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This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Discovery, and thus may contain spoilers.

For the mirror universe counterpart, please see ISS Discovery.
For the 24th century ship with the same name, please see USS Discovery (24th century).
"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous. Black alert!"

The USS Discovery (NCC-1031) was a Crossfield-class starship operated by the Federation Starfleet in the 23rd century, initially under the command of Captain Gabriel Lorca and, later, Christopher Pike. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings", "What's Past Is Prologue", "Brother")

Service history

Discovery was launched into service from the San Francisco Fleet Yards, Earth. Its motto was "All things can be understood once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." (DIS: "Context Is for Kings", "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad") The quote is from Galileo Galilei.

By November of 2256, it was still considered impressive and new, fresh out of the shipyards and equipped with some of Starfleet's most advanced technologies, in contrast to the older USS Shenzhou. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

Discovery Crew 2257

Crew assembled in the shuttlebay, 2257

As a Crossfield-class starship, Discovery was officially designated a science vessel. In 2256, the ship had a crew manifest of approximately 136. (DIS: "Choose Your Pain") However, by 2257, following the Federation-Klingon War the complement increased to over 200 during the investigation of the Red Angel. (DIS: "The Red Angel") The ship's facilities were able to accomodate three hundred discrete scientific missions, a Starfleet record at the time. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

Both Discovery and its sister ship, the USS Glenn, were equipped with an experimental spore drive for field testing. Much research and refinement remained to be done as of late 2256, but if perfected it had the potential to instantly traverse vast galactic distances in the blink of an eye. Discovery only used it in short bursts while attempting to perfect it into a reliable drive system. In contrast, the crew of Glenn took bolder risks to develop it more quickly, resulting in an accident which killed the entire crew and crippled the ship. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

Discovery was built from the ground up to be a test bed for the experimental spore drive, based on the research of Paul Stamets and his colleagues. Stamets had intended his research to pursue purely theoretical knowledge and peaceful applications but, with the outbreak of war, Discovery was rapidly constructed to perfect the military applications of his research. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")

USS Discovery in nebula

A view of Discovery's ventral hull

Due to the top secret (and in some cases dangerous) research projects being conducted on Discovery, its internal security was much more rigid and compartmentalized than was regular protocol on Starfleet vessels; breath print identification locks were used to restrict access to different sub-sectors. It also possessed a disproportionately prominent and well-armed security detail, standing guard at various restricted access points throughout the ship. These guards were outfitted with tactical gear bearing a Section 31 "black star" uniform insignia, unlike the normal silver Starfleet delta insignia. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

Several experiments conducted aboard Discovery had the potential to physically endanger the ship itself and its crew, hazardous situations caused by the black ops experiments being activated were addressed by declaring a "black alert" (which was not a standard protocol on Starfleet vessels). (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

Federation-Klingon War

Following the outbreak of the Federation-Klingon War, Discovery was placed under the command of Captain Gabriel Lorca and given a clandestine mission to conduct black ops scientific research, developing top-secret weapons and technologies that would help the Federation win the war. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

USS Discovery tractors prison shuttle

Discovery rescues SPT 21

Six months into the war, Discovery rescued the prison shuttle SPT 21 from an infestation of Species GS54 during an interstellar storm. Among the prisoners being transported, former Commander Michael Burnham came aboard and was enlisted by Captain Lorca to serve as a Specialist aboard Discovery. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

USS Discovery over Corvan II

Discovery in a defensive position over Corvan II

In November 2256, Discovery received a distress call from Corvan II, under attack by Klingons. The only ship in range, Discovery attempted a spore jump to the Federation mining colony, ending up dangerously close to a star. Utilizing the tardigrade as a conduit through which to the navigate the ship, the crew ultimately jumped Discovery to Corvan II in time to destroy the attacking Birds-of-Prey and save the colony from destruction. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")

The following month, Discovery (under the command of first officer Saru) was tasked by Vice Admiral Katrina Cornwell with the rescue of Captain Lorca following his abduction by the Klingons. Once again using the tardigrade as a living navigational computer, Discovery jumped into Klingon territory, but the creature was disabled in the process. Unwilling to subject the tardigrade to further injury, Lieutenant Stamets injected himself with the creature's DNA, allowing Discovery to recover Lorca and his fellow POW, Ash Tyler, and jump back to Federation space. (DIS: "Choose Your Pain")

