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Original Configuration
Type: Heavy Cruiser
Length: 289 meters
Beam: 132 meters
Draft: 73 meters
Mass: <1,000,000 metric tons
Crew: 430 (43 officers, 387 enlisted
Maximum Speed: Warp 8 (Cochrane scale)
Armament: 2 to 6 phaser emitters, 2 to 6 photon torpedo launchers
Defenses: Deflector shields
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Refit Configuration
Type: Heavy Cruiser
Length: 305 meters
Beam: 141 meters
Draft: 71 meters
Mass: <1,000,000 metric tons
Crew: 500 (72 officers, 428 enlisted)
Armament: 18 phaser emitters (6x2, 6x1), 2 photon torpedo launchers (1x2)
Defenses: Deflector shields

The Constitution-class starships were the premier front-line Starfleet vessels in the latter half of the 23rd century. They were designed for long duration missions with minimal outside support and are best known for their celebrated missions of galactic exploration and diplomacy which typically lasted up to five years.

History

The Constitution class lineage was launched in 2245, and served as Starfleet's front-line vessels for the rest of the century. The Constitution class also served as a mighty deterrent to both the Klingon and Romulan Empires, several times taking part in combat actions which determined the fate of the entire Federation if not the Alpha Quadrant itself. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)

The Constitution class design was probably refurbished some time between 2254 (when the USS Enterprise had a crew complement of 203) and 2266 (when the Enterprise held an increased crew complement of over 400). (TOS: "The Cage", "Charlie X")

In addition to the prototype USS Constitution, at least 11 other Constitution-class vessels were commissioned: USS Enterprise, USS Constellation, USS Defiant, USS Excalibur, USS Exeter, USS Hood, USS Kongo, USS Lexington, USS Potemkin, and USS Yorktown.

As of stardate 2947.3 (2267), at least 10 of the 12 deployed Constitution-class starships underwent refurbishment upgrades at Starbase 11. This project was monitored by Commodore Stone. A number of these upgrades included interfaces, stations, equipment, small arms, and crew quarters increasing the standard compliment from 203 to 400-430 personnel. (TOS: "Court Martial")

The most famous Constitution class starship was the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), launched under the command of Captain Robert April in 2245. The Enterprise gained its reputation during its historical five year mission (2265-2270) under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. (VOY: "Q2")

In 2266, on stardate 1709, the Enterprise was instrumental in preventing a war between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire. When a Romulan Bird-of-Prey crossed the Romulan Neutral Zone and destroyed several Earth Outpost Stations, Captain Kirk barely managed to outwit the enemy commander and stop his vessel from returning to Romulus and reporting on the Federation's weakness. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

In late-2268, the Constitution class vessels Excalibur, Hood, Lexington and Potemkin took part in the disastrous testing of the M-5 computer, which had been placed in control of the Enterprise. The Excalibur was severely damaged, with all hands lost. The Lexington also was brutally assaulted by the M-5 computer when the unit became unstable. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")

File:Defiant-NCC1764.jpg

Later that year, the Constitution class starship Defiant responded to a distress call from an unexplored sector of space, claimed by the Tholian Assembly. Shortly upon entering the region, the Defiant crew began experiencing sensory distortion, and insanity quickly spread throughout the ship. The ship's medical surgeon was unable to determine what was happening, and eventually the insanity induced by the phenomenon lead the crew to kill each other.

Three weeks later, Starfleet ordered the Enterprise to mount a search mission to locate the Defiant. On stardate 5693.2, the Enterprise located her adrift, lost between universes in a space warp. As a result of a later phaser exchange between the Enterprise and several Tholian vessels, a hole was created through the spatial interphase, pushing the Defiant to parts unknown. The Defiant emerged in the 22nd century Mirror Universe, where the Tholians of that universe had created the interphase rift by detonating a tri-cobalt warhead within the gravity well of a dead star. It appeared that the Defiant would go on to play a major role in Empress Sato's rule over the Earth. However, it is unclear whether Sato's bid to become Empress actually succeeded, or what the final disposition of the Defiant in that universe was, as the Mirror Universe of the 23rd Century exhibited no significant advances in technology nor any evidence of knowledge of the 'real' universe. (TOS: "The Tholian Web"; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")

Refit configuration

In the late 2260s to early 2270s, the Constitution class starships underwent a major refit program. The actual refitting took eighteen months of work and essentially a new vessel was built onto the bones of the old, replacing virtually every major system. Thus the Constitution-class continued in service for a further twenty years.

