The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) was captained by Jean-Luc Picard and first appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series which takes place in the 24th Century and was the flagship of Starfleet.

USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)

USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)


The USS Enterprise, Naval Construction Contract (NCC) 1701-D is the fifth Federation starship to bear the namesake of the Enterprise. As part of Starfleet tradition dating back nearly 100 years, as a tribute to the original Constitution-Class Enterprise, the Admiralty of Starfleet made a special dispensation that all future starships named the "Enterprise" would always bear the original ship's registry of NCC-1701 with the last letter would designate the model; in this case the letter D at the end of the construction code.

The Enterprise-D was a Galaxy-Class Starship and when it was built; were the largest, most powerful, and most stupendously sophisticated vessel ever constructed by Starfleet. The Galaxy-Class also bore the dubious honor of being the longest design, development, and construction period of any starship class in Starfleet history taking over 20 years to complete. Originally twelve such vessels were intended to be built but due to the extreme cost, initially six of these monstrous ships were actually constructed. The remaining six spaceframes were broken up and secretly stored in secured depots throughout Federation space by Starfleet as a precautionary measure and were intended to be ready for rapid construction in desperate need. The final six were apparently rapidly built and commissioned as part of the battle fleet during the Dominon War of 2373 to 2375 even though 68 percent of the interior of these ships were unfinished and only had a minimal crew.

The Galaxy-Class was intended to serve as Deep Space Explorers to survey the very boundaries and frontiers of the Federation by bringing the cutting edge of Federation science, culture, and technology to them. In addition, the Galaxy-Class Starships were intended to operate independently and autonomously for far longer durations than any Starfleet starship for up to 10 years or more if necessary and possessed the facilities and resources to function as a limited Starbase and had an intended operational lifespan of over 100 years.

However, it has become increasingly apparent that the Galaxy-Class ships while excellent ships for their era of relatively peaceful exploration; were less than suitable as warships and a number of ships of this type were lost in the line of duty in less than a decade of service, including the Enterprise-D. It appears that Starfleet has no plans to increase the number of Galaxy-Class starships and intends to slowly phase out the current ones, replacing them with smaller but more powerful and capable ship designs such as the Sovereign-Class as an example of their new design philosophy which emphasizes improved survivability with stronger offensive and defensive capabilities.

Technical Specifications

  • CLASS: Galaxy-Class Starship
  • TYPE: Deep Space Explorer
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 641 meters (2,103 feet)
  • OVERALL BEAM: 467.1 meters (1,532.5 feet)
  • OVERALL DRAFT: 137.5 meters (451 feet)
  • MASS: 5,000,000 metric tons
  • DISPLACEMENT: 4,500,000 metric tons
  • DECKS: 42
  • CREW COMPLEMENT: 1,012 persons; 200 visiting personnel
  • MAXIMUM SPEED: Warp 9.2 (Warp 9.8 for 1 minute interval)

Design Features

Following the classic Starfleet design philosophy, the Enterprise-D consists of two separate hulls; the saucer section (also known as the primary hull) and the engineering section (also known as the secondary hull) that is connected by a "neck" with two engine pods attached via pylons to the engineering hull. The crew was able to move between the two hulls and different decks via a series of elevators known as "turbolifts" which traveled not only vertically but horizontally as well.

At the time of its construction, the Galaxy-Class Starships were the largest Federation vessels in existence. Twice the length and eight times the interior space of a Constitution-Class ship, the Enterprise-D was quite literally a small city in space. However critics of the Galaxy-Class proclaimed it to not so much as a significant breakthrough or innovation but rather a combination of proven and cutting-edge technologies in one single spaceframe.

The Saucer Section

Enterprise-D main-bridge1

Main Bridge

The saucer section consists of a largely ovoid shape and contains the bridge module as well as the main living quarters for the officers and crew. It also contained luxurious VIP quarters for ambassadors, flag officers, and diplomatic guests and passengers. All of the quarters were equipped with state-of-the-art replicators. Thanks to advances in transporter technology in the 24th Century; replicators utilized the ability to quantum scan matter and hold this scan in memory. Upon command, the replicator would download the quantum scan and then covert the energy into matter, literally materializing it out of "thin air". Through this process, the crew was able to create whatever kind of food or drink on demand (as long as it was in the computer memory); machine parts; uniforms; and various other objects as well. The replicators could also reverse the process and break down discarded trash and waste which it could "recycle" to reuse. The only real cost for replicators were energy. The computer security protocols also prevented the replicators from creating dangerous items or objects such as weapons or restricted items in its database.

