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Are there any Constitution class starships (refit or otherwise) still in active service during the time of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager series? I can not remember any appearing on screen in any of the shows, which seems odd since the ship was fairly versatile and strong on the front line.

There are at least three other classes of ship commissioned around the same time frame as the Constitution (or at least around the time of the refit), which we do still see in service in the 24th century (Excelsior, Miranda and Oberth); so there is no reason that the Constitution class couldn't have been kept up to date and in service as well.

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Yes, Yes, excellent Q. The Excelsior was slightly newer than the refit, ... but Miranda was the same generation, and Oberth was a lowly science vessel vs. the Constitution as a heavy cruiser... so if those two survived, then the Constitution refit certainly should've. –  eidylon May 19 at 15:42
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The USS Bozeman (Soyuz-Class) was almost certainly in active service after the events of "Cause and Effect", at least until it reached the nearest starbase... –  Richard May 19 at 15:45
    
How many 80-year-old US Navy ships are on active duty? –  Keith Thompson May 19 at 20:04
    
@KeithThompson Watching the large scale battle scenes in Deep Space Nine, there are a lot of 80 year old vessels still in active duty. Alternatively, there are a lot of vessels using an 80 year old hull design at least. –  Xantec May 19 at 20:15
    
@Xantec: There are US Navy ships on DS9? Apart from the Constitution (commissioned 1797, now a museum) and the Pueblo (commissioned 1968, captured by North Korea), the oldest active-duty US Navy ship is the USS Denver, commissioned in 1968, 46 years ago. My point is that, based on current US Navy practice, it's entirely plausible that all Constitution class ships would be out of service by the TNG era. Reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  Keith Thompson May 19 at 20:22

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

While the decision was taken by the writers of TNG and subsequent series not to have any Constitution-class ships in the TV show, there were a couple of cheeky references that managed to slip through.

In TNG "Best of Both Worlds", you can clearly see (on the left of the image) the hull of a Constitution-class vessel in the wreckage at Wolf 359. The implication is that this ship was either in service or (more likely) pulled out of mothballs for the futile defence of Earth.

Although the shots show two different hull sections, behind-the-scenes sources indicate the model used for both shots was that of the self-destructed Enterprise made for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

enter image description here


There was an exchange in TNG : The Battle where we see that the USS Stargazer was originally intended to be a Constitution-class vessel. Due to budgetary reasons, it was then redesignated (for the show) as a Constellation-Class vessel.

Original Script:

Turbolift opens TO BRING Picard onto the bridge, unnoticed by most as Tasha silences the ALERT and Wesley turns to Riker.

WESLEY : It's an old style starship, Constitution Class, heading this way under impulse power, sir.

Episode Transcript:

WESLEY: It's an old style starship, Constellation Class, heading this way under impulse power, sir.


Outside of the TV show, you can clearly see a second Constitution-class vessel fighting alongside the first one on the cover of the Doctor Who/Trek crossover "Assimilation²".

enter image description here


There is also a suggestion that the USS Republic (seen in TOS: Court Martial) is still in service as a training vessel in the TNG era. Although not seen in-canon, it's referenced in the video game "Star Trek: 25th Anniversary" as well as "Klingon Academy" and "Star Fleet Battles".

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There are canonically (as far as my research leads me to believe) NO Constitution-class starships in service in the TNG era.

All of the surviving original Constitution-class ships were refitted around 2270 in order to prolong their lives until the 2290s as the following quote indicates:

In the late 2260s to early 2270s, the Constitution-class starships underwent their final major refit program. The actual refitting took eighteen months of work and essentially a new vessel was built onto the bones of the old, replacing virtually every major system. Thus, the Constitution-class continued in service for a further twenty years.

[...]

Major changes were made to the interior of the Constitution-class starships; many new systems were added and existing ones upgraded. Summarizing, only the internal structure of the saucer and very little of the engineering hull and neck may have survived the 2270s refit. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Some refit configurations had the warp nacelles rotated 90 degrees and included additional hatches along both sides of the saucer. (TNG: "Booby Trap")

Other TOS-movie era starship types that have survived until TNG were all designed specifically in the 2260s and 70s using the Constitution refit technology which is obviously more robust and future-proof than the original Constitution designs. Miranda-class, Obert-class and Excelsior-class have all thrived through to the TNG era because they could cope with the upgrades and modifications needed through the 70 or so years of service and proved to be versatile designs. It could be postulated that the first dedicated, long-service starships, the Constitution-class, were the prototypes for human deep-space exploration and were not designed to be futureproof. 2260s and 70s designs may have been designed specifically for longevity and for ease of upgrade.

HOWEVER:

That all said, there is ONE example of a Constitution-class ship that was in service up to the battle of Wolf 359, because the wreckage of one is visible in the scene where the Enterprise D arrives at the battle site: Constitution engineering hull

The saucer of one is apparently visible too, just before the ad break following the same scene:

Constitution saucer

The Ex Astris Scientia website identifies the model used for this scene as the destroyed Enterprise model from Star Trek III, and this has been inferred from information provided by the production staff but never confirmed as canon.

The screenshots are the only evidence of the existence of a Constitution class ship being at Wolf 359 and the only canon evidence of a Constitution-class in the TNG era.

So the final answer I would give is that there was a total of one Constitution class ship in service until 2366, where it was destroyed at Wolf 359. I myself prefer to take the opinion that there were none, and that the existence of Constitution parts in the Wolf 359 debris was simply a production decision that has never been made canon - the Ex Astris Scientia page I linked to above contains a lot of text that indicates the production staff wanted to deny the existence of the Constitution class stuff in the wreckage.

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Memory Alpha quotes (without a canon source to back them up) are considered fan-fiction. –  Richard May 19 at 18:56
    
@Richard Which quote are you saying has no canon backup? –  Xantec May 19 at 20:18
    
@Xantec - "Thus, the Constitution-class continued in service for a further twenty years." for example. Purest speculation since no retirement date was ever laid down for the Constitution-class –  Richard May 19 at 20:23
    
@Richard Yea, that bit is speculative. –  Xantec May 19 at 20:55
    
@Xantec - The perils of quoting wiki is that anyone can add anything. –  Richard May 19 at 20:58

There aren't any listed in any of the typical sources as still existing in that time frame. That being said, in the TNG episode Best of Both Worlds pt. 2, among the wreckage the Enterprise D finds in the aftermath of the Battle at Wolf 359, there are several screen captures that show debris that appears to come from a Constitution class vessel. It appears likely that models from the movies were re-used to add to the debris field.

enter image description here

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