Essential upgrades were made to the Constitution class' warp systems; the old cylindrical nacelles were replaced with new angular ones, and also the warp nacelle struts were new, as they were connected to the engineering hull much closer to the neck than before. The engineering hull roughly retained its original shape — while the original hull was essentially a conical cylinder, the refit was much more rounded. As for the interior of the hull, the most obvious upgrades were the enlargement of the shuttle deck and landing bay, as well as the addition of a horizontal matter-antimatter reaction assembly and a vertical intermix chamber.

New also was the installment of the double photon torpedo launcher with its rectangular housing in the neck of the vessel. Furthermore, the saucer section was considerably extended (almost 20 meters), while the rest of the surface remained about the same. Major changes were made to the interior of the Constitution class starship; however, many new systems were added and existing ones upgraded Summarizing, only the internal structure of the saucer and very little of the engineering hull and neck may have survived the 2271-upgrade. ("Star Trek: The Motion Picture")

Technical data

Physical arrangement

File:Constitution class original saucer.jpg
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The Constitution-class starships were one of the first to feature the saucer-engineering hull design, which would later become recognizable for most other Starfleet vessels. The Main Bridge was located on top of the primary hull, while an emergency bridge was located deep within the saucer. Various science labs were located in the primary hull superstructure beneath the bridge in the class' original configuration, but the labs would be the relocated in favor of an officers' lounge and dining area after the 2270s refit. (Franz Joseph's Star Trek Blueprints and Shane Johnson's Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise)

The modular design of the Constitution-class allowed for component seperation in times of crisis. The primary and secondary hulls could seperate where the connecting "neck" joined the saucer, allowing either section to serve as a lifeboat if the other was too badly damaged. If an emergency was confined to the warp engine nacelles, it was possible to eject them while keeping the bulk of the vessel intact. (TOS: "The Apple", "The Savage Curtain")

Though not aerodynamic craft, in emegencies, Constitution-class vessels were able to de-orbit and enter a Class M planet's upper atmosphere (and maintain attitude control while passing through it) for a limited period of time, conditional on the ship's ability to re-achieve escape velocity. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday")

Command and control systems

Constitution class bridge console

A duotronic-based data-input console

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USS Defiant (NCC-1764) bridge

Main Bridge of the USS Defiant (2268)

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The Constitution class' primary command center, the Main Bridge, is located on top of the vessel's primary hull, on Deck 1. From here, the commanding officer supervised the entire starship's operation. The command chair was located in the recessed area at the center of the room, in a direct line with the main viewer. This postition was equidistant from all the control consoles that operated specific areas of the ship. Consequently, the captain could be immediately updated on the condition of the vessel or its crew durings missions, and orders could be given clearly with a minimum of effort. The chair was mounted on a circular pillar, attached to a retangular footplate that was directly anchored to the deck, giving it considerable support during an attack. It was designed to swivel on the support so that the captain could turn to any member of the bridge crew.

Navigation and vessel course control were carried out at the helm console, located in the center of the room, positioned in front of the command chair. This panel consisted of three main sections. On the far left was a flap which opened automatically to permit operation of the targeting scanner. Next to this was the main helm control panel, which operated maneuvering thrusters, impulse engines, and the warp drive. Directly below this panel was a row of eight flip-switches provided to set warp flight speeds. The central section of the conn panel was fitted with a number of sensor monitor lights, and was dominated by two main features: the alert indicator and the astrogator, which was used for long-range course plotting. The navigator's stations had a control panel for inputting course and heading data and the flight path indicator, and supplied information on any deviations or course corrections in progress. It also had controls for the weapons systems.

Other stations on the bridge were provided for communications, engineering, weapons control, gravity control, damage control, environmental engineering, sciences and library computer, and internal security. All stations were normally manned at all times.

Mounted into the room's forward bulkhead, on the ship's centerline, was the main viewscreen. Visual sensor pickups located at various points on the Constitution-class' outer hull were capable of image magnification and allowed a varied choice of viewing angles. Only one turbolift serviced the bridge of the original configuration Constitution class starship. On the refit vessel, the bridge had access to two. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

The Star Fleet Technical Manual, now considered apocryphal, states that the bridge was rotated 36° port, which would have the turbolift shaft travel down the centerline of the saucer section. No good reason is given as to why the bridge crew would be looking in another direction than they were travelling.

