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"I guess those Cali-class ships can hold their own longer than people think."

The California class, nicknamed the Cali class, was a type of Federation starship in service during the late 24th century. They were support ships designed for second contact missions. (LD: "Mining The Mind's Mines", "Trusted Sources")


Support ships

Two California-class ships in 2381

By the 2380s, the California class had been in service for a long time; as such some Starships of the class were beginning to "fall apart." However, new ships of the class continued to be commissioned. Starfleet Command was reluctant to change the senior staff of California-class starships. (LD: "Cupid's Errant Arrow", "No Small Parts", "First First Contact") At least one California-class ship, the USS Rubidoux, carried children aboard. (LD: "Much Ado About Boimler")

At least three ships of this class were lost in 2380: the USS Merced was critically damaged from exposure to terraforming emulsion that leaked from an ancient generation ship, the USS Rubidoux was subsumed by a space-dwelling lifeform, and the USS Solvang was destroyed with all hands by an enhanced Pakled vessel. (LD: "Moist Vessel", "Much Ado About Boimler", "No Small Parts") The Merced was eventually repaired and returned to service by the end of 2381. (LD: "The Stars At Night")

In 2381, Vice Admiral Les Buenamigo advocated decommissioning the California class and replacing them with his new Texas-class automated starships. Protesting that the Texas-class had not been tested, Captain Carol Freeman of the USS Cerritos convinced Starfleet Command to hold a "second contact race" between her ship and the USS Aledo. Though the Aledo won the race, it was later discovered its artificial intelligence not only blatantly disregarded the Prime Directive by planting its deliveries without regard of the possible ecological consequences that the organic competitors accounted for in their mission, but the AI's programming was fatally flawed due to possessing similar code to that used by Badgey, a hologram created by Ensign Sam Rutherford who developed patricidal impulses and had repeatedly attempted to murder Rutherford.

California class fleet

The entire California-class fleet arrives to defend the Cerritos

Unwilling to countenance a problem that could set his pet project back decades, Buenamigo switched the Aledo to independent control and ordered it to destroy the Cerritos. Instead, its AI went rogue, killing him and attacking Douglas Station alongside its sister ships. The Cerritos crew managed to bait them away and destroyed two of them by detonating its warp core between them, but this desperation attack left the Cerritos dead in the water while the Aledo survived. Meanwhile, Beckett Mariner had rallied all thirty-two other active ships of the California class to aid the Cerritos, and together they destroyed the Aledo. Thus with the discrediting and death of both Admiral Buenamigo himself and his project, the California class resecured its place in Starfleet. (LD: "The Stars At Night")

Technical data[]

Physical arrangement[]

USS Cerritos, ventral fore

Ventral forward view showing California-class configuration

The California class consisted of a saucer section with a pair of warp nacelle pylons attached directly to its ventral surface. The pylons contained turbolift access in their aft-most section. A small secondary hull, bearing the navigational deflector dish, was mounted between the nacelles via a second pair of pylons. (LD: "Second Contact")

Propulsion systems[]

The maximum safe velocity of the California class was warp 8. It could exceed this speed for short bursts, but at the risk of severe structural damage. The warp core was located in the secondary hull. The warp core ejection system required simultaneous authorization from two officers who each used a keycard to unlock it. (LD: "The Stars At Night")

Unlike Galaxy-class starships, the warp engine of this class incorporated inverted plasma distributors. It was believed that these caused the sound of their warp engines to be a little bit higher pitch, however, other sources maintained that the unique sound was caused by the vibrations in the dilithium dispersement manifold. (LD: "Terminal Provocations")

Tactical systems[]

The California class was armed with phaser arrays and photon torpedoes. The shield array of this class was capable of auto-repair, which was regulated by an isolinear core. If the core were removed, the shields would be drained faster than normal when under attack. (LD: "Terminal Provocations", "Strange Energies")

Interior design[]

The saucer section contained eleven decks. Among the noted shipboard facilities was Cetacean Ops. The corridors used graphenated corridor joists, which could be susceptible to fire. (LD: "Second Contact", "Terminal Provocations", "Reflections")

Main bridge[]

The bridge was located on Deck 2. The basic layout of the bridge was similar to bridges aboard Galaxy-class starships (specifically the bridge of the USS Enterprise-D). The captain's chair at the center, flanked by chairs for the first officer to the right, and an additional officer to the left. The first officer chair was equipped with a manual steering column. Unlike the bridges aboard Galaxy-class starships, the additional seats did not include side consoles. Behind the seats was the security station. (LD: "First First Contact")

Ready room[]

The captain's ready room was located off the bridge, with a single room-wide window to space. The room featured shelving and framing built into the walls, a desk and chairs, a replicator, and bench-style seating along the wall opposite the desk. (LD: "Second Contact")

Conference rooms[]

There were several conference rooms, including a senior conference room, executive conference room, and Conference Room 5. (LD: "Moist Vessel", "Veritas", "First First Contact")

Main engineering[]

USS Cerritos engine room

Main engineering


The main shuttlebay was located in the secondary hull and faced aft. Two additional shuttlebays were located on either side of the saucer section rim, spanning Decks 5 and 6 with further room for shuttlecraft storage deeper into Deck 6.

