Template:Nt disambiguation The Constitution-class starships, which were also known as Starship-class1 or Class I Heavy Cruisers, were the premier front-line Starfleet vessels in the latter half of the 23rd century. They were designed for long duration missions with minimal outside support and are best known for their celebrated missions of galactic exploration and diplomacy which typically lasted up to five years.
The Constitution-class lineage was launched some time prior to 2245, and served as Starfleet's front-line vessels for the rest of the century. The Constitution-class also served as a mighty deterrent to both the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire, several times taking part in combat actions which determined the fate of the entire Federation if not the Alpha Quadrant itself. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)
In 2267, there were around twelve2 Constitution-class starships in the fleet. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday") These included the NCC-1700, the USS Constellation, the USS Defiant, the USS Enterprise, the USS Excalibur, the USS Exeter, the USS Hood, the USS Intrepid, USS Lexington, and the USS Potemkin.
The most famous Constitution-class starship was the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), launched under the command of Captain Robert April in 2245. The Enterprise gained its reputation during its historic five year mission (2265-2270) under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. (VOY: "Q2")
In 2266, on stardate 1709, the Enterprise was instrumental in preventing a war between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire. When a Romulan Bird-of-Prey crossed the Romulan Neutral Zone and destroyed several Earth Outpost Stations, Captain Kirk barely managed to outwit the enemy commander and stop his vessel from returning to Romulus and reporting on the Federation's weakness. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")
In late-2268, Excalibur, Hood, Lexington, and Potemkin took part in the disastrous testing of the M-5 computer, which had been placed in control of the Enterprise. The Excalibur was severely damaged, with all hands lost. The Lexington also was brutally assaulted by the M-5 computer when the unit became unstable. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")
Later that year, Defiant responded to a distress call from an unexplored sector of space, claimed by the Tholian Assembly. Shortly upon entering the region, the Defiant crew began experiencing sensory distortion, and insanity quickly spread throughout the ship. The ship's surgeon was unable to determine what was happening, and eventually the insanity induced by the phenomenon lead the crew to kill each other.
Three weeks later, Starfleet ordered the Enterprise to mount a search mission to locate the Defiant. On stardate 5693.2, the Enterprise located her adrift, lost between universes in a space warp. As a result of a later phaser exchange between the Enterprise and several Tholian vessels, a hole was created through the spatial interphase, pushing the Defiant into the mirror universe. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")
Unknown to history in the "prime" universe, the Defiant emerged in the 22nd century mirror universe, where the Tholians of that universe had created the interphase rift by detonating a tricobalt warhead within the gravity well of a dead star. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly") The Defiant would seemingly go on to play a major role in Empress Sato's rule over the Earth. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")
The Constitution-class featured the saucer section-engineering section-warp nacelle layout common to most Starfleet vessels. All ships of the class of the same level of refit appeared to be identical at first glance, but closer inspection revealed minor detail differences on certain vessels. (TOS: "The Cage", "The Ultimate Computer"; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; etc.)Various science labs, numbering fourteen in all, (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!") were located in the primary hull in the class' original configuration. An officer's lounge and dining area would be located in the aft superstructure beneath the bridge after the 2270s refit. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
The modular design of the Constitution-class allowed for component separation in times of crisis. The primary and secondary hulls could separate where the connecting "neck" joined the saucer, allowing either section to serve as a lifeboat if the other was too badly damaged. If an emergency was confined to the warp engine nacelles, it was theoretically possible to disengage and jettison them while keeping the bulk of the vessel intact. Any hull separation was considered a dangerous procedure and not always an option.(TOS: "The Apple", "The Savage Curtain")
Though not an aerodynamic craft, in emergencies, Constitution-class vessels were able to break orbit and enter a Class M planet's upper atmosphere (and maintain attitude control while passing through it) for a limited period of time, conditional on the ship's ability to re-achieve escape velocity. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday")
From 2254, or earlier, to 2265 Constitution-class vessels featured a large deflector dish, a large bridge dome of semi-spherical shape, and an antenna spike protruding from the Bussard collector cap on each warp nacelle. The impulse drive had two exhaust vents in 2254, and as many as eight smaller vents in 2265. (TOS: "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before")
Sometime between 2265 and 2266, the old deflector dish was replaced by a significantly smaller model, the spikes on the Bussard collectors were removed, a smaller bridge dome of flatter curvature was installed, the aft caps on the warp nacelles were each equipped with a spherical attachment, and the impulse drive now had only two large exhausts. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")
The interior passageways, main bridge interior and briefing room were already redesigned sometime between 2254 and 2265, and new intercoms were installed.