The computer systems aboard the Constitution class starship were duotronic based. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer"; DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

Upgrades

The bridge of the Constitution class starships were subject to many minor and major cosmetic changes over their many years of service. In particular, the Main Bridge of the USS Enterprise seems to have underwent considerable changes in appearance over the years. Most notably, its systems were fully upgraded along with the Enterprise refit of 2271. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

The bridge underwent only a few minor modifications from that point until the destruction of the ship in 2285. The bridge of the USS Enterprise-A commissioned one year later (in 2286), had mostly cosmetic differences at launch, but, by 2287, it had been drastically upgraded to reflect the advances made in computer control technology. The bridge module had again been replaced by 2293. The lighter colour scheme of the original Enterprise-A bridges had made room for a darker, more militaristic look. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Propulsion systems

File:USS Enterprise model.jpg

Until 2260, the Constitution class was furnished with a lithium-controlled matter-antimatter reaction assembly, while a dilithium-controlled MARA was installed that year. The vessel's standard cruising speed was Warp 6 (216c), while its maximum cruising speed was Warp 8 (512c). Maximum warp speed was reached by the USS Enterprise at Warp 14.1 (2803c) due to sabotage to the vessel's warp drive system. (TOS: "That Which Survives")

Constitution class refit impulsedrive

A close-up of the refit configuration impulse drive

Following the 2271 refit of the class, the Constitition was equipped with a linear dilithium-controlled MARA, and a pulse dilithium-controlled assembly was installed in 2285 aboard the USS Enterprise.

The Constitution-class' impulse drive system was a twin-port fusion reactor engine, capable of velocities at least 0.8c. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Main Engineering

Constitution original engineering2

Engineering in 2266

Constitution original engineering

Engineering in 2268

Constitution Engineering

Upper Engineering level on a refit Constitution

Constitution class refit engineering

Refit configuration Main Engineering deck in 2272

Main Engineering was from where the ship's warp system was controlled. All thrust and power systems were primarily controlled from this site, and it is also where the main dilithium crystal reactor was located. Life support was controlled seperately from Deck 6. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer", "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Naked Time", "The Enemy Within", "The Conscience of the King", "Day of the Dove")

During the 2271 Constitution class refit, the interior design of the engineering section was drastically upgraded, featuring the vertical warp core and the horizontal intermix area. Main Engineering was lodged on Decks 14 and 15. Deck 14 was the uppermost level of the engineering hull, and was the anchoring framework for the connecting dorsal and the warp nacelle pylons. On the forward end of the deck was the engineering computer monitoring room, which encircled the cortical intermix shaft and opens, to the rear, into the engineering computer bay.

Deck 15 housed the main engineering room. Located in the centre of the room, and extending for many levels both above and below the deck, was the vertical linear intermix chamber. This complex, radically new design in intermix technology, provided operational power for the impulse drive system and furnished enough additional energy to power all other shipboard systems. Both matter and antimatter for this chamber were contained in a series of magnetic bottles, which were housed in pods at the base of the intermix shaft. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Tactical systems

Constitution class refit torpedo

Torpedo bay (refit configuration)

Constitution class refit configuration phasers

A refit Constitution vessel fires its forward phasers

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Originally, the Constitution- class heavy cruisers were equipped with high-powered lasers, but by the 2260s, phasers had been installed. The ship's phasers had an effective range of 300,000 kilometers and were normally used in sublight combat. Phasers could be adjusted to different settings: when the ship was in planetary orbit, an experienced operator could use them to stun, heat, or disintegrate objects or beings on the surface. The main phaser banks were forward of the sensor dome, on the ventral side of the saucer. Aft-facing banks were on the stern, above the shuttlebay. Port and starboard banks covered the ship's flanks. (TOS: "The Cage", "Balance of Terror", "Arena", et al.; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")

During the 2260s, photon torpedoes were effective at distances up to 750,000 kilometers. Photon torpedoes gathered momentum from their launcher, and their velocity sustained by a small onboard engine, making them an effective offense when travelling at warp. Photon torpedoes contained packets of matter and antimatter which were held apart by magnetic seals until forced together to generate an explosion. Ships of the Constitution class had photon torpedo launchers fore and aft at their disposal. ("Briefing: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701", Star Trek: The Magazine, July 1999, issue 3; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")