One week later, Admiral Cornwell's cruiser rendezvoused with Discovery before departing for peace talks on Cancri IV. (DIS: "Lethe")

Discovery orbits planet

Discovery in orbit of a planet in 2256

On stardate 2136.8, Discovery encountered an injured space-dwelling lifeform known as a gormagander and conducted aid per the Endangered Species Act. This resulted in Harcourt Fenton Mudd boarding Discovery and activating a time crystal, creating a time loop in which Mudd repeatedly destroyed the ship in an effort to learn the secret of the spore drive and sell the ship to the Klingons. The loop was eventually discovered by Paul Stamets, avoiding the permanent destruction of Discovery. (DIS: "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad")

Stardate 1308.9: Discovery engaged a Klingon destroyer in defense of the USS Gagarin. With the advantage of their invisibility screens, the Klingons succeeded in destroying the Gagarin forcing Discovery to withdraw. Discovery then proceeded to the planet Pahvo where it retrieved a landing party as the native Pahvans broadcasted a signal directed at both the Federation and Klingons. (DIS: "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum")

USS Discovery faces Klingon Ship of the Dead

Discovery faces the Klingon Ship of the Dead at Pahvo

Encountering the Ship of the Dead in orbit of Pahvo, Discovery engaged in ship-to-ship combat with the Klingons. Discovery then conducted 133 micro-jumps around the cloaked Klingon vessel, allowing the crew target and destroy the enemy's capital ship. (DIS: "Into the Forest I Go")

The mirror universe

After an apparent accident with the spore drive propelled Discovery into the mirror universe, it emerged that Captain Lorca was in fact an inhabitant of that universe who had replaced his counterpart and deliberately brought Discovery to his home universe. Following Lorca's revelation, first officer Saru assumed full command of Discovery. (DIS: "Despite Yourself", "Vaulting Ambition", "What's Past Is Prologue")

USS Discovery flies through Charon

Battling the ISS Charon

In order to return to their universe, Discovery then launched an attack on the Terran flagship, ISS Charon, on stardate 1834.2. Flying through the Terran ship's superstructure, Discovery destroyed the super-mycelial reactor powering the Charon, and used the resulting mycelial shockwave to power the spore drive and cross back into normal space. (DIS: "Despite Yourself", "Vaulting Ambition", "What's Past Is Prologue")

Return to the war

Discovery returned nine months after its departure, having overshot its intended destination. In that time, the Klingons had captured a significant proportion of Federation territory. Boarded by a number of Starfleet officials including Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, Discovery was placed under the temporary command of Admiral Cornwell and brought to Starbase 1, 100 AU from Earth. Finding the station overrun by Klingons, Discovery warped away. (DIS: "What's Past Is Prologue", "The War Without, The War Within")

With Klingon forces encroaching on Earth, Starfleet elected to use Discovery to prepare a strike against the Klingon homeworld, Qo'noS, and solicited the abilities of the Terran emperor, Philippa Georgiou. In order to make the jump to the Qo'noS, Discovery traveled to the Veda system where the crew terraformed the moon Delta 2 and replenished their supply of mycelium spores. (DIS: "The War Without, The War Within")

USS Discovery in cave

Discovery jumps into a cave on Qo'noS

Under the command of Emperor Georgiou (standing in as the deceased Captain Philippa Georgiou), Discovery became the first Starfleet vessel to visit the Klingon Homeworld since Captain Jonathan Archer and the Enterprise NX-01 visited the planet in 2151. In order to avoid detection and conflict with Klingon planetary defenses, Discovery jumped into an inactive volcanic cavern large enough to accommodate a Crossfield-class starship beneath the surface of Qo'noS. A landing party to the surface ultimately concluded the mission and brought a peaceful resolution to the conflict. (DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?")

USS Discovery rendezvousing with USS Enterprise

Discovery rendezvous with the USS Enterprise.

