In 2267, NCC-1700 was listed as one of several vessels undergoing repair. Commodore Stone referred to this chart when the USS Enterprise arrived at Starbase 11 following an encounter with an ion storm. (TOS: "Court Martial")
|USS Ahwahnee • USS Constellation • USS Defiant • USS Eagle • USS Emden • USS Endeavour • USS Enterprise • USS Enterprise-A • USS Excalibur • USS Exeter • USS Hood • USS Intrepid • USS Korolev • USS Lexington • USS Potemkin • NCC-1700 • Unnamed|
|Mirror universe: USS Defiant • ISS Enterprise|
|Alternate reality: USS Enterprise • USS Enterprise-A • Unnamed|
This starship has never been named in the Star Trek canon. The registry number was first seen in "Court Martial" and was associated with a Constitution-class vessel via a schematic in "Datalore". This ship was named the USS Constitution, and stated that it was the class leader of the Constitution-class according to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 159). Michael Okuda, author of the Encyclopedia, based his marrying of the registry to the name by taking his cue from Gregory Jein's influential 1973 article, "The Case of Jonathan Doe Starship". Star Trek studio model builder Jein in turn, had made an attempt in the article to "logically" couple the registry numbers as seen in "Court Martial" with the names listed in the 1968 reference book The Making of Star Trek, and selected the Constitution as the class vessel for a newer "MK IX sub-class", in order to make sense of the lower registry numbers.  The "MK IX" specifier was actually used, but unreadable on a graphic on a computer screen that Scott was reading, showing a phaser bank diagram for the class in the second season episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" of Star Trek: The Original Series.
The name Constitution had already been established by the producers at the start of the second season of the Original Series, when they composed a definitive fourteen ship list belonging to the Constitution-class, then still referred to as "Starship-class" by them, including the Constitution. D.C. Fontana's earlier "(…)famous fighting ships of the past(…)" annotation on her first memo proposal, not yet featuring the name, indicated that the producers had the 18th century American warship USS Constitution – one of the first six commissioned by the United States Navy – in mind when adding the name to the list, making her, like her fictional counterpart, a class sister of the historical USS Constellation. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 164-165) But unlike the fictional USS Constellation, the Original Series has afforded no opportunity to actually feature the ship.
Diagrams seen on monitors of any Constitution-class ship created for the second and third outings of the Star Trek films, depict graphics derived from the Star Fleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph, who incidentally also coupled the registry number to the USS Constitution as the likewise MK IX class vessel, of the ship being labeled "NCC-1700". The complete original drawing (which was otherwise near indiscernible and/or illegible in its on-screen movie appearances) in the Star Fleet Technical Manual bears the label "Constitution class" in the accompanying text. Incidentally, it was only in the manual and its companion publication, Star Trek Blueprints, both fully licensed and considered "official" by the franchise at the time – which Jein's article as a fan publication was not – , that the name "USS Constitution" was married to its registry for the first time, that is, officially at least. It is therefore somewhat ironic that Jein's article implicitly became official in later years due to its full endorsement by Encyclopedia author Mike Okuda, whereas Joseph's work has subsequently been debunked as official by the franchise, relegated to the status of apocrypha. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 11, p. 71)
Subtle differences between the depictions of NCC-1700 in the Franz Joseph drawings used, and that of NCC-1701 in "The Enterprise Incident" suggests that some minor design differences existed between the two ships. The TOS Enterprise had different dimensions than the Franz Joseph Constitution, as Joseph's drawing had bulkier nacelles and different curves on the saucer and primary hull. Joseph's depiction of the Constitution also featured external phaser mounts and other technical details the original Enterprise model lacked.
It's as of 2018 continued non-canon status notwithstanding, both production and fan circles alike have endorsed the notion of the "USS Constitution (NCC-1700)", and is consistently adhered to in the plethora of in-universe reference works that have been published since.
This vessel has also been mentioned in several licensed publications. The depictions of the ship vary as those sources were created separately from the filmed version.
- Constitution, Enterprise, Crisis on Centaurus, Cloak, The Wounded Sky, The Pandora Principle and the Errand of Vengeance series all mention the ship (as "NX-1700", circa 2240s, Admiral William M. Jefferies (β) commanding). The novel Final Frontier by Diane Carey lists the background of the Constitution as NCC-1700, however the contract was drawn prior to certain technological advancements. Rather than changing the contract, Starfleet chose to draw another contract, NCC-1701. Captain Robert April was given discretion as to the name of the vessel, leaning towards the USS Constitution, however George Kirk advised April to name the starship Enterprise for the ideals that the naval ships of that name represented.
- Games and reference works:
Other sources have listed additional starships that have borne this name:
- USS Constitution (β) (Galaxy-class)
- USS Constitution (NCC-41869)
- In an alternate reality, commanded by Captain Robert Picard (Pocket TNG: Forever Dark)