Design Notes

The Galaxy class Heavy Explorer was an attempt by Starfleet to design the perfect starship. They wanted a flagship vessel that could carry out a long duration exploration mission, function as a host for diplomatic functions, be rapid response vessel in times of crisis and hold its own in a battle. To accomplish this, the Starfleet commissioned the Advanced Starship Design Board to use data going all the way back to the CONSTITUTION class starships. Commander Orfil Quinteros was supervisor of the Galaxy-class Starship Development Project. Dr. Leah Brahms was one of the chief designers of the warp propulsion system.

The Galaxy-class Starship Development Project was approved in 2343. Pursuant to Starfleet Exploration Directive 902.3, the following objectives were established for the Galaxy Class Starship Development Project: (1) To provide a mobile platform for a wide range of ongoing scientific and cultural research projects; (2) Replace aging Ambassador- and Oberth-class starships as primary instruments of Starfleet's exploration programs; (3) Provide autonomous capability for full execution of Federation policy in outlying areas; (4) Incorporate recent advancements in warp power plant technology and improved science instrumentation.

This was a period of relative peace for the Federation. The Klingons were becoming allies, the Romulans had not crossed the Neutral Zone in years and only the - mostly - low scale conflicts with the Tholians, Tzenkethi, Talarians and Cardassian inspired Maquis threatened the tranquility. In this atmosphere the decision to make the Galaxy class primarily an exploration vessel, one carrying many civilian scientists and families, was an easy one to take. In hindsight it was very nearly a disaster.

The GALAXY class starship were designed and constructed at Utopia Planitia Shipyards, Mars, as a replacement for the venerable and aging AMBASSADOR Class. Having been procured in an era of political tension, the Ambassador's configuration more closely resembles that of a battleship, with over 17% of total internal volume dedicated to Combat systems, whereas the Galaxy class ships were designed from the start to be luxurious, stately "Do It All" Research-Diplomatic vessels with 20% Internal volume dedicated to Crew habitat and research spaces, and only 5% combat Systems and subsystems allotment. However, the Galaxy ships are far from unarmed; they have three photon torpedo tubes and a full spherical array of phaser banks.

As an diplomatic ship, the Galaxy class has a large internal habitat volume to host foreign delegations and to assist in emergency evacuations. This design feature coupled with advances in computer technology allows a previously unheard of situation -- the families of the crew members are allowed to live on-ship. This proved so successful, that civilians accommodations have been 'retrofitted' to some other classes of ships, notably those with the volume to handle them. PROMETHEUS and other 'Project Archangel' inspired ships lack this 'touch.' Since crew workload is light, the number of required duty stations is greatly reduced, thus a GALAXY can be manned by fewer crew than her size may indicate. With civilians on board, the ship was designed so that the saucer section could detach itself from the star drive section to remove them from harm's way in the event of an emergency. This feature saved the entire crew of USS Enterprise-D when it was core breached above Veridian III. Unfortunately, the USS Yamoto did not fare so well, losing 30% of her crew and civilian complement when her warp core breached in 2365 and she was unable to separate the sections.

By the time USS Galaxy was commissioned, many of the components used had already seen extensive service with other classes, most notably the NEBULA class. Whilst the Nebula relied on its interchangeable mission modules for its versatility, the Galaxy was intended to be able to do it all with one basic design. As an example, the bridge module on the prototype USS Galaxy NCC-70637 was a self-containable, replaceable 'module', designed with advanced life support functions and separable in case of problems during the shake-down runs. This feature was not duplicated into the remainder of the Galaxy ships. Their bridges were 'lift out and replace' modules.

Six Galaxy class starships were constructed and built. The first was the U.S.S. Galaxy NX-70637 prototype commissioned in 2357, and the second was the U.S.S. Yamato NCC-71801 commissioned in 2362. The U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D launched and officially commissioned in October 2363, the third Galaxy-class starship built. The U.S.S. Odyssey NCC-71832 and the U.S.S. Venture NCC-71854 soon followed. A further six space frames under construction in the yards were broken back down into pieces and moved to depots around the Federation for re-assembly if needed. This extraordinary measure was taken because of the suddenly very real possibility of a Federation Loss in the Dominion War. The Fleet decided that keeping the Galaxy platform out of the hands of a Threat Force was their no. 1 priority. The need for the ships arose sooner than expected due to the losses from the Borg Invasions and the Dominion War.

