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An aeroshuttle was a runabout-sized spacecraft embedded in the saucer underside of Intrepid-class starships. In 2376, Dala and Zar, posing as Captain Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay, showed Varn a schematic of the USS Voyager which identified its aeroshuttle. (VOY: "Live Fast and Prosper")

A graphic of an aeroshuttle also appeared in Daniels' database while it was being viewed by Captain Archer and T'Pol in 2152. (ENT: "Future Tense")

The Yeager-type and Elkins-type starships also appeared to carry aeroshuttles. [1](X)[2](X) Both are kitbashes utilizing the Intrepid-class.

See also


Background information

The aeroshuttle was initially not represented on Voyager's master systems display as devised by Doug Drexler, seen in the early episodes, but showed up in the graphic from "Phage" onward. Dexler clarified, "I drew the original MSD for the back of the bridge. After that, Wendy cut and pasted it to suit episode specific situations," [3](X) to which designer Rick Sternbach half jokingly added, "The screenshots that do show the AeroShuttle (outline or filled) seem to be of the early shape that I can only describe as looking like George Jetson's flying car. I don't believe the true elevation was ever inserted into the cutaway art." [4](X) Details regarding the aeroshuttle appear in Star Trek: The USS Voyager NCC-74656 Illustrated Handbook. According to the title, the craft was intended as a "high-speed reconnaissance ship that was capable of atmospheric travel" and also intended for defense and evacuation purposes. For unspecified reasons, not noted in the ship's log, the vessel was never used during the seven years Voyager spent in the Delta Quadrant. The manual suggests that it may have been never used because the destruction of a vehicle that formed an integral part of the outer hull could pose a serious long-term problem and that the vessel was further rendered obsolete by the development of the Delta Flyer type vessels.


Sternbach's original design for the Aeroshuttle of March 1994, listed the following specifications: [5](X)


The official name of this spacecraft was changed from AeroWing because of an existing Mighty Ducks trademark. [6] According to the Voyager writers' guidebook, Star Trek: Voyager Technical Manual, when detached, its aeroshuttle was capable of atmospheric flight as well as interstellar travel at speeds up to warp 3. The cockpit was designed for a crew of four.

Despite this description, the writers never used Voyager's aeroshuttle, prompting Rick Sternbach to develop the following explanation for his in-universe Starfleet Technical Database article "Intrepid-Class Lineage" in Star Trek: The Magazine:

"The Aeroshuttle was the only upgraded component to the Intrepid-class that remained in the development cycle long after the other major systems had been frozen and released for fabrication and assembly. Based on the existing Starfleet runabout platform, the Aeroshuttle was given a 450 percent increase in atmospheric flight and hover endurance over standard shuttlecraft. This was accomplished through the use of hybrid microfusion and EM driven airflow coil engines. Although the Aeroshuttle spaceframe and basic systems were completed by Stardate 46875.3, final outfitting of mission-specific hardware was delayed until simulations and flight testing with the USS Intrepid could be completed." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 1, pp. 52-53)

Sternbach revisited the aeroshuttle in far more detail in Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 12, pp. 82-85:

  • Mission requirements: Independent warp flight operations, defense of home vessel, extended planetary landing, and reconnaissance tasks and crew evacuation
  • Design based on the Danube-class runabout hull, without the modular approach
  • Construction started in 2369 with an initial procurement order of two prototypes and fifteen production vehicles, of which seven were slated to be integrated into the Intrepid-class starships, while the remaining eight others were assigned to other starships (as shuttles), miscellaneous Starfleet installations, or as independent flyers
  • Unlike the Danube-class, aeroshuttles were not to be designated unique vessel class status and thus did not receive registry numbers
  • Status report on the units whose missions were not classified as per stardate 56734.21:
Hull # Attached to Remarks
AS-501 USS Intrepid Operational
AS-502 USS Bellerophon Operational
AS-503 USS Voyager Operational; Overhaul in progress
AS-506 Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards Operational; Warp research
AS-508 Starbase 375 N/A; Classified
AS-509 Jupiter Station Operational; Experiment transport
AS-511 Starbase 524 N/A; Classified
AS-514 Starfleet HQ Operational; Courier
AS-515 Starfleet HQ Operational; Research; Testing upgrades

