USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)

USS Enterprise – NCC-1701-D (or Enterprise-D) is a 24th-century starship in the fictional Star Trek universe and the principal setting of the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series.[1] The Enterprise-D also appears in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("Emissary"),[2] the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise ("These Are the Voyages..."), and the movie Star Trek Generations.

USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
USS Enterprise frontal view
First appearanceFebruary 26, 2364 – "Encounter at Farpoint"
AffiliationUnited Federation of Planets
LaunchedOctober 4, 2362
DecommissionedDamaged beyond repair in 2371 – Star Trek Generations
Auxiliary vehiclesShuttlecraft
General characteristics
ClassGalaxy-class starship
Armaments12 phaser arrays (11 emplacements on docked vessel; additional forward dorsal array atop secondary hull when separated)

3 torpedo launchers (2 (1 forward, 1 aft) in secondary hull; 1 aft in saucer section when separated)

250 photon torpedoes carried

Long-range, lateral, navigational, engineering, and special-purpose sensor systems; 3 multi-deck computer cores, optical data network

1,014 officers, enlisted, scientists & civilian family members
DefensesHigh-capacity deflector shields
Maximum speedInitial average cruising: Warp 7, emergency speed: Warp 9.6 for 12 hours, maximum theoretical speed after retooling: Warp 9.8
PropulsionImpulse engines
Warp drive
RCS Thrusters
PowerWarp core
Mass4,960,000 metric tons (4,880,000 LT)
Length642.5 metres (2,108 ft)
Width463.73 metres (1,521.4 ft)
Height195.26 metres (640.6 ft)

The Enterprise-D is a Galaxy-class ship and the fifth Federation starship in the Star Trek universe to carry the name Enterprise.[2] Enterprise-D is the flagship of Starfleet.[3] The commanding officer is Captain Jean-Luc Picard for the majority of the ship's service.

In Star Trek Generations, after combat with the Duras sisters' ship, the ship's stardrive section was destroyed and the saucer section crash-landed on the surface of the planet Veridian III and had to be abandoned, resulting in its "destroyed" status.[2]


Andrew Probert, who helped update the original Enterprise for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, designed the Enterprise-D.[2] Originally assigned to design the bridge, Probert had a "what if" sketch hanging on his wall that he had drawn after working on The Motion Picture. Story editor David Gerrold saw the sketch and brought it to creator Gene Roddenberry's attention, who approved the sketch as a starting point for the Enterprise-D's design. Probert received a design patent on the Enterprise-D design in 1990.[4]

An Industrial Light & Magic team supervised by Ease Owyeung built two filming miniatures (a six-foot [1.8 m] model and a two-foot [0.61 m] model) for "Encounter at Farpoint", the Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot, and these models were used throughout the first two seasons.[5] For the third season, model-maker Greg Jein built a four-foot (1.2 m) miniature, which had an added layer of surface plating detail.[5] The six-foot (1.8 m) model was used whenever a saucer separation sequence needed to be filmed, and it was then updated by ILM for use in Star Trek Generations.

Jonathan Frakes said, "When we negotiate our contracts, Paramount's company line is that the ship is in fact the star of the show!"[6] In October 2006, the six-foot (1.8 m) Enterprise shooting miniature was auctioned in New York City at Christie's auction house, along with other models, props, costumes, and set pieces from the Star Trek franchise. Its projected value was $20,000 to $30,000, but the final sale price was $576,000 – the most expensive item in the auction.[7]

ILM's John Knoll also built a CGI Electric Image model of the Enterprise-D for the film Star Trek Generations (1994).[2] That model was transferred to LightWave and used to create various Galaxy-class starships in episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Timeless".

Eden FX's Gabriel Köerner built a new CGI LightWave model for the Enterprise-D's appearance in Star Trek: Enterprise's series finale, "These Are the Voyages...".

The proportions of the Galaxy-class Enterprise-D were different from the original Enterprise while retaining its familiar dual warp nacelles and saucer section appearance. The nacelles were made proportionally smaller than the saucer section, based on the idea that warp engines would have become more efficient over time.


