The Cousteau was a Federation captain's yacht that was in service with Starfleet in the late 24th century, attached to USS Enterprise-E. Cousteau was a large auxiliary craft which normally docked on the ventral side of the saucer section, opposite the bridge, and immediately below the saucer torpedo launcher. When connected to the Enterprise, only the bottom side of the yacht was exposed to space; the top of the craft was concealed by the Enterprise and the warp nacelles were folded against the hull. Upon launch, the Cousteau nacelles folded downward and the entire ship dropped away from the Enterprise.
The Cousteau contained a cockpit (with a dedication plaque), a small transporter and cargo area, and a docking port which made a direct connection to the Enterprise-E. It was capable of atmospheric flight and landing on a planetary surface. It could also generate tachyon bursts. Only one pilot was needed to fly the craft.
In 2375, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his senior staff took the Cousteau to the Ba'ku planet as part of a plan to prevent the forced relocation of the Ba'ku by the Son'a. The yacht carried several weapons and transport inhibitors to the surface, which were deployed by the crew in order to keep the Son'a from removing the Ba'ku from the planet. Later, Data used the Cousteau to create a diversion by firing tachyon bursts into Ru'afo's ship's shields, forcing him to reset his shield harmonics and allowing Worf to transport the bridge crew to the Federation holoship. Ru'afo was able to seriously damage the Cousteau before he was transported from his ship. (Star Trek: Insurrection)
The Cousteau was described as "a diplomatic cruising vessel that's docked out for touring," by designer John Eaves, who noted: "It's almost 110 feet long, so it's a pretty big ship." (The Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection, p. 39)
Star Trek: Starship Spotter classified the Cousteau as a Mark 2 Captain's Yacht.
A deleted scene established that the Cousteau disintegrated in the atmosphere of the Ba'ku planet shortly after Data's attack. The yacht was not shown attached to the Enterprise-E at the end of the film, so it was possible the yacht was destroyed.
The Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 117, 165), in the entries "captain's yacht" and "Cousteau", stated the Cousteau was destroyed. It further stated in the notes to the former entry, "The Enterprise-E yacht was named Cousteau at the urging of Patrick Stewart, in honor of the French oceanographer. The name was inscribed on a dedication plaque in the ship's cabin. Cousteau was designed by Herman Zimmerman and John Eaves." In the third edition of the Star Trek Encyclopedia (p. 590), the name of the yacht was said to have been chosen by producer Rick Berman.
This might be the second captain's yacht and the third auxiliary vessel under Captain Picard named the Cousteau. In the notes to the "captain's yacht", in the fourth edition of the Star Trek Encyclopedia, the authors wrote, "The yacht on the Enterprise-D was apparently also named Cousteau, although we never saw it in use."
- See: Cousteau model