Due to the great expense and complexity of the Galaxy class to build, the class's future is in doubt. It is uncertain whether more Galaxy class starships will be constructed or whether a newer and less intricate class starship will be procured in its place. Even though the Galaxy class is only twenty years old, and has a 100 year operational lifespan, it no longer represents the pinnacle of technology, and Starfleet may opt for an altogether different platform for its next flagship class, SOVEREIGN class being a strong contender.

In 2372, the Enterprise-D was destroyed at Veridian III. A Klingon warbird, commanded by the renegade Klingons Lursa and B'Etor of the Duras family, found the Enterprise's shield modulation and hit the ship with modulated photon torpedoes. The Enterprise destroyed the Klingon ship, but the damage was not repairable. The crew was evacuated to the saucer section and the ship separated. The damage caused the warp core to breach and the resulting explosion caused the saucer section to crash on Veridian III. The ship was not salvageable and the new Sovereign-class starship U.S.S. Enterprise registry NCC-1701-E was launched in 2372.

After crash-landing on Veridian III, the saucer section of the GALAXY class USS Enterprise-D was to be broken down and removed from the surface of the planet in accordance with Prime Directive regulations. It was deemed a total structural loss, and could not be returned to service. Upon closer inspection, however, a group of designers from Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards realized that the damage to the space frame was not as severe as originally thought. The saucer could be removed from the surface mostly intact as a relatively new hull capable of at least serving as a test article.

The Federation Council approved the plan; they were convinced that Utopia Planitia's permanent possession of at least one half of a Galaxy class starship would allow them to better produce upgrades and refits for that expensive flagship class. Over three months, the hull was disassembled into several manageable pieces and transported to Utopia Planitia by warp courier. The saucer was reassembled once at Mars, with new structural elements to replace ones fatigued in the crash and spartan interiors with only the most vital systems installed. Most of the hull was left empty, leaving room to place new technologies and systems designed for the next generation of starships, in particular the Galaxy class. The saucer participated in a number of tests at Utopia Planitia from 2372 to 2378. Its phaser arrays were successfully upgraded to type XII, showing that even a Galaxy class ship without a warp core could use these stronger weapons. It was the first Federation starship to be equipped with shields that could resist the Breen energy dampening weapon. Using construction technology conscripted after the fall of the Cardassian Union, the saucer proved that large Federation starships, especially saucer sections, could be fitted with an embedded warp system for emergency propulsion. All these systems, plus more learnt during the PROMETHEUS and DEFIANT class design builds, as well as the SOVEREIGN class, were analyzed and considered for the next round of GALAXY class starship refits, which were a year overdue. Almost twenty years into their lifespans, and facing their first major overhaul and refit, four of the original six Galaxy-class starships had been destroyed. Of the remaining six space frames, four of them were 'reassembled' and pressed into service during the Dominion War, after the loss of the Odyssey. Mounting really nothing more than bare bones phaser fire control systems and RCS thrusters in dummy nacelles, the "Armada Ladies" were used for decoy duties along the Cardassian border. Two were lost in skirmishing actions, the remaining two are 'mothballed' pending the Galaxy, Lexington and Challenger re-fits.

With major design enhancements due in less than five years, and ships such as the PROMETHEUS and the DEFIANT classes employing technology decades ahead of the Galaxies, the Advanced Design Bureau opted to take on an ambitious, top secret program to bring the Galaxy into the modern age. Minor damage to the prototype USS Galaxy, and the unfortunate crippling of her commander during a routine mission in 2378 gave them the perfect excuse. USS Galaxy, NCC-70637 was 'decommissioned' and her crew dispersed. The ship was towed from Starbase 212 to Stardock Two at Mars Planitia Utopia Shipyards, and work began on her in secret.

