Constitution class starship

Constitution class starship
Constitution class
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), ENT1231.jpg
The Constitution-class starship Enterprise
First appearance Star Trek: The Original Series
Affiliation United Federation of Planets
General characteristics
Fighters n/a
Auxiliary craft Shuttlecraft
Armaments Photon torpedoes; 4 offensive phaser banks (doubled)
Defenses Deflector shields
Propulsion Warp drive; impulse engines
Power Matter/Anti-Matter Reactor
Length 947 feet, or 288.6 meters
Width 417 feet, or 127.1 meters

In the fictional Star Trek universe, the Constitution class is a Starfleet starship type that began service in the mid-23rd century.



In the original television series, ships of this class support multiple exploratory, diplomatic, and — when needed — adversarial missions.

Dimensions and Armament

Approximately 947 feet long (289 m total), 417 feet (127 m) wide overall (Primary Hull), the Constitution-class design consists of a saucerlike, eight-deck-thick primary hull, separable from and dorsally connected to a cylindrical secondary hull, from which spring angled pylons supporting the vessel's engines in two cylindrical engine nacelles. Each nacelle is 504 feet (154 m) long, 60 feet (18 m) in diameter. The pods operate via controlled fusion of matter and antimatter, creating the power necessary to propel the ship at FTL (faster-than-light) speeds. The Enterprise is heavily armed with offensive weaponry, the combined arsenal is powerful enough to destroy the entire surface of a planet (Star Trek, "A Taste of Armageddon"). The weapons include multiple forward and rear mounted photon torpedo launchers and phaser banks, of which there are five: Primary, Starboard, Port, Rear, and Midship. The Rear phaser and Rear torpedo launcher were depicted in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode, "In a Mirror Darkly". Phasers derive their power directly from the Warp Engines. The class also possesses defensive energy shielding, which can sucessfully absorb a quantity of power equivalent to 90 photon torpedoes. All of the weapons on the Primary Hull are on the underside of the "saucer".[1]

The separation of primary and secondary hulls was a rare event in the 23rd century, undertaken in emergencies; led from an auxiliary bridge, the secondary hull and nacelles retain FTL warp capabilities, while the main bridge and primary saucer are relegated to sublight propulsion from aft-mounted impulse engines (Star Trek, "The Apple"). Most of the ship's weapons are localised to the Primary Hull. This contrasts with the more routine saucer separation of the later Galaxy class starships, often employed as a combat tactical maneuver, whose secondary hull is commanded from a dedicated 'battle bridge'.


The Constitution-Class Refit, as seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture through Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country.

Dimensions and Armament

The Constitution-Class Refit has a similar configuration to the original, however, the pylons supporting the engine nacelles are backswept. The nacells have also changed, being more rectangular.

The photon torpedo launchers are now visible. There are two forward mounted torpedo tubes, resting at the base of the pylon that supports the primary hull. There are six depicted phaser banks on the primary hull, three above, three below. (similar to the Primary, Starboard, Port, and Rear phaser configuration of the original) Rear phasers are never observed, but are implied in several reference books. The phasers fire in a rythmic, pulsating pattern. ( Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn)

Other Information

Constitution-class was the only major ship class seen in the original series. Other Starfleet capital ship types include the Miranda class of the live-action films, and the older design of Bonaventure, seen in the animated episode "The Time Trap".

Though now understood as such, the class was never named Constitution in the original series; Enterprise's bridge dedication plaque declares her a 'Starship' class vessel, and it was also referred to as a "Starship" in the episode " The Enterprise Incident". The designation "Constitution-Class" debuted in 1975 in Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's Star Fleet Technical Manual. Its subsequent usage in show creator Gene Roddenberry's novelization of the first film cemented its usage in Trek fandom thereafter. (His novel also set K't'inga as the Klingon class name for the film's refinement of the venerated D7 battlecruiser.) The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Naked Now" tags the original Enterprise as a Constitution class ship, fixing it in canon; a diagram seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country puts Enterprise A in the Constitution-class as well.

The Next Generation episode "Relics" puts a Constitution-class vessel in the Starfleet museum.

The novelizations of the second, third, and fourth Star Trek films, written by Vonda N. McIntyre, identified the Enterprise as a "Constellation-class" heavy cruiser. This was overridden by the Next Generation episode "The Battle", in which the USS Stargazer was listed as Constellation-class, rather than Constitution.