Unlike other Starfleet vessels, the Enterprise-D was one of the few starships that permitted civilians to live aboard on a long term basis. As a result, it was a highly prestigious posting as Starfleet officers and crew could bring their families aboard as it also contained various civilian amenities such as amphitheaters; salons; a concert hall; a major botanical garden/arboretum; relaxation lounges; educational facilities including classrooms and other dedicated school facilities ranging from infants, children, and teenagers; a nursery and daycare facilities; a restaurant/bar "Ten Forward"; and even a replicating center (a 24th century shopping center). The Enterprise-D also boasted gymnasiums for dozens of sports including aerobics studios, martial arts arenas, fencing, phaser targeting ranges, squash courts, and the most popular 24th century sports game; the parrises squares area.

The Enterprise-D was one of the first Federation ships to incorporate holodeck technology and had 16 different holodecks of varying sizes and areas that could accommodate one to dozens of people. The holodecks used a sophisticated combination of computer interaction programs to create highly realistic environments through holographic, forcefield, and replicator technologies. These holodecks were used for training and exercise purposes as well as entertainment however were also used for a wide variety of functions including therapeutic purposes; three-dimensional forensic imaging; scene reenactments; as well as tactical brainstorming sessions. The holodecks could create anything within its environs, even computer replicas of individuals that a person could interact with in any conceivable manner or fashion including erotic fantasies. It became increasingly a potential problem dubbed "holo-addiction" where individuals preferred the imaginary and ability to manipulate "reality" in the holodeck over real life. The holodecks were available to both civilians and crew members and were extremely popular resulting in the necessity of having a reservation system put into place.

The saucer section was also the major location of the scientific research facilities aboard with over 100 labs in a wide array of scientific disciplines including exobiology, astrophysics, exo-archaeology, cultural anthropology, botany, planetary geosciences, cybernetics, quantum mechanics, and stellar cartography.  In addition, there were a number of available scientific labs that could be reconfigured for any number of specialized equipment and devices upon request.  The Enterprise-D was well known for hosting a number of notable scientific researchers both Starfleet, civilian, and even non-Federation members. The Enterprise-D also had several dedicated cetacean laboratories and aquatic living quarters for delphanic crew members.

The Engineering Hull (Stardrive Section)

Like traditional Starfleet designs; the engineering hull was connected via a "neck" from the saucer section. At the very top of this neck section was the auxiliary control center or the "battle bridge". Connected directly via a dedicated turbolift to the main bridge, the "battle bridge" was a considerably more compact control center intended to operate the entire ship should the main bridge be lost or destroyed; or should the Enterprise be in separated flight modes, it would control the Stardrive Section (see Special Features Section).

The neck section also contained the Main Impulse Engines which propelled the Enterprise-D at sublight speeds (roughly a fraction of lightspeed) or as a intra-system drive.  In emergencies, the impulse engines could also be used a back-up power source.

Enterprise D-Engineering

Enterprise-D's Anti-Matter Reactor

The Enterprise-D's engineering hull was a flattened, more streamlined hull than the old style tubular cigar-shaped hull. The engineering hull contained the main anti-matter/matter power reactor which was the largest ever designed, spanning over twelve decks. In addition, the engineering hull housed the warp engine nacelles, life support, and the main deflector array located at the front end of the hull. When at warp, the deflector array would generate powerful subspace forcefield beams to jolt or knock potential obstacles such as micro-meteorites, space debris, asteroids, and other navigational hazards out of the path of the ship.

The Engineering Hull was also attached to the two main warp nacelles on elongated pylons.  When fed by the power of the reactor core, the warp nacelles were capable of generating a subspace bubble around the ship that enabled it to travel at faster-than-light speeds or "warp factors".


The Enterprise-D was easily one of the most powerfully armed Starfleet ships when first deployed. It possessed ten Type X phaser arrays which were the most powerful weapons ever mounted on a Starfleet starship and only some planetary phaser emitters possessed higher destructive capacity.

The phaser is an acronym which stands for "PHASed Energy Rectification" which is the standard directed energy-weapon for well over a century. The phaser beam can stun, heat, kill, or disintegrate living creatures as well as damage shields or cut through a ship's outer hull and have vast tunability enabling it to be focused to a single spot or widened to impact a large area.