In a surprise move, Dr. Leah Brahms was NOT consulted on the 'Accelerated Refit' project, as the ASDB had selected several ideas from a classmate of hers, one Dr. Jebediah Quick. A notable eccentric in a field that seemed to produce eccentrics, Dr. Quick had submitted several 'proposals' to the ASDB merely as jokes...not knowing that his 'Cheezy Poof' encrusted doodles ont he back of bar-naps would end up in the hands of the Corps of Engineers.

Changes from the original Galaxy included a third warp nacelle, improved engine efficiency, very advanced sensor arrays, a large phaser/torpedo cannon, and high-capacity shields. This class mounted the most advanced weapons and propulsion suites the Advanced Starship Design Bureau offered and was stronger than anything that had been developed before. Furthermore, to protect against any espionage of the prototype blueprints several systems and specifications were rearranged last minute. Starfleet put all its resources into the construction of these ships, in the hope that it could counter this enemy. The original U.S.S. Galaxy (NCC-70637), which had been at Utopia Planitia for its first twenty year refit was converted first, in secret. In 2379, Captain John Q. Bhrode was given her command, and the ship was re-commissioned USS Galaxy NCC-70637-A.

The U.S.S. Lexington was chosen as the next vessel, since it was still under construction and could be rapidly refit to the new specifications, with a 2381 launch date. Starfleet desired a third ship, but it was feared another Galaxy class vessel built from scratch could not be refit in time to be of any use. It was then realized that the Enterprise-D saucer, which had been structurally refit to space worthiness over the past eight years and already contained most of the new technology, could be docked with a unfinished stardrive section from another Galaxy that had just been laid down, the last of the original twelve space frames.

In 2381, the USS Galaxy suffered major structural damage while on a diplomatic mission to Breen. The third nacelle and pylon had been shorn off at the secondary hull, completely rendering the secondary hull inhabitable from Decks 25-35 in the Stardrive section. The extent of the damage took the USS Galaxy out of commission for 3 months. At first, it was thought the ship would be decommissioned permanently at this time since the extent of the damage would entail an almost complete overhaul of ships systems, structure, and electronics.

Instead, with the new combined threat from the Breen, Hydrans, and T`Kith`Kin now facing the Federation, Starfleet commandeered the recently upgraded Enterprise-D saucer and accelerated the 2384-due 5 year refit to encompass the new technologies available for the USS Galaxy instead of building a new vessel from the ground up. Time was of the essence. The Federation was still recovering from the losses of the Dominion War. Project Archangel was in full ramp-up. Within three months, the USS Galaxy was re-commissioned with her original registry number NCC-70637 and the A dropped as the first in the new Galaxy III class. The third nacelle was scratched with the new technologies in warp acceleration and power coils making it un-needed. She retained the phaser cannon.

  Ship Registry Dates Notes/ Ship's Motto "Canon" Citations and Appearances
Prototype g-21.a
USS Galaxy
USS Galaxy II
USS Galaxy III