In 2266, the interior passageways were again modified, the briefing room was completely redesigned, and the overhauled main bridge featured an enlarged main viewscreen and upgrades to the control interfaces and station arrangement, but the overall appearance of the bridge remained relatively unchanged as compared to 2265. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")
The crew quarters of the 2254 configuration had the capability of carrying slightly more than 200 crewmembers. (TOS: "The Cage") In the 2266 configuration, crew quarters could hold a crew complement of over 400. (TOS: "Charlie X")In the late 2260s to early 2270s, the Constitution-class starships underwent their final major refit program. The actual refitting took eighteen months of work and essentially a new vessel was built onto the bones of the old, replacing virtually every major system. Thus, the Constitution-class continued in service for a further twenty years.
Essential upgrades were made to the Constitution-class' warp systems; the old cylindrical nacelles were replaced with new angular ones and the warp nacelle struts were connected to the engineering hull much closer to the neck than before. The engineering hull roughly retained its original shape – while the original hull was essentially a conical cylinder, the refit was much more rounded.
The deflector dish was upgraded, doing away with the "satellite" dish architecture. As for the interior of the hull, the most obvious upgrades were the enlargement of the shuttle deck and landing bay, as well as the addition of a horizontal matter-antimatter reaction assembly and a vertical intermix chamber.
New also was the installment of the double photon torpedo launcher with its rectangular housing in the neck of the vessel. Also, the phaser configuration was changed to channel energy though the warp core. Furthermore, the saucer section was considerably extended (almost 20 meters), while the rest of the surface remained about the same.
Major changes were made to the interior of the Constitution-class starships; many new systems were added and existing ones upgraded. Summarizing, only the internal structure of the saucer and very little of the engineering hull and neck may have survived the 2270s refit. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Command and control systems
The Constitution-class's primary command center, the main bridge, was located on top of the vessel's primary hull, on Deck 1. From here, the commanding officer supervised the entire starship's operation.
The command chair was located in the recessed area at the center of the room, in a direct line with the main viewer. This position was equidistant from all the control consoles that operated specific areas of the ship. Consequently, the captain could be immediately updated on the condition of the vessel or its crew during missions, and orders could be given clearly with a minimum of effort.
The chair was mounted on a circular pillar, attached to a rectangular footplate that was directly anchored to the deck, giving it considerable support during an attack. It was designed to swivel on the support so that the captain could turn to any member of the bridge crew.
Piloting and navigation functions were carried out at the helm console, located in the center of the room, positioned in front of the command chair. This panel consisted of three main sections.
On the left was a compartment which opened automatically to permit operation of the targeting scanner. Next to this was the main control panel, which operated maneuvering thrusters, impulse engines, and fired the ship's weapons. Directly below this panel was a row of eight flip-switches provided to set warp flight speeds.
The central section of the conn panel was fitted with a number of sensor monitor lights, and was dominated by two main features: the alert indicator and the astrogator, which was used for long-range course plotting.The navigator's station had a control panel for entering course and heading data and the flight path indicator, and supplied information on any deviations or course corrections in progress. It also had controls for the weapons systems.
Other stations on the bridge were provided for communications, engineering, weapons control, gravity control, damage control, environmental engineering, science and library computer, and internal security. All stations were normally manned at all times.Mounted into the room's forward bulkhead was the main viewscreen. Visual sensor pickups located at various points on the Constitution-class' outer hull were capable of image magnification and allowed a varied choice of viewing angles.
Only one turbolift serviced the bridge of the original configuration Constitution-class ship. In the late 2260s, some were refit with a second lift on the port forward section of the bridge. (TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star") After the major refit in the early 2270s, the bridge aboard Constitution-class vessels would continue to utilize two turbolifts, but both would be located behind the command chair. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
The bridge of the Constitution-class starships were subject to many minor and major cosmetic changes over their many years of service. In particular, the main bridge of the USS Enterprise seems to have undergone considerable changes in appearance. In the late 2260s, along with the added turbolift, the bridge design changed from a segmented flat-panel peripheral station configuration to a completely circular design, including curved overhead view screens, and railings and steps which matched the arc of the circumference. At the same time, an automatic bridge defense system was also installed that obscured the translucent overhead dome, which would not return until the Galaxy class bridge. (TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star") This marked the beginning of major changes to come which would utilize the updated substructure, most notably, its systems were fully upgraded along with the refit of the early 2270s. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
The bridge underwent only a few minor modifications from that point until the destruction of the ship in 2285. The bridge of the USS Enterprise-A, commissioned one year later (in 2286), had mainly cosmetic differences at launch, but, by 2287, it had been drastically upgraded to reflect the advances made in computer control technology.