With the war over, Discovery returned to Earth, where its senior staff was honored. The starship was then ordered to Vulcan to retrieve its new commanding officer. (DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?")

Investigating the red bursts

En route to Vulcan, a priority 1 distress call led Discovery to drop out of warp and respond to the call from Captain Pike on the USS Enterprise. (DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?")

USS Discovery navigates interstellar asteroid

Discovery navigates an interstellar asteroid field

With Enterprise unable to continue its mission – the investigation of one of seven red bursts that were detected across the galaxy; Pike was ordered to assume command of the Discovery from acting captain Saru under Starfleet Regulation 19, Section C. Discovery then warped to an interstellar asteroid at the coordinates of the burst, where it located the wreckage of the USS Hiawatha. Unable to maintain shields while transporting survivors from the Hiawatha, the starship suffered severe hull damage from the fragmenting asteroid, before capturing a fragment of the asteroid in its shuttle bay using a gravity simulator.

Shortly thereafter, Starfleet temporarily assigned Pike as captain of Discovery and tasked the vessel with determining the source of the seven signals and their intent. Warping to the location of a red burst, Discovery instead came upon the wreckage of the USS Hiawatha and executed a rescue. (DIS: "Brother")


Discovery executes a donut in orbit of Terralysium

Detecting a new signal in the Beta Quadrant, Discovery used the previously defunct spore drive to jump to the coordinates, but found no sign of a red burst. Instead, Discovery entered into orbit over Terralysium, a previously unknown Earth colony of World War III-era Humans. With the planet and its population threatened by radioactive asteroids, Helmsman Keyla Detmer piloted Discovery in a donut maneuver, using a dark matter asteroid to magnetically drag the radioactive debris away from the planet. (DIS: "New Eden")

Later, a Vulcan cruiser rendezvoused with Discovery, offloading Amanda Grayson. (DIS: "Point of Light")

While searching for Spock, Discovery was pulled out of warp by an massive sphere-shaped lifeform. Discovery's computer system was overloaded by what the crew believed to be a computer virus. Eventually, the Sphere's intentions were discovered and Discovery subsequently became the recipient of 100,000 years of the Sphere's knowledge and memories. (DIS: "An Obol for Charon")

USS Discovery in the Mycelial network

Discovery jumps partially into the Mycelial network

In order to rescue Sylvia Tilly from the JahSepp, Discovery executed a partial jump into the mycelial plane. The ship was almost instantly attacked by the JahSepp, who began to dissolve the hull. In order to keep from being destroyed, Discovery was assisted by Section 31 chief Leland aboard the NCIA-93. (DIS: "Saints of Imperfection")

File:Baul sentry ships.jpg

After a red burst appeared over Kaminar, Discovery arrived in the system where it came into conflict with the Ba'ul. Using the Sphere's signal that had triggered vahar'ai in Saru, they helped the Kelpien race evolve beyond the limitations forced on them by the Ba'ul, and opened the way for the two races to somehow coexist. (DIS: "The Sound of Thunder")


The red bursts, as well as an entity associated with it (known by the crew as the "Red Angel"), appeared to be tied to Michael Burnham's foster brother, Lieutenant Spock of the Enterprise, and Section 31 took an interest in capturing him. They caught up to Spock and Burnham on Talos IV, but they were revealed to be illusions projected by the Talosians; the real Spock and Burnham had escaped to Discovery, which was declared a renegade ship and forced to go on the run. (DIS: "If Memory Serves")

The data from the Sphere also included information on artificial intelligence. An A.I. from the future infected Control, the threat assessment algorhythm developed by Section 31, and made it sentient. Control became obsessed with obtaining all of the Sphere's data on artificial intelligence in order to evolve into a true lifeform, and wipe out all other sentient life. Discovery's spore drive operations officer, Lieutenant Commander Airiam, was possessed by Control through her cybernetics, and forced to deliver the Sphere data to Control at Section 31 Headquarters. Airiam was killed and the base destroyed before it could take the entire archive. Before her death, Airiam told her colleagues to find "Project Daedalus". (DIS: "Project Daedalus")