After the refits of the 2370s, "Constitution"-class ships carried six dual-emitter phaser banks, covering forward, port and starboard on either face of the saucer; as well as the aft bank above the shuttlebay. Post-refit vessels sacrificed their aft torpedo launcher for a more advanced, twin-tube forward launcher. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Transporter systems

Constitution original transporter

Transporter room in the 2260s

Constitution class refit transporter

Refit configuration transporter room

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Extravehicular transporter to and from the ship was accomplished by a number of transporter systems, which allowed personnel or equipment to be transported over large ranges. The transporter platform featured six pads, which were numbered clockwise, beginning with the right front. A redesigned field generator matrix was mounted into the rear wall of the chamber aboard the refit configuration Constitution class starships.

Aboard the refited Constitution class vessels, the transporter operator stood within an enclosed control pod, which had a floor-to-ceiling transparent aluminium panel through which he or she could view the transport platform. This panel served to shield the operator from the effects of any cumulative radiations emitted by the new transporter machinery, a side effect of the more powerful system.

A door in the standard transporter room wall led to a staging area where landing parties prepared for transporter. Four spacesuit lockers line one wall; each containing one suit, providing enough to clothe a standard party of four. A small, locked arms cabinet held phasers; communicators, tricorders, translators, and outerwear were contained in a separate cabinet on another wall. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Landing bay and cargo facilities

File:HangarDeck.jpg
Constitution class refit landingbay

Landing bay on a refit configuration vessel

Deck 17 was the main access level of the engineering hull. The aft landing bay provided personnel in small craft with a means of entering or exiting the vessel, as did docking port on either side of the level.

The original configuration of the Constitution-class carried a standard complement of 4 Class F shuttlecraft. (TOS: "The Omega Glory")

The refit configuration Constitution class starship featured a new landing bay design. A wide range of Starfleet and Federation craft could utilize this state-of-the-art landing facility. Alcoves on either side of the landing bay provided storage for up to six standard work bees, and furnished all necessary recharging and refuelling equipment. Additional space was available for the storage of non-ship shuttlecraft.

Just within the landing bay doors was a force field generator unit, which was built into the main bulkheads on either side of the entry area. This field allowed craft to enter the ship, while at the same time retaining the atmosphere and temperature within the landing bay.

Deck 18, the refit configuration shuttlecraft hanger bay, was situated at the widest point of the engineering hull. Much of the deck consisted of open space, as it was the midlevel of the cargo facility; thirty-two cargo pod modules could be stored in the alcoves lining the forward, port, and starboard sides of the bay. The shuttle hangar had sufficient room for the storage of four craft at any given time. During normal storage situations, these shuttlecraft faced aft ward.

This deck also housed the vessel's lifeboat facilities. These one-man craft, which escaped through blow-away panels in the side of the secondary hull, were provided for those persons were unable to reach the primary hull in case of an emergency. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Crew support systems

Constitution class refit sickbay

Intensive Care Unit on a refit configuration vessel

Constitution class refit examination room

Refit configuration examination room

Medical systems

On the original Constitution class starships, a Sickbay facility was located on Deck 6, which featured an examination room, a nursery, the Chief Medical Officer's office and a medical lab. At least one other medical lab was located elsewhere on the vessel, and was used for biopsy among other things. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

The sickbay set of the pilot episode Where No Man Has Gone Before underwent considerable changes following the shooting of the episode for the remainder of the series.

With the class refit of 2271, the Medical Facilities of the Constitution class starship were considerably updated. New micro-diagnostic tables were capable of fully analyzing the humanoid body at the sub-cellular level, offering the physician a total understanding of the patient's status. Another new addition was a medical stasis unit, in which patients whose conditions were considered immediately life-threatening could be placed into suspended animation until the proper cure or surgical procedure could be established. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Crew quarters

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Constitution class refit officers quarters

Officers' quarters on a refit configuration Constitution

Crew quarters were located throughout the saucer section — keeping with Starfleet tradition, Deck 5 housed the senior officers' quarters. On the refit configuration vessels, these staterooms were quite similar to the V.I.P. units on Deck 4, with only a few differences.