The bridge module had again been replaced by 2293. The lighter color scheme of the original Enterprise-A bridges had made room for a darker, more militaristic look. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
The Constitution-class of starships has been fitted with both lithium and dilithium reactor circuits in the warp drive assembly over its service lifetime. The vessel's standard cruising speed was warp 6, while its maximum cruising speed was warp 8. Warp 9 was also possible for this class of starship, although it was highly discouraged because it was an unsafe velocity.
The USS Enterprise was twice modified to achieve a speed of warp 11. The probe Nomad increased the ship's engine efficiency by 57% in 2267, allowing the ship to reach warp 11, but Kirk persuaded Nomad to reverse its "repairs" because the ship's structure could not stand the stress of that much power, and would eventually destroy the ship. (TOS: "The Changeling")
More extensive modifications made to the ship by the Kelvans in 2268, who were able to produce velocities that were far beyond the reach of Federation science, allowing the Enterprise to safely maintain a cruising speed of warp 11 while traveling through the intergalactic void. (TOS: "By Any Other Name")
The maximum warp speed recorded for this class by itself was warp 14.1, achieved by the Enterprise due to sabotage to the vessel's warp drive system. While the ship itself was not structured to take that speed for any length of time, the Enterprise was able to maintain that velocity for nearly 15 minutes. (TOS: "That Which Survives")
Following the 2270s refit of the class, the Constitution was equipped with a linear dilithium-controlled MARA (Matter/Antimatter Reactor Assembly), and a pulse dilithium-controlled assembly was installed by the mid 2290s aboard the USS Enterprise. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
The Constitution-class' impulse drive system was a twin-port fusion reactor engine, capable of velocities at least 0.8c. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) A fusion explosion equivalent to at least 97.835 megatons would result if the impulse engines were overloaded. (TOS: "The Doomsday Machine")
Main engineering was from where the ship's warp was controlled. All thrust and power systems were primarily controlled from this site, and it is also where the main dilithium crystal reactor was located. Life support was controlled separately from Deck 6. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer", "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Naked Time", "The Enemy Within", "The Conscience of the King", and more)
Main engineering was lodged on Decks 14 and 15. Deck 14 was the uppermost level of the engineering hull, and was the anchoring framework for the connecting dorsal and the warp nacelle pylons.
On the forward end of the deck was the engineering computer monitoring room, which encircled the cortical intermix shaft and opens, to the rear, into the engineering computer bay.
Deck 15 housed the main engineering room. Located in the center of the room, and extending for many levels both above and below the deck, was the vertical linear intermix chamber. This complex, radically new design in intermix technology, provided operational power for the impulse drive system and furnished enough additional energy to power all other shipboard systems.
Both matter and antimatter for this chamber were contained in a series of magnetic bottles, which were housed in pods at the base of the intermix shaft. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
During the early 2250s, Constitution-class heavy cruisers were armed with a complement of directed energy weapons, that possessed enough power to destroy half a continent in a concentrated bombardment. In addition, these vessels carried on board laser cannons, capable of operating on energy fed remotely from the ship. (TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")
By 2266, phaser banks were standard complement aboard this class of ship. A bank actually consisted of a single emitter and its power supply, though it was common practice to fire two banks at a time and refer to it as a single firing. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Doomsday Machine", "The Paradise Syndrome")
Ship-mounted phaser banks had a range of approximately 90,000 kilometers, and like hand phasers, were capable of being adjusted to stun, heat, or disintegrate visible targets, including objects or beings in space or on a planet's surface at a focus ranging from narrow to wide beam. When only motion sensor readings are available, ships' phasers could be set for proximity blast and bracket the approximate coordinates of the target. (TOS: "Balance of Terror", "A Piece of the Action", "Who Mourns for Adonais?", "The Paradise Syndrome", "The Tholian Web")
In the original configuration, a battery of four to eight forward phaser banks were located on the lower part of the ventral side of the saucer section. Aft firing banks were located above the shuttlebay on the secondary hull. There were also port, starboard and midship phasers. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II"; TOS: "Balance of Terror", "The Paradise Syndrome", "Arena", "Friday's Child").