NX - 70637
NCC - 70637
NCC - 70637-A
NCC - 70637

2357 - 2378
2379 - 2381
2381 - Present
  • ???
  • The Higher, the Fewer
  • "For those with wings, fly to your dreams."
  • TNG Technical Manual,
  • DS9 "Tears of the Prophets" episode.
USS Yamoto
NCC- 70807
  • Lost to warp core breach in 2365
  • "I have sworn eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." 
    - Thomas Jefferson 
  • (ST Encyclopedia states apparent registry is a production error in labeling the model) 
  • TNG "Where Silence Has Lease"
  • TNG "Contagion" 
USS Enterprise-D
NCC - 1701-D
2363 - 2372
  • Destroyed: primary hull by warp core breach in orbit of Veridian III; saucer section crash landed on Veridian III   ST:G
  • "To boldly go where no one has gone before" 
  • Captain Jean-Luc Picard
  • Destroyed by antimatter containment failure in independent timeline TNG "All Good Things..."
  • Destroyed in alternate timeline    TNG "Time Squared"
    (classified as battleship in alternate timeline)   TNG "Yesterday's Enterprise"  Captain William T. Riker (field promotion)  TNG "The Best of Both Worlds"
  • Captain William T. Riker (illusionary ship) TNG "Future Imperfect"
    Destroyed in collision with USS Bozeman in alternate timeline/loop TNG "Cause And Effect"
  • Captain Edward Jellico    TNG "Chain of Command, Part I"
  • Captain Jean-Luc Picard  TNG "Chain of Command, Part II"
  • Captain Thomas Holloway (alternate timeline)  TNG "Tapestry"
  • Destroyed by energy feedback (alternate timeline)  TNG "Timescape" 
  • Destroyed by antimatter containment failure in independent timeline  TNG "All Good Things..." 
  • Saucer section destroyed by shock wave from collapse of Veridian III star (alternate timeline)    ST:G 
    USS Enterprise
  • Parallel universe vessels 
  • Captain William T. Riker (various, see above) 
  • One Enterprise destroyed by Enterprise-proper    TNG "Parallels"
4 USS Odyssey NCC-71832 2365 - 2370
  • She is rammed and destroyed by Jem'Hadar vessel in  DS9 "The Jem'Hadar" stranding survivors (Including J.Bhrode) on planetoid, 2370
  • "It's origin and purpose, still a total mystery." 
  • Listed in ST: Omnipaedia as commanded by Captain Keogh.  
5 USS Venture NCC 71854 2365 - Present
  • Scheduled for refit 2382
  • "To everything. . .turn, turn, turn."
  • Listed in ST Encyclopedia 2, 
    DS9 "The Way of the Warrior" (part of the Federation force to retake Deep Space Nine; presumed this class)
  • DS9 "Sacrifice of Angels"
    Commanded by Captain Stipes, DS9 "Tears of the Prophets"
6 USS Trinculo  NCC-71867 2367 - Present
  • Scheduled for refit 2385
  • "We few, we happy band of brothers."
  • (part of the Federation force to retake Deep Space Nine)
  • DS9 "Sacrifice of Angels"
7 USS Magellan NCC-71807 2367 - Present
  • Scheduled for refit 2385
  • "Sic lucent lux."
  • (part of the Federation force to retake Deep Space Nine; presumed this class)  
  • DS9 "Sacrifice of Angels"
8 USS Challenger NCC-72099 Mothballed Frame 2371
  • Moving to Yards in 2382.  Launches in 2388
  • "To sleep, perchance . . . to dream."
  • Captain Geordi La Forge (alternate timeline, 15 years hence)
9 USS Hentar Never Registered 2373 - 2373
  • Armada Lady
  • Destroyed by enemy fire after collision with escort USS Breedlove damaged mock Nacelle beyond reasonable repair expectations.
10 USS Ishtar NCC- 71909  2373 - 2374
  • Armada Lady
  • Unable to maintain escape speed with escort vessels. Not equipped with shields, unable to mount opposition to Threat Force.  Crew evacuated to USS Swansea and ship self destructed 2374 with assistance from escorts  Swansea, IKS Firestarter, IKV Demolisher, and IKV Jarnoth, son of Lamar.
11 USS Lexington NCC-71406 2374 - Present
  • Armada Lady
  • Damage to Saucer in 2375 and stress micro fracturing of load bearing members within saucer caused removal from DS9 Fleet.  Slated for replacement with test saucer in 2380.  Slated launch in 2383.
12 USS Exeter NCC-70856 2365-2365
  • Proto-Armada Lady
    "Let's Roll. . . "
  • Lost with all hands at Battle of Wolf 359 to Locutus of Borg after being pressed into Task Force 2 by Admiral Hanson.  Was not close to being ready for service, having had her warp cores brought online mere days before her departure.  Ship actually precedes USS Venture in Class history, but is usually recorded last in memory of those brave souls who took the barely mobile skeleton out of Spacedock.  No survivors were ever recovered.