The Enterprise-D later received a tactical upgrade in 2370 which increased that number to twelve phaser emitter arrays to widen the coverage arcs with two large arrays encircling the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the saucer section with an additional nine strip arrays scattered on the engineering section for adequate coverage both laterally, aft, forward, dorsal, and ventral sections. A twelfth phaser array was exposed and usable when the Enterprise-D was in its separated configuration (see Special Features Section).

The Galaxy-Class design also mounted photon torpedo launchers; originally only three on the engineering section with two facing forward above the main deflector dish while the third was located directly on the aft section to be capable of covering the rear arc of the starship. Each launcher were only intended to rapid-fire five photon torpedoes at a time.

During the comprehensive 2370 tactical upgrade, the engineering hull now only had two launchers; one of which located above the main deflector dish while the second was the aft launcher. These launchers were upgraded to be capable of rapid loading and firing ten photon torpedoes each and could now handle firing a variety of scientific instrumentation probes of various types and classes as well as anti-matter mines.

The third launcher was installed at the aft section of the saucer section and was only capable of being deployed in separated flight mode. Like the other launchers, it too could rapid-fire ten torpedoes.

The photon torpedo consisted of a warp engine with a range of approximately 300,000 kilometers which was attached to an elongated elliptical casing containing packets of matter and anti-matter which only came into contact upon detonation. Typically, the Enterprise-D carried 250 photon torpedoes in its arsenal.


The Enterprise-D's massive size and crew complement required a major medical department that not only took care of the general health and wellbeing of the entire crew but frequently was required to perform detailed analyses of new biological life forms and developing treatments for new and never seen before diseases and illnesses that they would encounter. In addition, they might be called upon to perform emergency medical assistance to other ships or planets.

For that reason, the Enterprise-D had three separate sickbays with the main one being located on the starboard side of Deck 12 of the saucer section with a secondary sickbay located on the port side of Deck 12 for redundancy; and the third being located in the engineering section. Each sickbay had a surgical suite and was capable of full quarantine measures as well as a private treatment room. 

The main sickbay also had the major ICU (intensive care unit), a separate office for the Chief Medical Officer; the morgue; four dedicated medical laboratories; a OB/GYN and nursery center; an emergency bio-support unit intended for isolated patients; a bio-statis unit where critically or terminally-ill patients could be placed into suspended animation for later treatment or care in a dedicated or specialized facility; and several separate private recovery rooms.

The secondary sickbay lacked these additional amenities and instead had larger bays intended for heavy patient loads and several long term recovery wards as well as a physical rehabilitation center.  While the tertiary sickbay in Engineering was more of an emergency medical aid station.

Every Galaxy-Class ships possessed the most advanced and finest equipped medical facilities found aboard any vessel. It was frequently remarked that only the Starfleet Hospital had superior facilities and equipment.

Enterprise-D transporter room

Transporter Room w/ Control Console

The Enterprise-D was equipped with 20 state-of-the-art transporter rooms which had evolved into the standard mode of travel in the 24th Century and were considerably safer and more robust than the previous models used just a century earlier. The transporters consisted of a raised hexagonal platform with six separate pads with a larger oversized pad in the central position for cargo.  These pads scan individuals on a quantum level, convert them into energy, then beam that energy up to 30,000 kilometers away and reassemble them.  Further as an improved safety measure; during the conversion process, the transporter would filter out bio-contaminants detected in the quantum scan such as microbes and viruses. As a security measure, when beaming someone aboard, the transporter would also detect hidden weapons such as knives or phases and could selectively remove them.

The transporters were the primary means for the crew to perform away missions on planet surfaces as the Enterprise-D was not designed for atmospheric landings. Instead, the ship would instead enter orbit and then beam down away teams. The transporters could not be used while moving at warp nor could it beam through energy shields. The transporters were divided roughly equally between the saucer and engineering hulls for convenience.

In addition, the Enterprise-D had a series of cargo transporters which were used primarily for transferring bulk cargo but could be configured for personnel transport as well. The Enterprise-D also incorporated 4 emergency transporters in the saucer hull and 2 more in the engineering hull. The emergency transporters were intended to rapidly beam people out and lacked various phase-transition coils necessary to receive an incoming matter stream like a fully equipped transporter room would. These emergency transporters only had a range of half that of a regular transporter; approximately 15,000 kilometers and were intended to serve as part of the Enterprise-D's emergency evacuation system. With all of the regular transporter rooms, cargo transporters, and emergency transporters in use; it was estimated that the crew could safely evacuate the entire population of the ship in roughly 45 minutes.