The Constitution-class originally mounted at least six torpedo launchers, one tube covering the aft firing arc. Forward tubes were located in the same area as the forward phaser banks. The aft tube fired from the end of the secondary hull. This combined arsenal was powerful enough to destroy the entire surface of a planet. (TOS: "Arena", "A Taste of Armageddon", "Journey to Babel"; TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles"; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")
After the refit of the 2270s, Constitution-class ships mounted three dual-emitter phaser banks on the ventral and three on dorsal faces of the saucer. They covered the forward, port and starboard flanks. Two single emitter aft banks are above the shuttlebay and four midship single emitter banks are located on the ventral surface of the engineering hull.
Phaser power was increased by drawing energy directly from the warp drive. This increase in firepower had a drawback in that the phasers would be cut off if the main reactor was off line. This problem hampered the USS Enterprise on at least two occasions, one in 2272 and again in 2283.
The post-refit vessels had two forward firing torpedo launchers, though each tube could fire at least two torpedoes before reloading. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
Extravehicular transporter to and from the ship was accomplished by a number of transporter systems, which allowed personnel or equipment to be transported over large ranges. The transporter platform featured six pads, which were numbered clockwise, beginning with the right front. A redesigned field generator matrix was mounted into the rear wall of the chamber aboard the refit configuration Constitution-class starships.
Aboard the refitted Constitution-class vessels, the transporter operator stood within an enclosed control pod, which had a floor-to-ceiling transparent aluminum panel through which he or she could view the transport platform. This panel served to shield the operator from the effects of any cumulative radiations emitted by the new transporter machinery, a side effect of the more powerful system.
A door in the standard transporter room wall led to a staging area where landing parties prepared for transporter.
Refit Constitution-class starships possessed a number of airlocks permitting direct physical access to the ship. One was located at the aft of Deck 1 on top of the saucer section. Two more were located in the lower saucer section, port and starboard, concealed by sliding hull plates. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
These lower two are accessed through staging areas. Four spacesuit lockers line one wall; each containing one suit, providing enough to clothe a standard party of four. A small, locked arms cabinet held phasers; communicators, tricorders, translators, and outerwear were contained in a separate cabinet on another wall. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
The next set of airlocks were located on the port and starboard sides of the torpedo bays. The final set were located on the port and starboard sides of the secondary hull at the midline. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) These airlocks opened into the ship's main cargo bay. There was also a "gangway"-style airlock on the port edge of the saucer section. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Located on the upper surface of the saucer section of the refitted Enterprise were numerous small hatches used for entrance/egress during extra-vehicular activities. (Kirk, Spock, Decker, McCoy, and the Ilia probe use one of these hatches to leave the ship when they arrive at V'Gers "core".) (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Landing bay and cargo facilities
Deck 17 was the main access level of the engineering hull. The aft landing bay provided personnel in small craft with a means of entering or exiting the vessel, as did docking port on either side of the level.
Alcoves on either side of the landing bay provided storage for up to six standard Work Bees, and furnished all necessary recharging and refueling equipment. Additional space was available for the storage of non-ship shuttlecraft.
Just within the landing bay doors was a force field generator unit, which was built into the main bulkheads on either side of the entry area. This field allowed craft to enter the ship, while at the same time retaining the atmosphere and temperature within the landing bay.
Deck 18, the refit configuration shuttlecraft hanger bay, was situated at the widest point of the engineering hull. Much of the deck consisted of open space, as it was the mid-level of the cargo facility; thirty-two cargo pod modules could be stored in the alcoves lining the forward, port, and starboard sides of the bay.
The shuttle hangar had sufficient room for the storage of four craft at any given time. During normal storage situations, these shuttlecraft faced aft.
This deck also housed the vessel's lifeboat facilities. These one-man craft, which escaped through blow-away panels in the side of the secondary hull, were provided for those persons were unable to reach the primary hull in case of an emergency. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Crew support systems
On the original Constitution-class starships, a sickbay facility was located on Deck 6, which featured an examination room, a nursery, the chief medical officer's office and a medical lab. At least one other medical lab was located elsewhere on the vessel, and was used for biopsy, among other things. Sickbay was considered the safest place to be on the ship during combat. (TOS: "The Naked Time", "Elaan of Troyius")
With the class refit of the 2270s, the medical facilities of the Constitution-class starship were considerably updated. New micro-diagnostic tables were capable of fully analyzing the humanoid body at the sub-cellular level, offering the physician a total understanding of the patient's status.
Another new addition was a medical stasis unit, in which patients whose conditions were considered immediately life-threatening could be placed into suspended animation until the proper cure or surgical procedure could be established. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Crew quarters were located throughout the saucer section – keeping with Starfleet tradition, Deck 5 housed the senior officers' quarters. On the refit configuration vessels, these staterooms were quite similar to the VIP units on Deck 4, with only a few differences.