Refit Details
A number of modifications were made to the four-foot Enterprise model for its future appearance in "All Good Things..." Four were given functions. The most obvious is the addition of a third warp nacelle, in between the original two. The new pylon covered the entire aft neck of the ship and most of the upper engineering hull, requiring the impulse engines to be moved to the location previously occupied by the shuttle bays (which were presumably removed). There were now two engines on the stardrive section in addition to the two remaining on the saucer. A large phaser cannon was also added to the bottom of the saucer module, powerful enough to destroy a Klingon Negh'Var class ship with only a few discharges. Lastly, five additional phaser strips were added: one on the dorsal of each nacelle (each now with a "hump" as well) and another on each outboard nacelle pylon. There were also several unidentified changes. Some sort of large, boxy structure was placed on top of the main shuttle bay, and extended all the way up to the bridge module and probably covered the observation lounge windows. Two slim cylindrical objects mounted on pylons were added to each side of Deck 2 on the dorsal saucer. The new warp pylon had several hatches and other pieces of detail that could have been torpedo launchers or shuttle bays, while a "fin" was added to each outboard pylon, splitting the two phaser arrays. My theories on what these new bits of detail could be are described here, although this is again completely speculation and is not based on anything shown in the series. The technical specifications, too, are mostly conjecture except for the ship dimensions, number of phaser arrays, and other types of information that was clearly established in the episode. We didn't see much of the interior beyond the bridge, corridors, VIP quarters, and Ten-Forward. Beyond some minor cosmetic changes, these sets seemed mostly unchanged from their years on TNG.

Third Nacelle Taboo
Gene Roddenberry apparently laid down a few rules regarding Federation starship design at the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation. First, starships must have even amounts of nacelles as they work in pairs. Second, the pairs of nacelles must have a clear line of sight between each other. Lastly, the nacelles must also have an unobstructed line of sight towards the front and the back of the ship. The TNG Tech Manual furthermore confirms this, stating that in the 23rd century, experiments with single nacelles and three nacelles resulted in failure. This Enterprise, however, breaks all these rules. Many have tried to rectify this by explaining that the Galaxy style warp nacelles have two sets of coils, meaning the ship would essentially have six nacelles, or that the Enterprise is armed with some form of transwarp that makes these rules obsolete. Personally, I choose to ignore these "rules" as they really don't make much sense and are too restricting. They've also been broken several times since the start of TNG with the Enterprise-C, the Freedom and Niagara class kitbashes from "The Best of Both Worlds," the Defiant, Voyager, Prometheus, and most of the hideous CGI kitbashes from DS9. Furthermore, popular non-canon Trek works such as the Star Fleet Technical Manual and Ships of the Star Fleet, used for this site, feature ship designs that do not follow these rules. In light of the TNG Tech Manual comments though, I did acknowledge the fact that odd numbers of nacelles cause problems, and labeled the "fins" on the pylons as warp stabilizers which improve efficiency. Yes, it's a bit of a stretch, but most everything else I've established for this ship is...

As mentioned wayyyy above, the third nacelle design was dropped due to it being one ugly-ass piece of crap that was an embarrassing leftover from the earlier incarnation to set it apart from the original USS Galaxy sim. We've upgraded it to a completely fan-created class created by Patrick Weber from various meshes and kitbashes to further set it apart from the loathsome Galaxy Class II. The warp stabilizers are also gone. The Galaxy is a sleeker, meaner, more streamlined beauty now, combining the grace of the original with the political climate this sim currently writes itself in with the Federation taking a more offensive posture since the Dominion War. Not to say we're completely action-oriented - we try to vary our stories - but if we need the firepower, we won't be getting our butts kicked.

Official Information
There is no separate entry for this ship in the Star Trek Encyclopedia. All information can be found in the specifications or in the ship database at the USS Miranda website.

The U.S.S. Enterprise-D was designed by Andrew Probert. The refit modifications were added by Greg Jein and the Star Trek: TNG art department. The fan fiction refit is copyright Patrick Weber.

