In 2333, Lieutenant Commander Jean-Luc Picard served as a bridge officer on this vessel. He later described the Stargazer as an "overworked, underpowered vessel, always on the verge of flying apart at the seams." (TNG: "Relics")
When the ship's captain was killed and the first officer injured on the bridge, Picard took command of the situation, and the vessel. (TNG: "Tapestry") Starfleet Command looked so favorably on Picard's actions, that they appointed him as the vessel's new commanding officer, a post he held for twenty-two years. Picard's crew included Jack Crusher and a weapons officer named Vigo. (TNG: "The Battle")
The Stargazer saw action in the Cardassian Wars. The ship was involved in a truce offering by the Federation in sector 21503. After making contact with a Cardassian warship, Captain Picard lowered the ship's shields as a gesture of good will, but the Cardassian commander ignored the gesture and disabled the Stargazer's weapons and impulse engines. The Stargazer managed to regroup and flee. (TNG: "The Wounded")
In 2354, the Stargazer visited the planet Chalna. (TNG: "Allegiance") During the same year, Jack Crusher was killed on an away mission, forcing Picard to present Crusher's remains to his widow, Beverly. (TNG: "Tapestry", "Violations", "Encounter at Farpoint")
In 2355, the Stargazer was attacked and severely damaged by an unknown vessel in the Maxia Zeta system. Picard was able to destroy the attacking vessel, using what would later be named the Picard Maneuver. The Stargazer was overcome by fire and severe damage during the battle and had to be abandoned. The event was called the "Battle of Maxia" by the Ferengi. (TNG: "The Battle")
As the loss of a starship was a court martial offense, Picard was court-martialed for the loss of the Stargazer, zealously prosecuted by Phillipa Louvois. In the end, he was absolved of all charges. (TNG: "The Battle", "The Measure Of A Man")
In 2364, the wreck of the Stargazer was found adrift and salvaged by the Ferengi. The Ferengi DaiMon Bok desired revenge against Picard, as his son had died commanding the attacking vessel at the "Battle of Maxia". He falsified the logs of the Stargazer to indicate that it was the Stargazer that committed an unprovoked attack against the Ferengi vessel. Through the use of an illegal "thought maker", Bok caused Captain Picard to relive the day of the battle in hallucinations, supposedly as a mental breakdown after the real truth had come out. When the devices were discovered, William T. Riker was able to convince the captain to destroy the "thought maker" causing his hallucinations. The Stargazer was towed to Xendi Starbase 9. (TNG: "The Battle")
In 2365, when speaking with Guinan about her origins, Wesley Crusher said that he had heard from some of the crew that she had met Picard when he was the commanding officer of the Stargazer. Guinan replied that she didn't know the captain until she came aboard the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG: "The Child")
In 2369, Picard would look back fondly on his time commanding the Stargazer and once confided to Montgomery Scott that, even after several years of commanding the far superior USS Enterprise-D, there were still times he would give almost anything to command the Stargazer again. (TNG: "Relics")
|USS Constellation • USS Hathaway • USS Stargazer • USS Victory • NCC-7100|
A yellow painted model of the Constellation-class NCC-7100 appeared in Captain Picard's ready room aboard the USS Enterprise-D. This model was often mistakenly assumed to be of Stargazer. This mistake was perpetuated by the Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 469). As noted in other sources, the model existed before the idea of the Stargazer, and was eventually used to create the filming model.
The Stargazer was intended to be a Constitution-class vessel, the same as Captain Kirk's USS Enterprise. This was mentioned in the script by Geordi La Forge. In fact, the yellow NCC-7100 model was replaced with a silver Constitution-class model in Picard's ready room for this episode. When the Stargazer filming model was eventually designed, it was decided that a new model, derisively referred to as the "pie dish", should be used. Since LeVar Burton had already recorded his line, the name of the new ship's class had to be similar to "Constitution" to make it easy to overdub; the production crew settled on "Constellation".
The Stargazer dedication plaque was illegible on screen, and according to Doug Drexler, the plaque art has been lost. Michael Okuda recalled in 2009 that the plaque indicated that the ship was a Constitution-class starship built by the Federation Space Systems and “To bring light into the darkness” was the ships motto. Michael Okuda has commented on the class name:
"The Stargazer dedication plaque did say "Constitution class", but we had already decided to drop that designation, even during preproduction. I asked Ed Charnock, our on-set painter, to mist over the plaque with a little black spray paint, to make it a little harder to read "Constitution". There wasn't time, or money, to have the plaque re-made, but the type was so small that it would have been very difficult to read the text on camera, even without the smudge. Also, the set lighting was dark, so I wasn't worried." wbmThe motto was inspired by the science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel Keyes Flowers for Algernon:
"They had pretended to be geniuses. But they were just ordinary men working blindly, pretending to be able to bring light into the darkness. Why is it that everyone lies? No one I know is what he appears to be."Okuda further commented on the plaque:
"The dedication plaque indicated that the ship was built by "Federation Space Systems," and gave the ship's motto as "To bring light into the darkness." Herb Wright suggested that one." wbm
|Starfleet registry NCC-2893|
|San Francisco Fleet Yards, Earth|
|United Federation of Planets|
|"To bring light into the darkness."|
In 1994, Galoob produced a toy model of the Stargazer as part of their Micromachines line. Interestingly enough, the coloring on the model was completely wrong and was actually based on the coloring of the NCC-7100 model seen in Picard's office.
In a Starfleet Technical Database article (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2) written by Rick Sternbach, it was stated that after the Stargazer was towed back to Xendi Starbase 9, it was repaired, and returned to limited active duty for eight years (from 2366 to 2374), after which it was mothballed as a museum ship at the Copernicus Yard Museum, Luna, alongside the USS Valkyrie (NCC-2590). Kept in a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere for tours and academic study, she was kept in a semi-operational state to be re-activated for duty when circumstances dictated such an action.
The bridge of the Stargazer was previously seen as the battle bridge of the Enterprise-D in "Encounter at Farpoint". Before The Next Generation the set was used as the bridge of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon)
The crew of the Stargazer had been featured in many novels by Michael Jan Friedman. First appearing in Pocket TNG: Reunion, a novel published by Pocket Books, it had spun off the Star Trek: Stargazer series, during which the ship had a brief encounter with the mirror universe, as well as detailing Picard's first meeting with Guinan during a confrontation with Enabran Tain.
The Stargazer was also included as a playable ship in the video game Star Trek: Legacy. During the story, it was revealed that the ship's captain, Ruhalter, is killed on the bridge and the ship severely damaged from a shock wave resulting from renegade Vulcan T'Uerell destroying a planet in the Neutral Zone. Picard took command of the ship and attempted to stop stellar debris from destroying other planets in a Federation system. The player can control the Stargazer with Picard in command during this mission in the game.
The Stargazer-class was one of the available design choices (along with the Cheyenne-class and Dakota-class) for the Heavy Cruiser ship available to Federation characters at the rank of Commander. Additionally, the original Constellation-class, with a console that allows the ship to perform the Picard Manuever, can be purchased from the in-game store.