On starships of the original configuration, the officers' quarters featured two areas, separated partly by a wall fragment. One area was allocated as sleeping area, featuring a comfortable bed, and another as work area, including a desk and computer terminal. Entrance to a bathroom was provided through the quarter's sleeping area. Both areas could be configured to personal preference. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II"; TOS: "The Enemy Within")
On Constitution-class vessels of the staterooms of the senior officers were composed of two areas which were separated by a retractable, transparent aluminum partition. The room's entrance opened into the living area. A library computer terminal and work desk were provided here. The room's corner circular nook, normally occupied by a dining booth, could be modified at the officer's request.
The other half of the stateroom was a sleeping area, which held a single large bed that could double as sofa during off-duty relaxation. A transparent door led into the bathroom area. By the 2290s, crew space was at a premium, and the size of officers' quarters was reduced to one large room and crewmen were housed in dormitories with bunk beds. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Aboard the original Constitution-class starships, there were at least six recreation rooms, which included three-dimensional chess and card game tables. There was also a holographic rec room, which was the predecessor of the holodeck. Also aboard were as arboretum, gymnasium, a bowling alley, a theater, and a chapel. (TOS: "Charlie X", "The Naked Time", "The Conscience of the King"; Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
On the refitted Constitution-class vessels, recreational facilities were further expanded. One large room in the aft section of the starship's saucer section furnished off-duty personnel with a wide variety of recreational games and entertainment.
At the front of the room was an immense, wall-mounted viewing screen. Beneath this was an information display alcove; five small screens exhibited, upon request, a choice of pictorial histories. A raised platform in the center of the lower level floor featured a diversity of electronic entertainment. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Located at the stern of Deck 2 aboard the refit configuration Constitution-class starship was the officers' lounge. Here, four huge view ports afforded a spectacular view of the ship's warp nacelles and space beyond.
To the sides, small plant areas held flora from several worlds and a small pool featured freshwater tropical fish. Just forward of this section of the lounge were two privacy areas. In each privacy area, a view screen was mounted into the wall, providing a full exterior tour of the vessel. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
- USS Constellation (NCC-1017)
- USS Intrepid (NCC-1631)
- USS Potemkin (NCC-1657)
- USS Excalibur (NCC-1664)
- USS Exeter (NCC-1672)
- USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
- USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A)
- USS Hood (NCC-1703)
- USS Lexington (NCC-1709)
- USS Defiant (NCC-1764)3
- ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701) (in the mirror universe)
- USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) (in at least one alternate timeline)
- USS Eagle (NCC-956)
- USS Republic (NCC-1371)
- USS Scovil (NCC-1598)
- USS Kongo (NCC-1710)
- USS Merrimac (NCC-1715)
- USS Emden (NCC-1856)
- USS Endeavour (NCC-1895)
- USS Challenger (NCC-2032)
- USS Ahwahnee (NCC-2048)
- USS Farragut
- USS Yorktown5
The Constitution-class Enterprise appeared in every episode of TOS and TAS (except for "The Slaver Weapon"). TOS episodes featuring other Constitution-class vessels besides Enterprise are listed below.
- Star Trek films:
- VOY: "In the Flesh" (wall display, original and refit)
While probably discussed or originated in behind-the-scenes proposals and communications, the name "Constitution-class" originated in canon productions only as an unreadable graphic on a computer screen of a phaser diagram from Scotty's technical journal, in TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles". Authors of reference works such as the Star Fleet Technical Manual were privy to the fact that Enterprise herself was Constitution-class, even though it had never been mentioned in dialog or been readable on screen. Technical Manual drawings by Franz Joseph with the class name appeared on screen, again mostly unreadable, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. These were the first occasions a canonical production assigned the Constitution name to the class design of the Enterprise. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home assigned this class name to the refit Enterprise as well, although some production staff previously and, apparently, unofficially called that design Template:ShipClass. The name Enterprise-class was also used in reference to the refitted Enterprise and the Enterprise-A in Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise. However, that particular book is not considered canonical. The class name wasn't mentioned in dialog until 1987's Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Naked Now". The name has been mentioned numerous times and been more prominently visible in later series and episodes referencing ships of the TOS and movies design.
