Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
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(covers information from several alternate timelines)
USS Rubicon

A Federation Danube-class runabout

In Federation starship classification, a runabout was the designation of a type of vessel smaller than a starship but larger than a shuttlecraft. Runabouts were equipped with limited weapons and drive systems, but offered additional living space and the ability to be configured to mission-specific cargo capacities. They had a larger operational range and better weapons capability compared to shuttles, and were capable of speeds of up to warp 5. Runabouts were typically assigned to space stations or starships as auxiliary craft. (DS9: "Emissary", "Paradise", "The Jem'Hadar"; TNG: "Timescape")

The Danube-class of runabouts entered service in 2368, with many being assigned to Deep Space 9, though at least one runabout was assigned to the USS Enterprise-D. (DS9: "Paradise"; TNG: "Timescape")

By 2374, Starfleet Academy cadets were, on occasion, allowed to command runabouts during training missions. (DS9: "Valiant")

In an alternate timeline, the Yellowstone-class of runabouts was introduced in 2371. It featured a tetryon plasma drive system. (VOY: "Non Sequitur")

It is possible that the Spacedock ferry type of craft were actually classified as runabouts. This design served as inspiration for the first design concepts of the Danube-class.

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