Daedalus proved to be a Section 31 project involving time travel, building a suit capable of taking its wearer through time. The suit matched the description of the Red Angel. The Angel appeared to be connected to Commander Burnham, and she was used as bait to attract it to Essof IV, where the Angel was revealed to be her mother, Dr. Gabrielle Burnham, who was believed killed by the Klingons on Doctari Alpha some two decades before. (DIS: "The Red Angel")

Finding that the Sphere data would not allow itself to be deleted from the databanks, the Discovery crew attempted to send the data back to the future with Gabrielle. However, the plan was sabotaged by Leland, who was possessed by Control through nanotechnology; he destroyed the time crystal in Gabrielle's suit, which was pulled back along with Gabrielle to her anchor point in the future. (DIS: "Perpetual Infinity")

Discovery deploys evacuation corridors

The USS Enterprise taking on Discovery's crew

Discovery continued to investigate the red bursts while keeping ahead of Leland/Control, and detected a fourth signal orbiting the Klingon world of Boreth. There, they obtained a time crystal, and began work to create a Daedalus suit of their own in order to take the Sphere data to the future, beyond Control's reach. However, they were surrounded by Section 31's fleet, now fully under Control's domination. Pike summoned the Enterprise to take on Discovery's crew before setting the ship to auto-destruct, in an effort to prevent Control from obtaining the Sphere data. (DIS: "Through the Valley of Shadows")

Enterprise and Discovery Battle Section 31

The Enterprise and Discovery engage Section 31 vessels.

However, they discovered that the Sphere data would also not allow the ship to be destroyed, leading to a change of plans - to bring Discovery itself into the future, and the data with it. Pike and other essential personnel returned to the ship to investigate a fifth red burst on the planet Xahea, where they welcomed aboard its queen, Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po, who had developed a dilithium incubator that could be used to charge the time crystal. Discovery began retrofitting its fleet of shuttles and landing pods with enhanced weaponry, joined together with similarly-modified craft from the Enterprise, to combat the Section 31 fleet. At the same time, work continued on preparing the Daedalus suit, which would be worn by Burnham, as her mother's DNA was encoded into the suit schematics and she was the closest match. However, it was revealed that it would be a one-way trip, as the energy needed to charge the crystal with Po's incubator would make it unstable. The senior staff all chose to remain with Discovery and make the trip with Burnham. Pike relinquished command of Discovery back to Saru for the journey, and returned to the Enterprise to prepare for the battle to come. (DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow")

USS Discovery leaving the 23rd century

Discovery leaving the 23rd century

After a pitched battle with Control's forces, Burnham successfully opened the wormhole, taking Discovery through with her. Pike, his first officer Una, Spock, and acting Section 31 chief Tyler all reported to Starfleet Command that Discovery was destroyed with all hands. Spock furthermore recommended that in order to prevent such incidents with Section 31 from happening again, that all participants in the event were to be barred from talking about Discovery, her crew, or her spore drive under penalty of treason. (DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2")


USS Discovery abandoned

Discovery one thousand years in the future

At some point, the ship was abandoned by its crew and remained empty for almost a thousand years, when Craft came aboard. The ship's computer, which by then had become self-aware and called itself Zora, was under orders to maintain its position. (ST: "Calypso")

Command crew

Lorca in command of Discovery

Discovery under the command of Captain Gabriel Lorca in 2256.

Discovery bridge, 2257

Discovery under the command of Acting Captain Saru in 2257.

USS Discovery bridge

Discovery under the command of Captain Christopher Pike in 2257.

See also: USS Discovery personnel



Background information

Bryan Fuller chose the Discovery's registry number, 1031, because he loves Halloween. [1]

Before the show premiered, Aaron Harberts described the ship as "the latest and greatest ship to roll off the assembly line" (SFX, issue 292, p. 80)

The set used for the Discovery's interior was a reused set which, with just a few changes, had previously served as the interiors of the USS Shenzhou and the USS Glenn. (AT: "2")

In "Choose Your Pain", Saru while commanding the ship, says he has 134 souls to protect, strongly hinting at the size of the ship's crew. The statement is made while captain Lorca and the shuttle pilot are off-ship, one episode after Ellen Landry is killed, and before Ash Tyler joins the crew, suggesting the complement is 136 at that time.

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