Jefferies was also responsible for the famous registry number NCC 1701. As he explains:"Since the 1920's, N has indicated the United States in Navy terms, and C means 'commercial' vessel. I added an extra C just for fun. Interestingly, Russia's designation is CCC. So The N and C together made it kind of international. After that, I had to pick some numbers. They had to be easily identifiable from a distance, so that eliminated 3, 8 , 6, 9 and 4-none of which is that clear from a distance, That didn't leave much! So 1701 was as good a choice as any. The reason we gave for the choice afterwards was that the "Enterprise" was the 17th major design of the Federation, and the first in the series. 17-01!".(Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, page 62). "(...)which, incidentally and coincidentally, happens to be very close to the licence number on my airplane-NC-17740. But I have never really stepped out and squashed the rumor that the number on the "Enterprise" came off my airplane."(Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, page 26)
Designing the bridge
Concerning the design of the Enterprise's bridge, Jefferies explained: "It was pretty well established with the model that the thing was going to be in a full circle. From there it became a question of how we were going to make it, how it could come apart, where the cameraman could get into it."
"I decided that the crewman would work like in the navy, so often would be on for four hours, off eight hours, and it had better be comfortable. The switches would all be so that the crewman doesn't have to reach for anything. Each of the viewing screens would be at right-angles to his eyes, and we drew a full size section of the bridge that way. I wanted an all-black instrument panel that would light up from behind which is pretty much what we came up with. I did all of the artwork on each one of the instruments, and got the negative, put the color on the negative and mounted 'em under black glass. I was still assembling those things on one side of the bridge when they were shooting the other side..."
One issue with the bridge design is the single offset turbolift. The location does not line up with the Enterprise model, which shows a turbolift alcove directly behind the main bridge. According to Jeffries, this offset placement was necessary to allow characters to walk onto the bridge and photographed without being blocked by actors sitting in the command chair.
Jeffries also mentioned that Spock's sensor hood is a tip of the hat to early radar used by World War II battleships. Ambient room light would wash out the weak signals of early radar imagery, so hoods were used to cover radar screens. Because modern radar imagery is brighter, viewing hoods are no longer needed.
William Shatner, director on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, had been so impressed with Herman Zimmerman's work on The Next Generation as production designer that he hired Zimmerman to upgrade the Enterprise interiors for the film. Hence, the upgraded bridge from the movie resembles the bright atmosphere portrayed in The Nex Generation. For Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, however, the bridge was once more redesigned to reflect director Nicholas Meyer's more militaristic approach on Star Trek.
Designing the Motion Picture Enterprise interiors
One of Andrew Probert's key concerns as production illustrator on The Motion Picture was that the sets built somehow conformed to the structure of the starship they were supposed to exist within. Here we see Probert's development sketches for an officer's lounge in the saucer section's upper dome. Probert's concept art was, however, not used for the movie, and a much cheaper set was constructed for the scene.
Probert's main contribution for the Enterprise interior came in the form of the vessel's cargo deck, thoughts on which had already been visualized by veteran Mike Minor, before Probert had a chance to address it. Minor worked at the Paramount lot, while Probert was at the Robert Abel special effects facility designing various pieces of space hardware.
The thinking, then at Paramount under production designer Harold Michelson, was that the cargo bay would be a space 30 feet high that had two walls with twelve holes containing cargo pods. Mike Minor's cargo deck design shows us cargo pods simply stacked or lined up on the deck, leaving a huge open and unused space above. The walkways along the sides were also rather old fashioned looking.
The image to the right shows the plate of the cargo deck scene, filmed from Kirk's perspective as he enters the new Enterprise. What Andrew Probert was required to do was to get a frame of plate film and have it printed at a pre-determined size. Part of this frame, required for the live action elements, would be cut out and pasted to a piece of illustration board. The remaining blank board, intended to be the matte, would then be painted around that piece, blending the two together.
Following a discussion with Douglas Trumbull examining the logic of the early cargo deck concepts, this elevation sketch of the Enterprise was drawn by Andrew Probert upon Trumbull's question how the pods would get in and out of the cargo deck. What Probert proposed was that the landing bay and cargo deck be connected, allowing the easy passage of cargo trains.
The idea was that shuttles would normally take off from and land in the landing bay. They then could be lowered to the Hanger Bay level, or lowered another level to shuttle maintenance. A multi-paneled two-story door, between the elevators and cargo bay, has been opened to the sides allowing the transfer of cargo.
The design was used in the next five films as the Enterprise and the Enterprise NCC-1701-A. It was intended to reveal in Star Trek: The First Adventure that the familar design was a refit: originally the Enterprise had no secondary hull, and bore a striking similarity to an Template:ShipClass ship.
