Cryonics satellite

An ancient cryonics satellite

Cryonics satellite, interior

Corridor containing cryogenic crypts

Cryonics satellites were used by Humans in the late 20th century to cryogenically preserve individuals who had passed away. They were equipped with solar panels, and divided into four interior sections. They held several cryogenically frozen Humans that had died of causes that the Humans believed would be treatable in the future.

One such satellite, launched in the late 20th century, had drifted out of Earth's orbit over the years, and by 2364 it had strayed into the Kazis binary system. Most of the cryogenic chambers on this satellite had been damaged, so only three of the passengers were viable when the USS Enterprise-D discovered it in 2364: Clare Raymond, Sonny Clemonds, and Ralph Offenhouse. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone")

The satellite was identified only as "an ancient capsule" or "space module" in the episode. Both the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 170) and the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion mention that the name S.S. Birdseye was inscribed on the hull. The topmost segment of the satellite was labeled with the registry or identification number 4077, one of the many references to M*A*S*H.
In an extended scene in the script of the episode, Worf states that, there was no way a satellite like this could have broken orbit and traveled the distance it had on its own power, even in thousands of years. They discover that the empty crypts had been forced opened and the occupants taken. To Data this suggested that, who ever took the satellite away from Earth's orbit probably learned all they could learn from those corpses and left the others behind. [1]
For more information on this studio model, see TNG studio models.

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