The Enterprise-D is first seen in the episode "Encounter at Farpoint" under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Several episodes, as well as the ship's dedication plaque, establish that the Enterprise was built at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards in orbit around Mars.[5] The Enterprise-D is the third Galaxy-class starship, after the pathfinder ship USS Galaxy and the USS Yamato.[5] The dedication plaque gives its commissioning date as 40759.5, which was intended to represent October 4, 2363, which would be the 406th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, humanity's first spacecraft.[5]

During the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, the ship's crew makes first contact with many species, including the Borg in "Q Who" and the Q Continuum in "Encounter at Farpoint".[2] The Enterprise-D is instrumental in the defeat of the Borg during their 2366 attempt to invade the Federation in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II".

In 2371, as depicted in Star Trek Generations, the Klingon Duras sisters obtain the phase modulation frequency of the Enterprise-D's shields, rendering them useless.[2] Although the Enterprise-D destroys the sisters' ship, damage to the warp drive coolant system prompts an emergency saucer separation.[2] The warp core breaches moments after the saucer begins to move away, destroying the ship's stardrive section.[2] The resulting shock wave disables the saucer's propulsion and other primary systems, sending it into Veridian III's atmosphere.[2] Caught in the planet's gravity, the saucer section crash lands on the surface, damaged beyond repair.[2] It was replaced by the Enterprise-E, which was introduced in the film Star Trek: First Contact.

According to commentary on the Star Trek Generations DVD, one of the real world reasons for the Enterprise-D's destruction stems from a concept drawing of a saucer section landing, produced for the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual. TNG writers Ronald D. Moore, Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga saw the drawing and wanted to use a saucer crash as a sixth-season cliffhanger episode for the series, but were unable to do so because of a limited budget and resistance from producer Michael Piller.

Alternate future

In the alternate future depicted in the TNG series finale "All Good Things...", the Enterprise-D is intact in 2395.[2] The personal flagship of Admiral William Riker, the ship has undergone major refits, including the addition of a third warp nacelle, new weapons, and a cloaking device.[2] This future timeline arises from a temporal anomaly that Picard, with Q's help, manages to eliminate.

Technical capabilities

During the time of its service, the Enterprise-D was the pinnacle of the Federation Starfleet. A Galaxy-class starship, it was a large, long-range exploratory ship with 42 decks and a usual complement of 1,014 crew and civilians (e.g., their family members) but it was capable of carrying over 6,000 personnel. It was also the strongest, most powerful, and among the fastest starships in Starfleet at the time.

Starship separation

The Galaxy-class Enterprise was capable of separating into two ships: the saucer section, with most of the ship's complement and accommodations, could separate from the stardrive (or engineering) section, featuring the warp reactor and the bulk of the weaponry. The saucer section was sometimes used to evacuate its non-essential complement while the stardrive section went into combat,[5] as seen in The Next Generation episodes "Encounter at Farpoint"[8] and "The Arsenal of Freedom."[9] This feature also conferred an advantage of having two vessels in combat instead of one as in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II,"[10] or acting as a lifeboat[5] as seen in the film Star Trek Generations.[11] The Enterprise-D was the only starship seen in any of the television series to separate until the USS Prometheus during the fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager.


The main bridge of the Galaxy-class Enterprise is on Deck 1. Three distinct Galaxy-class bridge variants have been seen with a fourth from the alternate future variant of the series finale: the Enterprise bridge in The Next Generation (which undergoes a redesign in the first two seasons), the Enterprise bridge in Star Trek Generations,[11] and the USS Odyssey bridge in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Jem'Hadar".[12] The Galaxy-class Enterprise also has a secondary battle bridge on Deck 8 of the secondary hull, for use when the saucer separates. It is first seen in the TNG episode "Encounter at Farpoint" and again in "The Arsenal of Freedom", with an updated version appearing in "The Best of Both Worlds".