On starships of the original configuration, the officers' quarters featured two areas, seperated partly by a wall fragment. One area was allocated as sleeping area, featuring a comfortable bed, and another as work area, including a desk and computer terminal. Entrance to a bathroom was provided through the quarter's sleeping area. Both areas could be configured to personal preference. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly"; TOS: "The Enemy Within")

On the original series, several "different" crew quarters were seen, but always the same set was used, changed by different lighting designs and furniture configuration.

On Constitution class vessels of the staterooms of the senior officers were composed of two areas which were separated by a retractable, transparent aluminum partition. The room's entrance opened into the living area. A library computer terminal and work desk were provided here. The room's corner circular nook, normally occupied by a dining booth, could be modified at the officer's request. The other half of the stateroom was a sleeping area, which held a single large bed that could double as sofa during off-duty relaxation. A transparent door led into the bathroom area. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Recreational facilities

Constitution class original recreation

A typical recreation room (2260s)

Aboard the original Constitution class starships, there were at least six recreation rooms, which included three dimensional chess and card game tables. Also aboard were a gymnasium, a bowling alley, a threatre, and a chapel. (TOS: "Charlie X", "The Naked Time", "The Conscience of the King")

Constitution class refit recreation

Recreation room (refit configuration, 2270s)

On the refitted Constitution class vessels, recreational facilities were further expanded. One large room in the aft section of the starship's saucer section furnished off-duty personnel with a wide variety of recreational games and entertainment.

At the front of the room was an immense, wall-mounted viewing screen. Beneath this was an information display alcove; five small screens exhibited, upon request, a choice of pictorial histories. A raised platform in the center of the lower level floor featured a diversity of electronic entertainment. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Officers' lounge
Constitution class refit lounge

Officers' lounge privacy area on a Constitution class vessel of the refit lineage

Located at the stern of Deck 2 aboard the Refit Configuration Constitution class starship was the officers' lounge. Here, four huge view ports afforded a spectacular view of the ship's warp nacelles and space beyond. To the sides, small plant areas held flora from several worlds and a small pool featured fresh-water tropical fish. Just forward of this section of the lounge were two privacy areas. In each privacy area, a view screen was mounted into the wall, providing a full exterior tour of the vessel. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Ships Commissioned

Constitutions formation

Four Constitutions fly in formation

Uncertain Ships

Appendices

Appearances

Background

As art director on the original series, Walter Matthew "Matt" Jefferies was given the assignment to design the Enterprise itself. His only guidelines were Roddenberry's firm list of what he did not want to see: not any rockets, nor jets, nor firestreams. The starship was not to look like a classic, and thus dated, science-fiction rocketship, but neither could it resemble anything that would too quickly date the design. Somewhere between the cartoons of the past and the reality of the present, Matt Jefferies had to give at a design of the future.

Jefferies Enterprise sketch

The sketch Gene Roddenberry and Herb Solow approved

The theory that space could be warped was first proposed by Albert Einstein in 1905, and first demonstrated, according to Star Trek canon, by Zefram Cochrane in 2063, providing that objects could travel faster than the speed of light. Warp drive is a delicately balanced, intricate web of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and mystery.

"I was concerned about the design of ship that Gene told me would have 'warp' drive," Jefferies explained. "I thought, 'What the hell is warp drive?' But I gathered that this ship had to have powerful engines – extremely powerful. To me, that meant that they had to be designed away from the body. Boy, I tried a lot of ideas. I wanted to stay away from the flying saucer shape. The ball or sphere, as you'll see in some of the sketches, was my idea, but I ended up with the saucer after all. Gene would come in to look over what I was doing and say, 'I don't like this,' or, 'This looks good.' If Gene liked it, he'd ask the Boss (Herbert Solow) and if the Boss liked it, then I'd work on that idea for a while."

Constitution class model

The model

So I worked on it for a while, and a couple of weeks later Herb and Gene came in. They liked a bit of this and a bit of that, and I worked on those bits. And then I came up with something I really like, so I preloaded it – used lots of color and put it in a prominent place that made it kind of stand out. And that worked! It looked better than the other sketches and Gene said, 'That one looks good!' They – and Bobby Justman, too, when he came aboard later – were a dream to work with."