Star Trek: The Motion Picture showcased the extensive refit which Enterprise experienced after her first five-year mission under James Kirk. (The 1987 reference work Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise places the refit in another class: in author Shane Johnson's interviews with one of the film's main designers, Andrew Probert suggested the ship was the first of a new Enterprise class.)[2] However, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott is seen looking over a layout of the Enterprise-A, and the title shows it as a "Constitution Class Starship".

Star Fleet Technical Manual

According to Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's 1975 Star Fleet Technical Manual, the ships of the Constitution-class are as follows.[3] Season one of the remastered original episodes added USS Defiant; corrections to the others' registries occurred later.

  • NCC-1017 Constellation
  • NCC-1371 Republic
  • NCC-1631 Intrepid
  • NCC-1664 Excalibur
  • NCC-1672 Exeter
  • NCC-1700 Constitution
  • NCC-1701 Enterprise
  • NCC-1702 Farragut
  • NCC-1704 Yorktown
  • NCC-1707 Hood
  • NCC-1709 Lexington
  • NCC-1711 Potemkin
  • NCC-1764 Defiant

These registry numbers do not completely correspond to the numbers in the Technical Manual (The Excalibur, for example, was NCC-1705), but were changed later for undetermined reasons.

Encyclopedia list

The fictional Constitution-class ship list used internally at Paramount has been derived from the list of fan Greg Jein, first published in 1975; it derives ship registries by matching codes from a wall display in "Court Martial" with known ship names in reverse alphabetical order.[4] Jein's list forms the basis for the list appearing in the Star Trek Encyclopedia.[5]

Name Registry Status Notes
USS Constellation NCC-1017[6] on screen Destroyed in "The Doomsday Machine" TOS. Commanded by Commodore Matthew Decker. The ship's registry was created in an AMT Enterprise model kitbash by rearranging its decals' 1701 registry.
USS Constitution NCC-1700 freeze frame Likely the class leader. Recent technical manuals date its launch to 2244. Its registry appears on a wall display in "Court Martial" TOS. Both Joseph and Jein make this the Constitution.[7][8]
USS Defiant NCC-1764[9] on screen Disappears into a rift in space in "The Tholian Web" TOS. In the mirror universe, it reappears 100 years in the past in "In a Mirror, Darkly" ENT.
USS Eagle NCC-956[10][11] freeze frame
USS Endeavour NCC-1895[10][12] freeze frame
USS Enterprise NCC-1701[13] on screen Her celebrated five-year mission under James T. Kirk forms the basis of Star Trek: The Original Series. Recent technical manuals date its launch to 2245. Refitted before the first film and destroyed in the third, when Kirk carries out a self-destruct to avoid her capture by Klingons.
ISS Enterprise NCC-1701[14] on screen The Imperial Star Ship Enterprise, part of the mirror universe, is seen in the original series episode "Mirror, Mirror" under parallel James T. Kirk, who took command after killing former parallel captain Christopher Pike.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A[15] on screen The refit Constitution-class second Enterprise, which noncanon sources often cite as a renaming of either Yorktown or Ti-Ho -- the latter according to Mr Scott's Guide to the Enterprise.[5] The crew of Enterprise-A under Kirk are ordered home for decommissioning following the Khitomer Conference in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Kirk's final log entry flags this as the final Enterprise cruise under his command.
USS Essex[16] NCC-1697[8] noncanon
USS Excalibur[17] NCC-1664[8] on screen Destroyed in episode "The Ultimate Computer". (The registry wasn't seen in the original episode but appeared in the remastered version.)
USS Exeter NCC-1672[18] on screen Commanded by Capt Ronald Tracey. Found in orbit around Omega IV with a dead crew (episode "The Omega Glory"). Exeter's later adventures figure in a series of fan-made shorts in Starship Exeter. (The registry wasn't seen in the original episode but appeared in the remastered version.)
USS Farragut NCC-1647 presumed Constitution class; registry noncanon Commanded by Capt Garrovick; Kirk's first starship post. See episode "Obsession". Farragut's later adventures appear in two fan shorts as "Starship Farragut". Trek Encyclopedia puts it in the Constitution class though it wasn't seen on-screen, and provides this registry. Jein uses this, but not from the Court Martial list.[5]
USS Hood[17] NCC-1703[8] on screen Damaged in episode "The Ultimate Computer". (The registry wasn't seen in the original episode but appeared in the remastered version.)
USS Intrepid NCC-1631[19] on screen All-Vulcan crew. Destroyed in "The Immunity Syndrome". Trek Encyclopedia put it in the Constitution class though it wasn't seen on screen during the series' original run. Registry from Jein's list in the Encyclopedia gives NCC-1831. (Earlier versions of his list give this as NCC-1631.[5])
USS Lexington[17] NCC-1709[8] on screen Damaged in "The Ultimate Computer". Commanded by Commodore Robert Wesley.
USS Potemkin[17] NCC-1657[8][20] registry noncanon Damaged in episode "The Ultimate Computer".
USS Republic NCC-1371[8] presumed Constitution class; registry canon Kirk served aboard her early in his career. Trek Encyclopedia puts it in the Constitution class though it wasn't seen on screen. The registry was given however.[5]
USS Yorktown NCC-1717 on screen Disabled by an alien probe in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; registry in debate. Though Gene Roddenberry, as reported in the Trek Encyclopedia and next-gen Tech Manual, held that Yorktown was rechristened NCC-1701-A Enterprise following the Probe crisis of the fourth film, instead Mr Scott's Guide said Enterprise-A was, from the keel up, a new ship (labeled Enterprise class in the guide and FASA's Star Trek Tactical Combat Simulator), inspired by Mr Scott's refit of the original Enterprise, USS Ti-Ho, in tribute to Kirk and crew for saving Earth in the fourth film (debate continues). The Ti-Ho was also rumored to be a smaller test bed for TransWarp drive, which turned out to be a failure, as it caused biological issues as seen in Star Trek: Voyager. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Scotty is seen reviewing a layout of the Enterprise-A. The title reads to be "Constitution Class Starship."

