Construction of the Nebula-class was spearheaded under the authority of the Yoyodyne Division, and ranged in construction dates from as early as 2363 to as late as 2367. Vessels including USS Phoenix and USS Sutherland were constructed at this time at both the 40 Eridani A Starfleet Construction Yards and later the San Francisco Fleet Yards, orbiting Earth. (TNG: "The Wounded", "Redemption II" dedication plaques)
The mission profile of the Nebula-class varied from performing various scientific and exploratory roles to conducting patrol and transport duties. (DS9: "Second Sight", "Explorers"; TNG: "Brothers" set artwork; TNG: "Sarek", "The Game")
The Nebula-class was present in several major Federation engagements against the Borg, including the Battle of Wolf 359 and the Battle of Sector 001. (DS9: "Emissary"; Star Trek: First Contact) They were also present in numerous Dominion War battles, including the Second Battle of Chin'toka and Battle of Cardassia. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil", "What You Leave Behind"). A Nebula class starship, the USS Farragut (NCC-60597) was sent to transport the crew of the Enterprise off a planet after the saucer section crash-landed due to a battle with a Klingon vessel (Star Trek Generations).
The Nebula-class was composed of two hull sections; the saucer-shaped primary hull mounted atop the secondary hull, with two warp nacelles mounted on either side of the secondary hull, directly below the primary hull. (TNG: "The Wounded", etc.)
Atop the primary hull was a superstructure which could support a variety of modules, such as the inclusion of a triangular platform, fitted with torpedo launchers, an oval platform, or additional warp nacelles. (TNG: "Redemption II", "The Wounded", "Unification I")
The Nebula-class was equipped with "a huge arsenal", at least according to Cardassian Gul Macet, which included multiple phaser banks and torpedo launchers. The Nebula-class had a maximum effective weapons range that exceeded 300,000 kilometers. (TNG: "The Wounded")
The typical offensive arsenal of the Nebula-class included a torpedo launcher located on the secondary hull above the deflector dish, and on some variants, a torpedo launcher located on the superstructure located above the primary hull. (Star Trek: First Contact; TNG: "Redemption II") Phaser positions included the forward-most part of the primary hull, and on the secondary hull, below the deflector dish. (VOY: "Non Sequitur", "Message in a Bottle", "Endgame"; DS9: "Emissary")
While considered more than a match for a Cardassian supply ship, the Nebula-class was also capable of successfully withstanding a direct hit from a Cardassian warship, as a result of an unshielded attack. (TNG: "The Wounded") They were, however, unable to single-handedly withstand an assault from a wing of Cardassian destroyers. (DS9: "Waltz")
Some Nebula-class starships, including the Phoenix, used a "high-energy sensor sweep" that cycled every 5.5 minutes. Between each of those cycles, a "window" of a fiftieth of a second would open, requiring the ship's shields to be realigned. (TNG: "The Wounded")
The engines of a Nebula-class needed to operate with a mixture above ninety percent in order to successfully leave orbit of a planet. Additionally, the starboard power coupling was located adjacent to decks ten through twelve. (TNG: "Redemption II")
In 2370, the theoretical maximum speed for the warp drive of Nebula-class starships, including the USS Prometheus was warp 9.5. When fine-tuned, the warp drive could be pushed to warp 9.6. (DS9: "Second Sight") By 2374, the USS Bonchune was able to pursue and catch the USS Prometheus, which was traveling at warp 9.9. (VOY: "Message in a Bottle")
Nebula-class starships were equipped with a variety of auxiliary craft, including the Type 6 and Type 7 shuttlecraft, as well as the smaller Type 15 shuttlepod, and other large shuttlecraft. (DS9: "Waltz", "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night", "Tears of the Prophets", "Second Sight"; Star Trek Generations)
- USS Bellerophon (NCC-62048)
- USS Bonchune (NCC-70915)
- USS Farragut (NCC-60597)
- USS Honshu (NCC-60205)
- USS Leeds (NCC-70352)
- USS Lexington
- USS Merrimac (NCC-61827)
- USS Monitor (NCC-61826)
- USS Phoenix (NCC-65420)
- USS Prometheus (NCC-71201)
- USS Sutherland (NCC-72015)
- USS T'Kumbra
- "The Nagus" (model)
- "Second Sight"
- "The Way of the Warrior" (model)
- "The Visitor"
- "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"
- "Favor the Bold" (display graphic)
- "Sacrifice of Angels"
- "The Reckoning"
- "Profit and Lace"
- "Take Me Out to the Holosuite"
- "The Changing Face of Evil"
- "What You Leave Behind"
- In addition to the episode-specific appearances above, the Nebula-class, in the form of the USS Leeds, appears in every title sequence of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from "The Way of the Warrior" to "What You Leave Behind".
- Star Trek films:
Aside from the dedication plaque reference in "Redemption II" and "Second Sight", the Nebula-class was referred to by name in "The Wounded", and "Non Sequitur". It was additionally referred to by name in the script notes for "Redemption II".
- see main article: Nebula-class model
The following information of specifications and defenses comes exclusively from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual:
- Production Base: ASDB Integration Facility, Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, Mars
- Type: Explorer
- Accommodation: 750 officers and crew; 130 visiting personnel; 9,800 personal evacuation limit
- Power Plant: One 1,500 plus Cochrane warp core feeding two nacelles; one impulse system
- Dimensions: Length, 442.23 meters; beam, 318.11 meters; height: 130.43 meters
- Mass: 3,309,000 metric tonnes
- Performance: Warp 9.6 for 12 hours (STD); warp 9.9 for 12 hours (UPRTD)
- Armament: Eight type-10 phaser emitters; two photon torpedo launchers
- A cross section and overview of the ship is given in issue 154 of Star Trek: Communicator, particularly focusing on the "USS Nebula (NCC-60147)." The cross section shows that the ship is capable of saucer separation, has eight type-X phaser arrays and three photon torpedo launchers, and a mass of 3,309,000 metric tonnes. One inconsistency among the graphics has the registry number "NCC-60000" on the nacelle wing. All artwork used was provided by Tim Earls.
- In the video games Star Trek: Armada and Star Trek: Armada II, the Nebula-class is depicted as a "science ship"; that is, it has four special weapons where other ship classes have just one. The special weapons allow the Nebula-class to disrupt enemy shields, destroy incoming torpedoes, temporarily duplicate an allied ship, or send an engineering team to an allied ship or station to repair its systems.
- In the video game Star Trek: Bridge Commander, there are four Nebula-class vessels. Three of these, the USS Nightingale, USS Khitomer and USS Berkeley, appear to be made specifically for the game and do not appear anywhere in Star Trek canon. The fourth Nebula-class vessel featured in the game is actually a canon ship, the USS Prometheus (NCC-71201), though it is the only one that doesn't play an important role in the game.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation - Birth of the Federation the Nebula class is the Strike Cruiser of the Federation; a short range combat vessel mostly intended for planetary bombardment.
- In Star Trek Online, the Nebula-class is an "advanced research science vessel" available to players ranked Commander or higher, that can create tachyon detection fields and grids which boost stealth detection and sensor abilities.