In TOS, we follow the journeys of the USS Enterprise, a Constitution class starship. I recall in TOS that we encounter a few other Starfleet starships, but from memory all of these are also Constitution class. My question then is what is the first Starfleet ship we see in canon that isn't a Constitution class vessel?

In terms of 'first', I mean out-of-universe, as in following the chronology of the production of series (i.e. TOS comes first, then TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT - not TAS because that isn't considered canon)

  • 3
    I assume you only want the originally broadcast version of the original series, not the remastered version with some new CG graphics? In the remastered version of "Charlie X" the USS Anteres, which was named but not shown in the original version, was displayed in a brief shot shown on this page.
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 12, 2015 at 7:27
  • @Hypnosifl yes sorry. I'm more interested in the out of universe development of starships but still an excellent find! Nov 12, 2015 at 7:29
  • @Richard none of those other than the Enterprise are Starfleet ships though Nov 12, 2015 at 9:02
  • @TheDoc - Indeed. That was my point
    – Valorum
    Nov 12, 2015 at 9:12

5 Answers 5


Looking at the list of original series ships on this page, a non-Constitution freighter called the Woden was shown in the episode "The Ultimate Computer" from season 2 of the original series (predating the "Way to Eden" ship in Himarm's answer, which was from season 3), and was probably Starfleet given the registration of NCC-325.* Unfortunately in design terms it isn't very interesting--the production crew just reused the Botany Bay (a pre-Starfleet ship) from "Space Seed".

enter image description here

*After looking at the transcript of this episode, I see NCC-325 is not mentioned in the dialogue, so its possible this registration is only seen on the new CG version for the remastered show, and wasn't present on the original model. The dialogue does say the Woden is "Listed in Starfleet Registry as an old-style ore freighter converted to automation", but I don't think it's clear that any ship listed in Starfleet Registry must have an NCC registration number.

  • I think we have a winner! Nov 12, 2015 at 22:26

The Aurora (NC-17740) was a 23rd century Federation Class J space cruiser. (TOS: "The Way to Eden" 03X20)

This is the Current version of the ship Via remastered CGI. enter image description here

I verified that this episode did include this ship on screen, Via Netflix.

This is the original version most likely seen on TV.

enter image description here

Memory Alpha

Starfleet maintained an old class J starship for use as a cadet training vessel. During an inspection by Fleet Captain Pike, a baffle plate ruptured, exposing the crew to harmful delta rays. Pike received an extremely high dose which ultimately left him an invalid, as he went in to rescue the cadets. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I")

They appear to be an old model'd ship, that starfleet kept around to use as a training ship.

  • 4
    I think there may be a distinction of Federation / Starfleet here... Nov 12, 2015 at 15:27
  • 1
    @ChrisB.Behrens starfleet=federation in TOS.
    – Himarm
    Nov 12, 2015 at 15:30
  • If The Doc is interested in design history, this page notes that the version of the Aurora from the original broadcast was actually a re-used Tholian ship with warp nacelles added to it.
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 12, 2015 at 15:52
  • 2
    @Himarm No, StarFleet has always been a separate organization. In the Enterprise series time, StarFleet existed and the Federation did not yet exist. Once the Federation was organized, StarFleet became a branch operating under the Federation flag.
    – BBlake
    Nov 12, 2015 at 16:28
  • 3
    I would disagree. A Ticonderoga class cruiser and a Merchant Marine cargo ship are both US flagged ships, but only the Ticonderoga is a US Navy ship. In the same way, the Aurora class vessel is a Federation star ship, but it is not a StarFleet vessel.
    – BBlake
    Nov 12, 2015 at 17:10

I'm gonna go with the USS Reliant - Miranda class starship that we see in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan

The Miranda-class *USS Reliant*


The Antares, in Charlie X, the second aired episode of The Original Series, is a cargo ship. enter image description here

  • 3
    A good answer, but it was discussed in the comments to the question and disqualified since it was only in remastered versions of the episode.
    – eshier
    Jan 2, 2018 at 21:25

IMHO it is perfectly possible that the Constellation in "The Doomsday Machine" was a starship of a non Constitution class.

When they search for the missing starship Constellation Spock says:

I have it on the sensors, Captain. By configuration, a starship stopped in space. She appears to be drifting.


Note that Spock doesn't say that the configuration matches any particular CLASS of spacecraft. He says that it matches a TYPE of spacecraft, a starship.

A TYPE of craft is one which performs a specific function, such as a battleship, an aircraft carrier, a tugboat, a private jet, a news helicopter, an airliner, a moon lander, etc.

A CLASS of craft is a group of craft of a specific TYPE which are all built to almost totally the same plans with only very minor variations.

The Iowa class battleships were one of dozens of classes of battleships which were built, for example.

So in Kirk''s era the Starfleet TYPE of starships has at least one CLASS, the Constitution class, and there may be several other classes of starships. Thus identifying a ship as being of the starship TYPE may not necessarily identify it as being of the Constitution CLASS of starship.

I have read that a consumer model kit of the Enterprise was used to film the Constellation and that it was not totally accurate and there were slight differences in configuration. When they look for the auxillery control room on the Constellation Kirk walks right past it before spotting Matt Decker in it. So some of the internal arrangements are different on the Constellation.

Thus it is uncertain whether the differences between the Enterprise and the Constellation are differences between two different ships of the same TYPE and the same CLASS, or between two ships of the the same TYPE but different CLASSES.

Furthermore, nobody knows the "frame story" which explains how knowledge of future, 23rd century, events was transmitted to the creators of Star Trek in the 1960s. And without knowing the "frame story", nobody can know how much of Star Trek is accurate.

Thus, so far as we can know, it is perfectly possible that the creators of Star Trek saved special effects money by deliberately making other starships seen in TOS look like Constitution class starships even though they knew those ships belonged to different classes.

So the common opinion that all starships seen in TOS were Constitution class starships is perfectty possible but has insufficient supporting evidence. And this I suggest that the Constellation MIGHT POSSIBLY have been the first non Constitution class starship seen in TOS.

  • 1
    It's widely accepted that the USS Constellation was a Constitution Class, especially the production list which indicated as much Nov 13, 2015 at 3:23
  • The Doc - But when the creators were working on the list it was a list of starships, not a list of starships of a particular class. Thus it is perfectly possible that some of the starships on the eventual list were starships of other classes. Note that 12 or 13 or even a few more starships seem very few for Starfleet. I suspect that TOS era starhips are a very rare type that combines all the power of the largest heavy cruisers in the defense branch of Starfleet with the laboratories of the largest science vessels in the research branch of Starfleet. Nov 13, 2015 at 23:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.