CGI model

Three-quarter view of unrealized aeroshuttle

Bonchune's CGI model

The aeroshuttle originated as a design by Rick Sternbach who conceived it as early March 1994 as part of the design process of the USS Voyager, labeling his design "Manta Shuttle". [7](X) As to the function of the wings, he stated, "Wings aren't so much wings in the 24th century when we have EM field effect lift and impulse thrust and mass-reduction technology. The AeroShuttle appendages are more pylons for the warp nacelles and landing gear and RCS gear. They look cool, but they aren't designed to be aerodynamic." [8](X) Sternbach purposefully endowed his design with a Danube-class cockpit so that use could be made of the existing interior cockpit sets from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine of that class. "The original proposal drawing of the "Manta" shuttle was included in the ton of other Voyager drawings for the producers, and the idea for using at least the Runabout cockpit was part of that. Foundation requested the Manta art as a starting point for the Aerowing (more properly called the AeroShuttle due to a toy licensing conflict), so that was provided, along with the ventral outline from the 5' Voyager blueprints. It's really too bad that we couldn't have used the AeroShuttle somewhere, but we can chalk that up to weird decisions about captain's yachts, money, and segregation of the different series' assets." [9](X)

The envisioned aeroshuttle disembarking

Sternbach shortly revisited his design, as the aeroshuttle was tapped to make an appearance, not in the show, but in the licensed book, Star Trek: Starship Spotter, "Basically, I did the original "Manta" sketch and the bottom view (more for the Voyager miniature than anything else at the time). I think I pretty much just eliminated the protrusions in the front and bobbed the tail; sometimes something just looks better or fits the originating culture more consistently. Foundation extrapolated the full AeroShuttle from both bits of art, with the bottom view driving some minor shape changes like the nacelle fronts. I didn't do any revising after that and there was no real feedback related to the original art bits." [10](X) Rob Bonchune, who eventually created a full rendering of Voyager's aeroshuttle, added, "In a nutshell, back at Foundation, we got into our heads that it would be cool to see the "captain's yacht" of the Voyager, that being the AeroShuttle. Rick Sternbach gratuitously did a prelim design and I used part of that and designed the ship you see here. Mojo and I did a whole launch sequence, on spec, meaning "free" and then had it shown to Rick Berman. The response: Mr. Berman thought it was nice, but didn't want to trump the captain's yacht launch sequence from the upcoming film Star Trek: Insurrection. As you remember that was a VERY dramatic, epic and cool launch sequence." [11]

With regards to the design, Bonchune stated, "Well, I remember Rick Sternbach saying that the four protruding rectangles represent landing pads. Seems silly as in scale they are way oversized. But, for the big Voyager miniature, I guess it was added detail." [12] As for what happened to the initial project, Bonchune said that "if we had aired the ship, I was going to refine the wings to be a little less "blunt trauma" to the aerodynamics. But when we got nixed, we moved on... so, it stands as is." [13] Rob Bonchune's website features a video of an aeroshuttle launch, likely from the original proposal.

The CGI model was first presented to the general public in 2001, in the Star Trek: Starship Spotter to which co-author Alex Rosenzweig commented, "When I worked on aeroshuttle text for Starship Spotter, I had a whole paragraph that I wrote, talking about how the Voyager's aeroshuttle hadn't been ready when the ship went on its mission into the Badlands, and how the completed shuttle was finally fitted to the refitted Voyager with great ceremony and circumstance after the ship's return from the Delta Quadrant. Alas, the rule from Licensing was that we weren't allowed to invent stuff like that, which hadn't been established on the show, so nothing came of said idea. But it was very much based on my agreement with you that a vehicle like the aeroshuttle would have made the Delta Flyer utterly unnecessary. Oh, well..." [14](X) Rosenzweig's notion was partially followed by Sternbach in his later Starfleet Technical Database article.

Orthographic views of the model were published in 2003, in the Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 12, pp. 83-85. Bonchune's render of Voyager's aeroshuttle was featured in the April spread of the Star Trek: Ships of the Line (2007) calendar, entitled "Deployed".


The aeroshuttle, called an "aerowing", was used in the comic book Star Trek: Voyager - Splashdown issue 2.

While the playable Intrepid-class science vessel in Star Trek Online initially didn't feature the Aeroshuttle, it was added as an optional console that came with the Tier 6 Pathfinder-class variant in the Delta Rising expansion.

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