- A saucer separation, as suggested in the original script of TOS episode "The Apple" but was not produced due to budgeting, has been depicted in the DC Comics Star Trek: Debt of Honor. Here Kirk used "explosive bolts" to sever the connection between the saucer module and the engineering section of the USS Farragut. The same trick was used again in the DC Comics Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Saga, where Kirk and his crew escaped the self-destruction of the ISS Enterprise's engineering section in a last-minute separation. Another Constitution-class ship, the USS Confederate, was shown operating without its saucer section in Marvel Comics Star Trek Unlimited Issue 4; after the crew abandoned the engineering hull via saucer separation due to a failure in an experimental propulsion system upgrade. In the early drafts of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the Enterprise was to separate the saucer. The 2006 Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendar includes a picture of a separated Constitution-class ship, engaging Klingons – or possibly a Klingon ship flown by the Romulans – in battle.
- Another saucer separation sequence was envisioned by Andrew Probert in 1978 when the script for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was in flux. During a lull in script development Probert came up with an alternative scene in which V'Ger releases a Klingon battle cruiser. Upon re-materialization the Klingons true to their nature immediately attack the Enterprise. During the battle Kirk is forced to a perform a maneuver akin to Riker's in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". Douglas Trumbull liked the idea and had Probert draw up color story-boards to show the sequence. Some of the story-boards are published in Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 22, page 132 and in The Art of Star Trek. pages 198-199.
- A definite saucer separation was depicted in the fan film production of Starship Exeter, Episode 2,"The Tressaurian Intersection" where the crew of the USS Exeter (NCC-1672) (here as NCC-1706 as per Franz Joseph's Technical Manual) finds the saucer section of the USS Kongo crashed on Corinth IV. Later on they find the stardrive section which they are forced to destroy in order to prevent the ship falling into enemy hands.
Although not considered canon, several sources have produced a long list of Constitution-class starships. The main source was Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual, which listed over 100 Constitution-class ships divided into sub-classes: Constitution, Bonhomme Richard, Achernar and Tikopai. Ships of the class were later expanded by other publications such as Ships of the Star Fleet which included the Endeavour, Enterprise, and Enterprise (II) sub-classes.
- Constitution-class ships:
- USS Constitution (NCC-1700)
- USS Constellation (NCC-1017)
- USS Republic (NCC-1371)
- USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
- USS Farragut (NCC-1702)
- USS Lexington (NCC-1703)
- USS Yorktown (NCC-1704)
- USS Excalibur (NCC-1705)
- USS Exeter (NCC-1706)
- USS Hood (NCC-1707)
- USS Intrepid (NCC-1708)
- USS Valiant (NCC-1709)
- USS Kongo (NCC-1710)
- USS Potemkin (NCC-1711)
- USS Bonhomme Richard (NCC-1712)
- USS Monitor (NCC-1713)
- USS Hornet (NCC-1714)
- USS Merrimac (NCC-1715)
- USS Endeavour (NCC-1716)
- USS Defiant (NCC-1717)2
- USS Excelsior (NCC-1718)
- USS Eagle (NCC-1719)
- USS Lafayette (NCC-1720)
- USS Wasp (NCC-1721)
- USS El Dorado (NCC-1722)
- USS Ari (NCC-1723)
- USS Saratoga (NCC-1724)
- USS Tori (NCC-1725)
- USS Krieger (NCC-1726)
- USS Essex (NCC-1727)
- USS Truxton (NCC-1728)
- USS Confiance (NCC-1729)
- USS Bunker Hill (NCC-1730)
- USS La Vengeance (NCC-1731)
- USS Achernar (NCC-1732)
- USS Sol (NCC-1733)
- USS Jupiter (NCC-1734)
- USS Rigel Kentaurus (NCC-1735)
- USS Quindar (NCC-1736)
- USS Proxima (NCC-1737)
- USS Androcus (NCC-1738)
- USS Astrad (NCC-1739)
- USS Mondoloy (NCC-1740)
- USS Alfr (NCC-1741)
- USS Thelonii (NCC-1742)
- USS Xanthii (NCC-1743)
- USS Sirius (NCC-1744)
- The Constitution-class was present in the alternate Star Fleet Universe, where it served as the backbone of Starfleet from its inception in the Y120s to the advent of the General War and the related deployment of the Chicago-class New Heavy Cruiser. In the Star Fleet Universe, the Constitution design is descended from the Republic-class cruiser, the first in that universe's Federation fleet to possess the saucer and nacelle configuration. (Some of the older ships were refitted into Constitution-class ships over time, while others became part of the Federation National Guard, protecting the major member worlds.) In time, the advent of more advanced technology resurrected the ship design through the Vincennes-class vessels, a parallel evolution to that seen in the change from the TOS-era Enterprise to the TMP ship design. Notably, a number of the ships referred to in the original series (such as the Hood and the Excalibur) or listed in the Technical Manual (such as the Kongo) are expanded upon in the Star Fleet Universe – but due to the licensing restrictions under which ADB operate, the Enterprise herself is not detailed, though her registry is included.