The ship carried a complement of at least five Type 6A shuttlecraft and had at least four Argo-type ground vehicle stored on Decks 5 and 7 adjacent to the shuttlebay. The MSD also depicted several Type 8 shuttlecraft. The ship also carried a captain's yacht in a separate bay. (LD: "Terminal Provocations")

Repair bay[]

USS Cerritos repair bay

Repair bay

This class contained a number of repair bays. (LD: "Envoys", "Veritas") Repair Bay 5 was located on Deck 11, close to the upper hull. (LD: "Reflections", "No Small Parts")

Storage bay[]

USS Cerritos cargo bay

Cargo bay

The class had at least seven storage bays. (LD: "An Embarrassment Of Dooplers")

Hydroponics bay[]

The class was equipped with a hydroponics bay that was said, by D'Vana Tendi, to be "great for biomedical research, or just for flower fans." Below the hydroponics bay was, in essence, a swamp that, on the Cerritos, contained dangerously high levels of nitrous oxide due to a Tamarian defrin root being cultivated on that vessel, which one of the Doopler emissary's duplicates fell victim to. (LD: "Room for Growth")

Transporter room[]

California class transporter room

Transporter pads

This class is known to have at least eight transporter rooms. (LD: "Second Contact")


Sickbay was located on Deck 8. The chief medical officer's office was room 08.019. (LD: "Mugato, Gumato")


USS Cerritos brig

The brig

The brig contained three prisoner cells, secured by force fields that could withstand the blast of a type 2 phaser set to kill. The brig was also equipped with a replicator. (LD: "Temporal Edict")

Recreation facilities[]

Upper decks of the saucer section had a bar where the crew could socialize. The mess hall was equipped with several large replicators and where the crew typically had their meals, breakfast in particular, but the bar also had two replicators imbedded within the two pillars on either side of the bar that could provide food. (LD: "Second Contact", "Room for Growth")

Deck 9 had squash courts near the crew quarters. (LD: "Second Contact")

The ship included at least three holodecks available for crew use. (LD: "wej Duj")

The ship had a gym with treadmills, weight training equipment, and an anbo-jyutsu area. There was also a large, padded room for martial arts practice. (LD: "Mugato, Gumato")

There was a gift shop where one could obtain ship-branded merchandise such as T-shirts and baseball caps. (LD: "The Spy Humongous")

Crew quarters[]

There were crew quarters on Deck 1 and Deck 4. (LD: "Room for Growth")

USS Cerritos corridor

Lower Decks sleeping quarters

The lower-ranking members were barracks-style sleeping quarters, where bunk beds lined the walls in a shared living space at the lower aft portion of the saucer section. Each bunk had its own assigned recessed compartment beside it, which was opened to extend out from the wall like a drawer, and the bunk occupant could use as a closet to store a few extra uniforms or other items. Also like a drawer, the compartment could be removed entirely from its recessed alcove if needed. (LD: "Terminal Provocations") This area also featured a large aft-facing viewing window overlooking the secondary hull. (LD: "Second Contact") Differing duty shifts each had their own sleeping quarters to live in. Beta shift's hallway was known to be on Deck 11. (LD: "Terminal Provocations") Higher ranking crew members were afforded their own quarters. (LD: "Moist Vessel")

Sonic showers[]

Sonic showers, USS Cerritos

Lower Decks sonic showers

Located off of the LD sleeping quarters were communal sonic showers. (LD: "Second Contact", "Kayshon, His Eyes Open")

Ships commissioned[]




Background information[]

USS Cerritos and USS Merced

Two California-class starships with yellow and blue striping

The California-class is named for the state of California. Ships of the class are named after cities located in California, and their shuttles are named after national parks.

Mike McMahan stated that the shuttles are all named after California State Parks, but apparently, he misspoke. [1]

Per series creator/showrunner Mike McMahan:

The ship is in great condition. It’s a California-class ship, which has always existed in Starfleet – [this is] what we’re saying – that they’re the utility support ships. In the California-class [line], there are three types of hull painting: there’s blue, red, and yellow.

We’ve extended the visual metaphor of the uniforms to the ships, and the Cerritos has yellow on the hull because it’s primarily a second contact engineering ship. They show up to planets that need engineering stuff done on them in order to be able to communicate with the Federation.

There’s also, you’ll see in the show, blue-hulled California-class ships, which are usually deployed to places where there has to be more medical expertise, and red-hulled ships that are like for moving around ambassadors and doing more command-level stuff. [2]

McMahan also stated that he was always a fan of the (Miranda-class) USS Reliant, and used that design mixed with the stylization of the (Galaxy-class) USS Enterprise-D as the visual inspiration for this class. (The Ready Room, "LD Season 1 Premiere Special")

Unlike most Federation starships, the ship's registry and name plate of the California-class was located aft of the bridge on the primary hull's dorsal surface.

According to Brad Winters, this class is 535.2 meters long and 121.3 meters high. [3]


The Star Trek: Coda novel The Ashes of Tomorrow features a California-class ship from an alternate timeline called the USS Saticoy (NCC-75404).

The California-class is a playable starship in Star Trek Online.

External links[]