In early 2370, the Raman, and her crew of seven, was assigned to conduct a science mission of the gas giant Marijne VII. According to the Raman's mission plans, it was to descend to the lower atmosphere, where the crew was to sample the atmosphere at that level, and then return to a safer orbit.
After entering the lower atmosphere of the planet, the Raman accidentally picked up some subspace beings that live in the lower atmosphere. These lifeforms tried to communicate with the crew of the Raman during the ship's ascent, by directly accessing their thoughts, however, the attempt proved fatal Ramans crew.
On Stardate 47215.5, the USS Enterprise-D responded to a distress call from the Raman after the science vessel became trapped inside the planet's turbulent atmosphere. Upon the Enterprises arrival, the Raman was discovered at a position, below the troposphere, at an altitude 11,000 kilometers above its lowest descent point.
The Enterprise boarded the vessel via an interface probe, controlled by Geordi La Forge, at a position directly to the aft section of the Raman, through its secondary air lock; one bulkhead away from the Bridge. It was not far from this access point that the probe discovered one of the ship's dead crewmember. The probe later found the remaining crew in the nearby magnetic storage bay.
After determining that the crew of the Raman was dead, Jean-Luc Picard hoped to retrieve the vessel. With the Ramans bridge too heavily damaged, the interface probe was taken into the Raman's auxiliary control room. It was in the auxiliary control room that La Forge discovered what he believed to be an image of his mother, whose ship, the USS Hera, had previously disappeared. This image of his mother, who was actually a subspace being, convinced La Forge to take the Raman to a lower so that it could return to its home.
Upon taking the Raman into a lower orbit, he was able to successfully return the subspace beings to their home, however, in the process, the ship's shields failed, and the ship was destroyed in the planet's atmosphere. (TNG: "Interface")
The Raman is one of the few, if not only, Federation starships whose interior would be visited on screen, but whose class was left unknown.
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia the Raman was an Oberth class starship with the registry NCC-59983. This registry contradicts the registry shown (NCC-29487) in the on-screen Okudagram, however, would be correctly depicted in the starship list that also appears in the Encyclopedia. It is also stated in the Encyclopedia that the Raman was named after Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, an Indian scientist of the 20th century.
According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, the producers had intended to build a new model for this ship. However, due to budget limitations, the model wasn't built.