Designing the bridge

Concerning the design of the Enterprise's bridge, Jefferies explained: "It was pretty well established with the model that the thing was going to be in a full circle. From there it became a question of how we were going to make it, how it could come apart, where the cameraman could get into it. [...]"

Jefferies bridge sketch

Matt Jefferies' bridge floorplan.

"I decided that the crewman would work like in the navy, so foten would be on for four hours, off eight hours, and it had better be comfortable. The switches would all be so that the crewman doesn't have to reach for anything. Each of the viewing screens would be at right-angles to his eyes, and we drew a full size section of the bridge that way. I wanted an all-black instrument panel that would light up form behind which is pretty much what we came up with. I did all of the artwork on each one of the instruments, and got the negative, put the colour on the negative and mounted 'em under black glass. I was still assembling those things on one side of the bridge when they were shooting the other side..."

William Shatner, director on The Final Frontier, had been so impressed with Herman Zimmerman's work on The Next Generation as production designer that he hired Zimmerman to upgrade the Enterprise interiors for the film. Hence the upgraded bridge from the movie resembles the bright atmosphere portrayed in The Next Generation. For The Undiscovered Country, however, the bridge was once more redesigned to reflect director Nicholas Meyer's more militaristic approach on Star Trek.

An Enterprise that never was

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Ralph McQuarrie, best known to the public for his stunning production designs for the Star Wars films, was hired by Ken Adam to help develop the designs for a new Star Trek movie, ultimately abandoned to make way for Star Trek: Phase II, the new television series.

Their Enterprise-design, however, was abandoned, and Roddenberry asked Matt Jefferies to update the famous starship to reflect the refit that would be part of the series' backstory. Jefferies' redesign changed the engine nacelles from tubes to thin, flat-sided modules, and tapered their supports. He also added the distinctive photon torpedo ports on the saucer connector.

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"Basically," Jefferies said, "what I did to it was change the power units, and make a slight change in the struts that supported them. I gave the main hull a taper, then I went flat-sided and thin with the power units, rather than keeping the cylindrical shape. Trying to work out the logic of the refit, I knew a lot of the equipment inside would change, but I didn't see that there would be any need to change the exterior of the saucer. Certainly, though, the engines would be a primary thing to change. Part of the theory of the ship's design in the first place was that we didn't know what these powerful things were or how devastating it would be if anything went awry, so that's why we kept them away from the crew. And that meant they could be easily changed if you had to replace one."

Unlike the first redesign of the Enterprise, Jefferies' new version was built this time by Don Loos, who had built the original ship for the original series. But when Paramount abandoned its plans to create a fourth television network and subsequently transformed the second Star Trek series into the first movie, that Enterprise was packed away as movie director Robert Wise brought in a new art director — Richard Taylor — who assigned Andrew Probert to do a second redesign of the ship, essentially keeping with Jefferies' new lines, while adding the extensive detail that was necessary for a motion-picture miniature.

Creating a Motion Picture Enterprise

For Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a new Enterprise was designed by Andrew Probert, based upon Mike Minor's concepts for Star Trek: Phase II. Other artists who worked on the refit design were Joe Jennings, Douglas Trumbull, and Harold Michelson.

Officers lounge location

Probert's suggestion for the officers' lounge's location

Officers lounge concept

Officers' lounge concept art

As art director Richard Taylor felt that they should stay with the proportions inherited from Jefferies' upgraded Enterprise for Star Trek: Phase II, Probert lengthened the ship with merely a few feet and enlarged the saucer, eventually adding an updated superstructure to the top and bottom of it. Additionally, he came up with the new photon torpedo launcher, redesigned the whole navigational deflector dish area, updated the impulse engine, and added phaser banks around the ship.

One of Probert's key concerns as production illustrator on The Motion Picture was that the sets built somehow conformed to the structure of the starship they were supposed to exist within. Here we see Andrew Probert's development sketches for an officer's lounge in the saucer section's upper dome. Probert's concept art was, however, not used for the movie, and a much cheaper set was constructed for the scene.

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TMP Enterprise cut

Cutaway sketch

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Probert's main contribution for the Enterprise interior came in the form of the vessel's cargo deck, thoughts on which had already been visualized by veteran Mike Minor, before Probert had a chance to address it. Minor worked at the Paramount lot, while Probert was at the Robert Abel special effects facility designing various pieces of space hardware.