Primary sources used for the refit NCC-1701-D include:

Star Trek: The Next Generation, created by Gene Roddenberry
Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda
The Star Trek Encyclopedia, by Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda, Doug Drexler, and Debbie Mirek
The Star Trek Chronology, by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda

Two Galaxy class vessels were seen in the armada at the end of DS9 "Call To Arms". Further, at least five and possibly as many as nine were seen with the fleet in "Sacrifice of Angels".

There is circumstantial but reasonable evidence from "Sacrifice of Angels" that the USS Magellan. Some people also add the USS Cortez, though the evidence seems to be rather lacking for this one.

Rick Sternbach has said that some of these Galaxy class vessels were completed without all their internal fittings/systems in order to get them into the war sooner. This is supported by the DS9 Tech Manual. Hence.. our 'Armada Ladies' and probably accounting for the unidentified 'Galaxy' ships in DS9 and VOY.

The LUG RPG supplement Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 1: The Ships of Starfleet lists the USS Vel'dna NCC-72406, USS Kludy NCC-71095, USS Courageous NCC-72579 and the USS Indomitable NCC-73462. The Kludy's registry is a small problem but as all events connected with these ships are in 2374 onwards they are otherwise inoffensive.

The LUG RPG supplement Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 2: Starships of the Cardassian Union mentions the USS Hentar NCC- 71093 destroyed by Cardassians in 2374 and the USS Frontiersman, defeated by Cardassians in 2365. Again, the registry numbers are slightly problematic.

The LUG RPG supplement The Dominion War Sourcebook: The Fires of Armageddon mentions the USS Nevsky NCC-71038, USS Benton NCC-69130, USS Ishtar NCC-70856, USS Pel-Gaash NCC-71246 and the USS Vanuatu NCC-68208. Once again the registries, two of which are lower than that of the USS Galaxy and three which are lower than that of the USS Yamato, are out of whack.

Several published novels have featured other Galaxy class vessels.

USS Bolivar
Mentioned in "Rogue Saucer" by John Vornholt. Hull completed in 2371, hence a second (or even third) batch vessel.

USS Madison
Mentioned in "The Big Game" by Sandy Schofield; "The Long Night" by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch; and "Invasion! Book Two: The Soldiers of Fear" by Smith and Rusch. Dates range from late 2369 to late 2371. Always mentioned in association with the USS Idaho.

USS Idaho
Mentioned in "The Big Game" by Sandy Schofield; "The Long Night" by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch; and "Invasion! Book Two: The Soldiers of Fear" by Smith and Rusch. Dates range from late 2369 to late 2371. Always mentioned in association with the USS Madison. Shouldn't it be the Idaho-B anyways? Wasn't the last USN Battleship class the 'Idaho' class?

USS Constitution
Mentioned in "Possession" by J.M. Dillard and Kathleen O'Malley and in "Double Helix Book One: Infection" by John Gregory Betancourt In service in 2364 and at least until 2370. Absolutely a 'B' designation ship... I seem to recall a James Blish TOS novel where Kirk mentions the 'Old Ironsides' of US history.

USS Oraidhe
Mentioned in "Intellivore" by Diane Duane In service in 2371.

USS Challenger
Mentioned in "The Return" by William Shatner and J.G. Reeves - Stevens. Is referred to as new in 2371.

USS Potemkin
Mentioned in "Station Rage" by Diane Carey. In service in 2371. Whatever happened to the Excelsior class USS Potemkin?

USS Exeter
Mentioned in "Station Rage" by Diane Carey. In service in 2371. Mentioned as possibly being a '9-11' tribute ship by Sternbach in May 2002 interview.

USS Hood
Mentioned in "Station Rage" by Diane Carey. In service in 2371. Whatever happened to the Excelsior class USS Hood?

USS Mukaikubo
Mentioned in "Invasion! Book Three: Time's Enemy" by L.A. Graf. Destroyed in late 2371.

USS Breedlove
Mentioned in "Invasion! Book Three: Time's Enemy" by L.A. Graf. Active in late 2371.

USS Intrepid
Mentioned in "Crossover" by Michael Jan Friedman. In service in 2371. Whatever happened to the class ship of the Intrepid class?

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