When the Aurora approached the Romulan Neutral Zone in an attempt to evade pursuit, Captain Kirk deemed it necessary to tractor in the ship. In response, the crew of the Aurora pushed the ship to its limit, causing its engines to seriously overheat. The vessel was destroyed as the Enterprise transported the vessel's complement of six aboard. (TOS: "The Way to Eden")
The script draft of 12 November 1968, described the ship as "(...) small, rather like the Enterprise shuttlecraft." In that draft version the ship was still called Argo. (Scenes 3 & 5, p. 2) In the draft version of 18 November, the name was changed to Aurora and the description abbreviated to "space cruiser". (Scenes 3 & 4, p. 1)
The studio model used in the original edition of "The Way to Eden" for the Aurora was a modification of one of the two Tholian ship studio models that previously appeared in "The Tholian Web". For its 2008 remastered counterpart, it was replaced by a newly conceived CGI model.
For further information on the model(s), see Class J starship studio model.
An explanation of the strange original version look of the Aurora was attempted in the Star Trek Maps, which stated:
- "Space cruisers like the S.S. Aurora have been in use for over a century, and are based on a Vulcan design originally used for interplanetary travel. Essentially a 21-meter-long space yacht, space cruisers have a range of several dozen parsecs and can carry provisions for up to six passengers and crew."
The diagram, appearing on Chart B, depicts the Aurora with a registry of NCC-C1200, and a nacelle-style more akin to those found on a class F shuttlecraft.