The thinking, then at Paramount under production designer Harold Michelson, was that the cargo bay would be a space 30 feet high that had two walls with twelve holes containing cargo pods. Mike Minor's cargo deck design shows us cargo pods simply stacked or lined up on the deck, leaving a huge open and unused space above. The walkways along the sides were also rather old fashioned looking.

The image to the right shows the plate of the cargo deck scene, filmed from Kirk's perspective as he enters the new Enterprise. What Andrew Probert was required to do was to get a frame of plate film and have it printed at a pre-determined size. Part of this frame, required for the live action elements, would be cut out and pasted to a piece of illustration board. The remaining blank board, intended to be the matte, would then be painted around that piece, blending the two together.

Following a discussion with Douglas Trumbull examining the logic of the early cargo deck concepts, this elevation sketch of the Enterprise was drawn by Andrew Probert upon Trumbull's question how the pods would get in and out of the cargo deck. What Probert proposed was that the landing bay and cargo deck be connected, allowing the easy passage of cargo trains.

The idea was that shuttles would normally take off from and land in the landing bay. They then could be lowered to the Hanger Bay level, or lowered another level to shuttle maintenance. A multi-paneled two-story door, between the elevators and cargo bay, has been opened to the sides allowing the transfer of cargo.

Apocrypha

  • Although not stated explicity, Vulcan and other alien design elements such as from the Vahklas (from "Fusion" (ENT)) apparently went into the original construction of Constitution class ships. The 2260's marked the last mention of UESPA, suggesting that the various defense and exploration agencies of Federation member worlds were finally combined around this period.
  • Saucer separation for the Constitution-class, mentioned in "The Apple" (TOS) but never seen on film, has made non-canonical appearances. In the DC Comic "Star Trek: Debt of Honor", Kirk used "explosive bolts" to sever the connection between the saucer module and the engineering section. The same trick was used again in the DC Comic "Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Saga"; where Kirk and his crew escaped the self-destruction of ISS Enterprises engineering section in a last-minute separation. Another Constitution-class ship, the USS Confederate, was shown operating without its' saucer section in Marvel Comics "Star Trek Unlimited" Issue 4; after the crew abandoned the engineering hull via saucer separation due to a failure in an experimental propulsion system upgrade. In the early drafts of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", the Enterprise was to separate the saucer. The 2006 "Ships of the Line" Calender includes a picture of a separated Constitution-class ship, engaging Klingons in battle.

Consitution class registery

Although not considered canon, several sources have produced a long list of Constitution class starships. The main source was Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual, which listed over 100 Constitution class ships divided into sub-classes: Constitution, Bonhomme Richard, Achernar and Tikopai. Ships of the class were later expanded by other publications such as Ships of the Starfleet which included the Endeavour, Enterprise and Enterprise (II) sub-classes.

Footnotes

  • Registry numbers: Although the Star Trek Encyclopedia and other references provide complete registry numbers for many Constitution class ships, these numbers are at best conjecture. Many of the Encyclopedia's numbers, especially, were derived from the faulty assumption that the list seen on the wall at Starbase 11 in "Court Martial" were all Constitutions. Many fans now doubt that claim.
  • Uncertain ships: These ships have been listed in various references as Constitutions, but were never seen on screen as such, and are therefore of uncertain class.
  • Starship" class: If you read the dedication plaque on the bridge of the original Enterprise, it was actually listed as "Starship Class". The term Constitution class came later, probably from "The Trouble with Tribbles", where the display that Scotty is reading shows a phaser bank diagram for a "Constitution class" starship. Though it was "understood" to have been Constitution Class by both production staff and fans alike, the first time it was actually referred to as such was by Captain Jean-Luc Picard in "The Naked Now" (TNG).
  • Enterprise" class: The exact designation of the Constitution refit is a divisive one within Star Trek fandom. Some maintain that the comprehensive nature of the refit of the Constitutions between TOS and the movie era constitutes a new starship class, while others consider the two types maintaining the same profile and hull geometry as keeping the class consistent.
  • USS Yorktown: Gene Roddenberry suggested that the USS Enterprise-A was first designated as USS Yorktown, and later recommissioned as USS Enterprise-A, probably because Yorktown was one of the names for the ship being considered when TOS was going into production.
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