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I'm watching Spock's Brain right now, and a friend pointed out that it was strange that with a crew of hundreds, the Enterprise crew would send only one landing party to one planet when they have limited time. It seems like they should send multiple parties to each planet in order to maximize the area they can cover.

Are there any examples in the series where Kirk actually sends multiple landing parties at a time?

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    Shore Leave sort of... – Firebat Oct 16 '15 at 0:17
  • @S.Fruggiero Oops, saw your comment just after I edited Shore Leave into my answer. If you'd posted it as an answer instead, you would've had my upvote! – Rand al'Thor Oct 16 '15 at 0:31
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I can only find two episodes in the original series.

  1. In "The Galileo Seven" at least three landing parties were sent out to search and rescue the crew lost when the shuttle Galileo disappeared.

  2. In "Shore Leave" there were multiple landing parties scouting the Omicron Delta planet where Kirk ultimately ordered shore leave for the entire Enterprise crew.

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Primary canon

The closest I've found is the episode Shore Leave, in which all the crew of the Enterprise are arguably part of landing parties:

On stardate 3025.3, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, arrives at a planet in the Omicron Delta system. Scans reveal the planet to be congenial, and Kirk announces shore leave for all off-duty personnel.

Not long after beaming down, the landing parties experience strange occurrences.

Secondary canon

In the novel Star Trek: Crisis on Centaurus, there's a clearer instance of Kirk sending down two landing parties:

With the Enterprise transporters out, Kirk decides, despite the risk involved, to send two landing parties to the planet in shuttlecraft. A party led by Spock will travel to the Defense Center to get its computers to shut down, while a party led by Kirk will go to McIverton to meet with the interim government.

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