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|USS Biko • USS Cochrane • USS Copernicus • USS Grissom • USS Oberth • USS Pegasus • SS Tsiolkovsky • SS Vico • USS Yosemite • Unnamed|
The Copernicus was presumably named for Nicolaus Copernicus, who developed the heliocentric theory of the solar system.
The Copernicus was not identified by name on screen, but was identified by production sources. ILM's Model Shop Supervisor Jeff Mann has stated, "We had an incident in the beginning of the film, where we needed a Reliant-class [sic.], so we put a new paint job on the old Reliant model, changed a small shuttle called the Grissom to the Copernicus and we added a back half to the shuttlecraft that Scotty flew around in Star Trek: The Motion Picture." (The Making of the Trek Films, 3rd ed., p. 68)
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed, p. 471), which confirms the above information, the registry of the Copernicus was "NCC-623". However, a screen cap from the next use of the model as the SS Tsiolkovsky in TNG Remastered's "The Naked Now" clearly showed the registry to be "NCC-640", being illegible in the original airing. For the TNG Remastered edition, the number was digitally changed to match the proper number in only one shot, in all other shots, the original number still appears on the model.