Around the web and reading various Star Trek materials I often come across two phrases: 'Star Fleet' (emphasis on the space [no pun intended!]) and 'Starfleet'. For example 'Star Trek Technical Manual' uses the former. By the time of TNG I recall that the phrasing often lends itself more to 'Starfleet' but I'm not so sure about whether 'Star Fleet' is used more often in TOS.

So, my question is, from the perspective of the out of universe series chronology, when did 'Star Fleet' become 'Starfleet'?

By 'out of universe series chronology', I mean in the order which the series were produced (i.e. TOS, TAS, TNG etc.)

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    When lazy writers finaly figgured out that they could save 1 character every time they wrote Star Fleet. I am just impressed that it didnt end up as SF in todays age of shortening everithing down...
    – Cherubel
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 8:59
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    I'm not sure there's a definitive answer to this question. Like many such shifts in language in the real world (the loss of the hyphen in "email", for example), in the absence of any prescriptive guideline, it just comes down to what people choose to do and what gains currency. I'm not sure anyone ever made a conscious decision about it. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 20:12

3 Answers 3


It may always have been Starfleet. If you seach chakoteya.net you will find that the spelling Star Fleet only occurs in two Enterprise episodes ("Vanishing Point" and "Exile") whereas the spelling Starfleet occurs in nearly all other episodes of every series (except when Starfleet isn't mentioned), even including TOS.

In the case of "Vanishing Point", it isn't even indicative of anything because both spellings occur.

In case this is an artifact of whoever did the transcripting, here is a scan of a draft of The Motion Picture dated 1978-07 which contains Starfleet 44 times and Star Fleet zero times. And here is a draft script of The Wrath of Khan dated 1982-03 which shows the spelling Starfleet 17 times and Star Fleet zero times.

So I don't think the premise that the spelling changed is accurate.

TL;DR It was always spelt Starfleet

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    1987-1907 eh? That's some serious time travel 😉 Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 22:20
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    My only issue with this is that the transcript could be wrong because it's fan made and not official. You've got to remember that they were still figuring things out during TOS so, if you could find an original script or other documentation proving it wasn't ever Star Fleet that would be good 😉 Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 22:22
  • @N_Soong, yes, the chakoteya.net transcripts are fan made. That's why I also included the scans of the original drafts of the first two TOS movies. st-minutiae was down at the time, so I'm not sure if this can be bolstered by original scripts of TOS episodes. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 2:55
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    Just saw this now --- +1.
    – Praxis
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 21:17
  • @Praxis: What are you up to? Commented May 1, 2020 at 20:19

I can think of one thing which could've potentially contributed to the change in spelling between TOS and TNG: the British TV series Star Fleet. Star Fleet (1982) was the English-dubbed version of a Japanese puppet-animated series in the mode of Gerry Anderson's "Supermarionation" series.

X-Bomber was renamed Star Fleet and dubbed by English speaking actors for broadcast in the UK on ITV. The show was broadcast there on Saturday mornings, first airing on October 23, 1982, the day before Star Wars' UK TV Premiere.


The logo used in the English-language "Star Fleet" version of the TV series clearly spaced the title out as two words: enter image description here

Star Fleet Wikia

This doesn't seem to be a trademark issue, though. I can't find anything in the UK Intellectual Property Office's online trademark search, which claims to hold UK trademark records from 1876 through the present, indicating that "Star Fleet" was trademarked in association with the show.

However, "Star Fleet" was fairly popular - most notably, the year after its release in the UK, Brian May (of the rock group Queen) gathered a group of musicians to record an EP based around a cover of the show's English theme song.

This is by no means definitive - the lack of any record of a trademark conflict dispels the most likely connection - but the brief success of a TV series using the two-word term may have inclined future Star Trek staff and fans to differentiate their Starfleet with the one-word term.

  • Very interesting theory! Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 22:25
  • This is complete speculation. I doubt this series was particularly known in the US. I certainly haven't heard of it. Plus a space or lack thereof doesn't get you around a trademark or copyright issue. Plus this is way after TOS anyhow. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 4:06
  • @ThePopMachine I believe it's self-evident from the text of my answer that I'm speculating. I'm almost certain that this would be a trademark issue, not a copyright issue, and I discussed the lack of evidence for a trademark issue in my answer. Also, the question specifically asks about changes that occurred between the time of TOS and TNG, so what's your point?
    – recognizer
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 16:03
  • @recognizer: Sorry, that wasn't directed at you. My point isn't that you haven't made it clear this is speculation. It's that people shouldn't be upvoting a purely speculative answer. That's not how this site works. We look for answers based on evidence. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 17:54

In Star Wars (1977) Han Solo said it would take half of the [evil Empire's] star fleet to destroy a planet. Han may have been using star fleet as a descriptive term for a fleet of star ships or the empire's fleet may have been officially named The Star Fleet.

I always wondered if that reference was some sort of comment about the Federation and Starfleet not being as good as they claimed.

After Star Wars Paramount and Roddenberry might have decided that the Federation's fleet should always be call Starfleet instead of Star Fleet to make it seem as different as possible from the star fleet in Star Wars.

Is Starfleet ever spelled visually on screen, as in a logo of Starfleet Command or of Starfleet Academy or in some document clearly seen?

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