Science and research

The Galaxy-class Enterprise supports an array of scientific disciplines, with laboratories and departments devoted to stellar cartography, exobiology, cetology, astrophysics, cybernetics, archaeology, cultural anthropology, botany, hydroponics, and planetary geosciences.[5]


The Galaxy-class Enterprise is armed with twelve Type-X phaser arrays and three photon torpedo launchers, each capable of firing 10 torpedoes at a time.[5] One phaser array is mounted on the "cobra head" of the secondary hull while a photon torpedo launcher is mounted on the ventral aft of the saucer; both are inoperative while the saucer and stardrive sections are docked.[5] The ship also has a high-capacity shield grid[5] and, according to dialogue in the Next Generation episode "Conundrum",[13] at least 250 photon torpedoes.


The Galaxy-class Enterprise has at least eight transporter rooms and 20 transporter systems. The ship has one large main shuttle bay in the saucer section, supported by two smaller bays in the stardrive section. The ship carries a variety of shuttlecraft and a captain's yacht (according to Patrick Stewart, the yacht is named Calypso, after Jacques Cousteau's research vessel; though visible on the underside of the Enterprise saucer, it did not make an appearance during the series).[5]

Medical and life support systems

The Galaxy-class Enterprise includes a sickbay and a number of labs and other medical facilities.[5] The shuttlebays, cargo bays, and other areas of the ship can be converted into triage wards;[5] such conversion of a cargo bay appears in the TNG episode "Ethics".[14] Other areas, such as Ten Forward, can serve as emergency shelters.[5] Such use of Ten Forward occurs in the Next Generation episode "Disaster".[15]

Crew support

Various Next Generation episodes show that the Galaxy-class Enterprise has amenities such as holodecks,[8] an arboretum, a school,[16] a gymnasium,[17] amphitheaters,[18] and a bar called Ten Forward.[19] According to "Encounter at Farpoint",[8] several Enterprise crewmembers' civilian family members (including children) are aboard even though the Enterprise routinely faces situations that could easily end with the complete destruction of the ship with all hands. Some civilians work aboard the ship, such as the bartender Ben in "Lower Decks"[20] and botanist Keiko O'Brien in "Rascals"[21] and other episodes.


In 2018, Io9/Gizmodo ranked the fictional spacecraft design, the Enterprise-D, as the 5th best version of starship Enterprise of the Star Trek franchise.[22]

In 2019, SyFy ranked the fictional starship design, the NCC-1701-D Enterprise as the second best version of the starship in the Star Trek science fiction universe.[23]


General references

  • Drexler, Doug; Sternbach, Rick & Zimmerman, Herman (1998). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-01563-X.
  • Lebowitz, Adam; Bonchune, Robert (2001). Star Trek Starship Spotter. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-3725-X.

Inline citations

  1. Nemeck, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6.
  2. Okuda, Mike; Okuda, Denise & Mirek, Debbie (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5.
  3. "Episode transcript of "Ensign Ro"". Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  4. "US Patent D307,923". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017.
  5. Okuda, Michael & Sternbach, Rick (1991). Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-70427-3.
  6. "Jonathan Frakes – The Next Generation's Number One, Will Riker, and Trek director". BBC. Archived from the original on November 15, 2001. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  7. "Christie's underestimates Trekkies, pulls $7.1 million". CNN. May 9, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  8. "Encounter at Farpoint". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  9. "The Arsenal of Freedom". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  10. "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". Star Trek: The Next Generation.,
  11. Star Trek Generations, (1994)
  12. "The Jem'Hadar". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  13. "Conundrum". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  14. "Ethics". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  15. "Disaster". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  16. "The Offspring". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  17. "We'll Always Have Paris". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  18. "Sarek". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  19. "The Child". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  20. "Lower Decks". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  21. "Rascals". Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  22. Whitbrook, James. "All 11 Versions of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Ranked". io9. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  23. Brigden, Charlie (January 21, 2019). "From one generation to the next: Ranking the Starships Enterprise". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved July 31, 2019.

Further reading

  • Hardy, Sarah; Kukla, Rebecca (Spring 1999). "A Paramount Narrative: Exploring Space on the Starship Enterprise". The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 57 (2, Aesthetics and Popular Culture): 177–191. doi:10.2307/432311. JSTOR 432311.
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