Although NCC-1710 USS Kongo is listed on a computer readout in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, in The Making of Star Trek, and the original Tech Manual contains the same registry, the ship is not listed in the 1999 Encyclopedia—and Jein's 1975 essay proposed "NCC-1732". (His original list also offers NCC-1868 Hornet, NCC-1866 Lafayette, NCC-1865 Tashik-Sotra and NCC-1623 Valiant).


  1. ^ Whitfield, Stephen PE; Roddenberry, Gene (1968). The Making of Star Trek. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345315545. OCLC 23859. 
  2. ^ Johnson, Shane (1987). Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise. Titan. ISBN 1-85286-028-6. 
  3. ^ Joseph, Franz (1975). Star Fleet Technical Manual. Del Ray. ISBN 0-345-49586-1. 
  4. ^ Jein, Greg (April 1975). "The Case of Jonathan Doe Starship". 
  5. ^ a b c d e Okuda, Mike; Denise, Okuda with Mirek, Debbie (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5. 
  6. ^ "The Doomsday Machine". Star Trek: The Original Series.
  7. ^ "Court Martial chart". Memory Alpha. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Registry not seen on screen. Derived from Jein's list by way of Trek Encyclopedia.
  9. ^ "In A Mirror, Darkly". Star Trek: Enterprise. The registry is not shown in the original series episode. Jein's registry appears in ENT as well as in the remastered The Tholian Web.
  10. ^ a b Listed on the Operation Retrieve chart in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country "Operation Retrieve chart". Memory Alpha. 
  11. ^ Jein's original list had this as NCC-1685.
  12. ^ Jein's original list gave this as NCC-1718.
  13. ^ "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Star Trek: The Original Series.
  14. ^ "Mirror, Mirror". Star Trek: The Original Series.
  15. ^ First introduced in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  16. ^ Not mentioned or seen on-screen, but appeared in the original-series production office's list of starship names. Encyclopedia lists her as Constitution class, and SF Tech Manual details her as a Bonhomme-Richard subtype.
  17. ^ a b c d One of the Constitution-class ships to be damaged in The Ultimate Computer
  18. ^ "The Omega Glory". Star Trek: The Original Series. The registry wasn't seen in the original episode but appeared in the remastered version of The Omega Glory.
  19. ^ "Court Martial". Star Trek: The Original Series. The starship wasn't seen in the original episode but appeared, with registry visible, in the remastered version of "Court Martial".
  20. ^ Jein's 1975 essay proposes NCC-1702 for this ship -- but not from the "Court Martial" chart.

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