Embarked Craft

The Enterprise-D was equipped with a small fleet of embarked spaceships that was stored throughout three huge shuttlebays located throughout the ship. These shuttlecrafts, support, and auxiliary ships were frequently utilized to ferry personnel and equipment outside of the range of the transporters or for specialized missions of varying durations. The main shuttlebay hanger was located in the aft portion of the saucer section and spanned over two separate decks. Two smaller dedicated shuttlebay facilities were located on the aft spinal region of the engineering section.

In total, the Enterprise-D had approximately 16 short range shuttlepods; a two man craft restricted to short ranges and low sublight speeds. It's core fleet consisted of 25 personnel shuttlecrafts which were larger and could carry up to 2 crew and 6 passengers as well as a small amount of cargo. These shuttlecrafts were lightly armed with phasers and had limited warp capabilities and had planetary landing capabilities. In addition, the Enterprise-D had 5 large cargo shuttles and up to 15 smaller extravehicular crafts known as "workbees" used for exterior repairs and maintenance of the Enterprise-D.

Special Features

The Enterprise-D contained a very specially designed shuttlecraft known as the Captain's Yacht which was significantly larger than regular shuttlecrafts. It was typically plugged directly into a customized docking collar on the ventral or underside of the saucer section. The Yacht was reserved exclusively for the private usage of the Captain himself and was intended as a diplomatic shuttle, although it did contain limited combat capabilities mainly for self-defense. It contained private staterooms for passengers, a galley and was capable of both sublight or atmospheric travel, even planetary landings. The Enterprise-D's yacht was named The Calypso by its first Captain, Jean-Luc Picard.

Saucer sep

Separating the Saucer

One of the most striking features of the Enterprise-D was the ability to detach the saucer and the engineering hulls into two separate space-going vehicles. Even though this was a concept used in numerous Starfleet vessels, dating back over a century to the Constitution-Class Starships; the Galaxy-Class design took it a step further. Previous designs all intended this to be an emergency, last-ditch one-shot measure where the saucer section would be used as a lifeboat. Instead the Galaxy-Class Starships made it a reuseable (if not routine capability) in which the two sections could separate and then at a later point, reattach themselves without outside assistance.

Due to the fact that the Galaxy-Class Starships were intended to carry a large civilian population and families, this concept was conceived that if the ship was ever in grave danger; it would be possible to evacuate the civilians to the saucer module and detach it, carrying them to safety while the engineering hull (containing the warp drive engines and the majority of the weapons) would be able to engage the enemy without fear of endangering the innocent populace. The saucer section was designed to be capable of making a survivable crash landings on a planetary surface; although it would not be capable of leaving the atmosphere again without external assistance. In this mode, the engineering hull was referred to as the "Stardrive Section". In essence, the Enterprise-D is actually TWO spaceships in one.


Stardrive Section

This unique feature however was only rarely utilized as saucer separation was a complicated process that required some preparation to undergo and trying to detach the saucer module in mid-battle was extremely risky. The saucer hull was only lightly armed and lacked the main power reactor of the engineering hull for its shields making it incredibly vulnerable; not to mention it was restricted to impulse or sublight speeds as it lacked the warp nacelles making it a very sluggish and slow vessel in comparison to the stardrive section.

Originally, the saucer section completely lacked photon torpedo launching capabilities until it was upgraded in 2370 with a dedicated aft-facing launcher. However, even this modest upgrade was hampered by the fact that the Stardrive Section carried the majority of the photon torpedo ammunition supplies and once separated, could not reload. Further, the Saucer's aft photon launcher was obstructed and unable to fire when it was linked to the Stardrive Section.

Nevertheless, the ability of the Enterprise-D to separate did prove handy on occasion. Commander William T. Riker however once turned this capability to his advantage by initiating saucer separation and using the saucer to distract the Borg while engaging them with the Stardrive Section in combat, pioneering the Multi-Vector Assault Concept which Starfleet would attempt to recreate in the experimental USS Prometheus which was launched in 2374 which could separate into three distinct units which could then engage hostile threats from multiple angles.

Over a century previously, it became standard procedure that all Starfleet ships were outfitted with a security prefix codes that enabled Starfleet officers to remotely transmit the code and assume control over the various systems of the starship including weapons and shields in the event of an emergency or mutiny. Other starships of this era also still came equipped with such a code and it is assumed that the USS Enterprise-D was no different.