- Constitution-class vessels are prominently featured in fan film productions like Star Trek: Phase II, Starship Exeter, Starship Farragut and Of Gods and Men.
- The Constitution class (having undergone many refits) is still in service in 2409, as a cruiser, for Star Trek Online. The ship largely retains the hull configuration of the Motion Picture refit, with some stylistic differences. The class has also inspired two 24th/25th century successors: the Excalibur and Vesper classes.
1 "Starship"-class: If you read the dedication plaque on the bridge of the original Enterprise, it was actually listed as "Starship Class". The term "Constitution-class" came later, probably from "Space Seed" and "The Trouble with Tribbles", where the display that Scotty is reading shows a phaser bank diagram for a "Constitution-class" starship (according to an article by Greg Jein in a 1975 fanzine, that artwork also appeared in earlier episodes). Though it was "understood" to have been Constitution-class by both production staff, the first time it was actually referred to as such was by Captain Jean-Luc Picard in TNG: "The Naked Now". In "In a Mirror, Darkly" the Dedication plaque of the USS Defiant (NCC-1764) clearly states that she belongs to the Constitution-class (In "The Tholian Web", the plaque, which was of course Enterprises, could not be seen due to deliberate camera angles). Not being one of the ships listed in the original final names list (The Making of Star Trek, page 165) used by the production team of TOS, and although not being canon, this suggested two things; Firstly Starfleet changed its nomenclature from Starship-class to Constitution-class during the run of TOS and secondly, the Defiant belonged to a later batch of Constitutions (supported by the fact she has the highest registry number of all the definitively established Constitutions). Commissioned somewhere during TOS, she therefore had an unfortunately short career (at least in Trek's prime universe).
2 There may only be twelve Constitution-class ships as of "Tomorrow is Yesterday", but the line this is drawn from ("there are only twelve like it in the fleet") possibly suggests that the Enterprise should be excluded from the count, meaning there could be thirteen Constitution-class ships as of that date. It also may or may not exclude ships that were no longer in the fleet due to destruction or other reasons. However, The Making of Star Trek clearly states that at the time of the series' production, the intent was that there were only twelve ships, the Enterprise included. Or, this maybe just a reference to twelve other ships of that type; given that many variants of one ship can exist at the same time.
3 The Star Fleet Technical Manual lists the Defiant as NCC-1717, although it was labeled on screen as NCC-1764.
- Registry numbers: Although the Star Trek Encyclopedia and other references provide complete registry numbers for many Constitution-class ships, these numbers are at best conjecture. Many of the Encyclopedia's numbers were derived from Greg Jein's "The Case of Jonathan Doe Starship," which assumed that the list seen on the wall at Starbase 11 in "Court Martial" were all Constitutions. That being said, once TOS remastered came along, Michael Okuda made use of the opportunity to marry the majority of Jein's conjectural registry numbers to their respective ship names, thereby elevating conjecture to canon.
4 Uncertain ships: These ships have been listed in various references as Constitutions, but were never seen on screen as such, and are therefore of uncertain class.
5 USS Yorktown: Gene Roddenberry suggested that the USS Enterprise-A was first designated as USS Yorktown, and later recommissioned as USS Enterprise-A, probably because Yorktown was one of the names for the ship being considered when TOS was going into production. Roddenberry felt that it would have been very unlikely that a brand new ship would have been constructed so fast after the destruction of the original Enterprise. Would this had become canon, the Yorktown would have been definitively been established as a Constitution-class vessel. This practice of Starfleet renaming a vessel for a very deserving other vessel was later established in DS9, when the USS Sao Paulo was rechristened USS Defiant as the latter was destroyed in the Dominion War.
- On a side note; The World War 2 carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), after which Roddenberry named the NCC 1701, was a sister ship of the USS Yorktown (CV-5), belonging to the same "Yorktown"-class (the other one being the USS Hornet (CV-8), a name also considered by the aforementioned staff in an earlier draft of the names list. (The making of Star Trek, page 164)
- Designing the Enterprise at Forgotten Trek - about Matt Jefferies' design of the Enterprise for The Original Series
- Designing the Starship Enterprise at Federation Starship Datalink
- Redesigning the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 at Federation Starship Datalink
- Redesigning the Enterprise at Forgotten Trek - about the design of the refit Enterprise for The Motion Picture
- Template:Exastris: analysis of the several modifications performed on the Constitution class
- Constitution class at Wikipedia
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