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NX alpha

NX-Alpha over Earth

The NX-Alpha was one of three test vehicles, along with the NX-Beta and NX-Delta, used in Starfleet's NX Project, the effort to test and refine the warp five engine designed by Henry Archer.

Several commanders in Starfleet competed to be chosen as the first to fly the NX-Alpha in the effort to break the warp 2 barrier. After several weeks, it became clear the competition was down to Jonathan Archer, Henry Archer's son, and A.G. Robinson. Although Archer had logged more flight hours in the simulator, Commodore Forrest selected Commander Robinson.

NX alpha cockpit

Cockpit of the NX-Alpha

NX alpha destruction

The destruction of NX-Alpha

In 2143, Commander Robinson flew the NX-Alpha while Commander Archer monitored from Starfleet Command. Initially, there was an imbalance in the power systems, causing them to keep the NX-Alpha in orbit. When they finally gave him the okay, Robinson jumped to warp 1.

The ship successfully attained warp 2, but the power systems began rapidly overloading. Command ordered him to drop to sublight, but Robinson believed it could be pushed a little further. After attaining warp 2.2, the NX-Alpha broke up just outside of orbit of Jupiter. Luckily, Robinson was able to eject in an escape pod that was retrieved and brought back to Earth.

Afterward, the Vulcan Advisory Council insisted on pausing the program until the Human scientists could figure out what had gone wrong, and run more simulations. Robinson told the inquiry that it was a design flaw in the engine, although Commander Archer and Lieutenant Charles Tucker asserted that it was actually pilot error. The results of the NX-Alpha's mission eventually led to the unapproved flight of the NX-Beta. (ENT: "First Flight")

The command module of the NX-Alpha (identical to that of the NX-Beta) was a redressed version of the Phoenix's command module from Star Trek: First Contact.
NX Alpha model

A model of the NX-Alpha

In 2259 of the alternate reality, a small model of this ship was displayed on Admiral Marcus' desk, together with other historical spacecraft. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

The Artisan prop and model shop of Quantum Mechanix, QMx FX Cinema Arts, was asked to illustrate the history of space flight with models for the film. They constructed fourteen models in total. On their website, there was a picture of the NX-Alpha model. [1]

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