Due to the highly classified technologies and information aboard the USS Enterprise-D, it was deemed necessary that the crew might be forced to deny hostile forces the ability to study it or access the restricted information in the starship's information banks. It was required that the Captain and at least another senior officer give verbal orders, palm-print identifications, and their special personal and unique codes to set the auto-destruct sequence and only they could give the abort code as well. It was possible to also abort the sequence if necessary up until the last second.


The Galaxy-Class was an attempt by Starfleet to create the perfect vessel in the 24th Century and conceived as the modern day equivalent to the vaunted Constitution-Class starships of yesteryear. A flagship vessel capable of performing long duration exploration missions, perform as a diplomatic showpiece, and serve as a powerful rapid response deterrent platform. Starfleet considered many of their vessels such as the Oberth-Class and Ambassador-Class were markedly inferior and needed a qualitatively superior starship class and so approved of the Galaxy-Class Program in 2342 as their most ambitious and largest starship design ever attempted.

Numerous engineering challenges and difficulties resulted in various delays before the design was finalized in early 2350. Following the final shakedown cruise of the USS Galaxy, the original prototype of this class in 2357; Starfleet Command commissioned only five more vessels due to their stupendous size and cost. Of the original six Galaxies; the USS Enterprise-D was the second ship constructed in the Utopia Plantia Fleet Yards orbiting Mars accompanied by her sister ship, the USS Yamamoto. Both ships were completed and left spacedock in 2263 and the Enterprise-D embarked upon an extensive shakedown cruise which lasted almost a year to finalize checks to her highly complex systems before it was deemed flightworthy.


Captain Jean-Luc Picard

In 2264, the Enterprise-D was formally commissioned for active service and Captain Jean-Luc Picard who commanded the USS Stargazer through several years of great renown, was designated as its first Captain.

Picard would serve as the Enterprise-D's primary captain for much of its service lifespan barring two brief periods where Commander William Riker and Captain Edward Jellicoe briefly assumed command.

Under Picard's seven years as Captain of the Enterprise; she served as the flagship of the Federation and made First Contact with a number of alien races and civilizations including the Q, the Borg, and the Ferengi. The Enterprise-D also played a critical role in defusing the Klingon Civil War; had several critical encounters involving the Romulan Empire; saved the Earth from the Borg Invasion of 2366-2367; and was the first starship to aid in the reconstruction efforts at Bajor and the newly named Deep Space 9.

In 2371 over the planet Veridian III, the Enterprise-D suffered catastrophic damage thanks to the Duras Sisters secretly acquiring the phase modulation frequencies of her shields. Able to bypassing their defenses, the mighty starship suffered critical damage and was forced to conduct an emergency saucer separation, abandoning the engineering hull mere moments before it suffered a warp core breech. The explosion badly damaged the saucer and forced it to crash land on the planet. Despite the loss of the ship, the crew were able to succeed in their mission and were instrumental in preventing the induced nova of the Veridian System's star thus saving an entire system of being wiped out.

The severe damage to the saucer would make it unfeasible to repair and thus, the saucer was forced to be decommissioned and ended the brief but illustrious career of the fifth Starship Enterprise. In the wake of the loss of the NCC-1701-D, it was decided to commission a newly built Sovereign-Class Starship as the sixth Enterprise, the NCC-1701-E which is the current flagship of Starfleet.

Alternate Versions

Uss enterprise-d all-good-things 2370

Enterprise of the Future ... Maybe

The Enterprise-D has had several encounters with temporal anomalies over the course of its brief career. One of the more notable was a version of the ship from the year 2395. This Enterprise-D was from an alternate future timeline where it was not destroyed over Veridan III and instead continued to serve ably as the flagship of the Federation for many years. It was due to be decommissioned only for Admiral William Riker to make it his flagship. By this time, the Enterprise-D had undergone significant refitting include the addition of a third warp nacelle, a cloaking device, and a powerful phaser cannon.

See Also

Production Notes

The Enterprise-D was designed by Andrew Probert. He was heavily inspired by a concept he had done for an updated Enterprise for Star Trek: The Motion Picture but the final redesign was decided to be more in favor to Matt Jeffries' work and to keep the ship recognizable to long time fans instead. When Probert went to work for the preliminary projects for the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series, Probert hung a picture of his design in his office which attracted the attention of David Gerrold who brought it to Gene Roddenberry's attention. Rodenberry immediately approved of Probert's design which became the basis of the Enterprise-D.

Probert also came up with the concept of a "battle section" which was intended to detach for combat situations. His original idea however was that a small section of the saucer would fulfill this role but this was later refined into the saucer and engineering hulls separating.