatu V, not for their cargo but to sabotage Federation efforts in the region. Nausicaan raiders infrequently boarded these tankers, stranded any passengers, and navigated them back to isolated bases, where they could offload supplies and sell the tanker as scrap. And at least two tankers disappeared wen they strayed into Tholian space. Responding the distress calls from Class III tankers was a priority for Starfleet ships in the 23rd century.
Ships in Service
|S.S. Algocape||NGL-1010||Scrapped (2280)|
|S.S. Amy Riley||NGL-1077||Self-destructed on 2267, fully-loaded, taking all hands with it.|
|S.S. Daishowa||NGL-1008||Hijacked by Klingon border raiders and presumed destroyed (2257)|
|S.S. Imperial Aedia||NGL-1052||Scrapped after structural defects were found, causing the hull to buckle (2273)|
|S.S. Imperial Darthmouth||NGL-1042||Failure of navigational systems caused vessel to wander into the Klingon Neutral Zone causing minor incident. Vessel returned (minus payload) after diplomatic negotiations (2274)|
|S.S. Kobayashi Maru||NGL-1001||Fictitious vessel used in Starfleet training exercise, deemed "impossible" by most Academy Cadets|
|S.S. Mangal Desai||NGL-1020||Scrapped (2301)|
|S.S. Manitoulin||NGL-1009||Lost after cryptic last transmission indicating increased tetryon emissions (2252)|
|S.S. Mississagi||NGL-1017||Scrapped (2293)|
|S.S. Nordic Blossom||NGL-1074||Mothballed in 2304; later destroyed after orbital decay sent vessel spiraling into Ectair II (2337)|
|S.S. Omisaij||NGL-1061||Accidentally destroyed in Nausicaan raid (2245)|
|S.S. Reliance||NGL-1035||Scrapped (2310)|
|S.S. Rochelle Kaye||NGL-1067||Stolen in 2258, presumably by Orion pirates; final disposition unknown|
|S.S. Silver Isle||NGL-1038||Converted to passenger liner (2267); scrapped (2296)|
|S.S. Soren Toubro||NGL-1046||Lost less than 5 LY from Tholian border (2260)|
|S.S. Stella Lykes||NGL-1059||Acquired by Starfleet Command (2266); used as Academy Threat Response Training vessel (2268-2287); scrapped (2287)|
|S.S. Theodore Too||NGL-1079||Scrapped (2290)|
|S.S. Topa Topa||NGL-1022||Warp system failure sent the ship spiraling into the Omega XXI sun; all hands lost (2247)|