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On most questions regarding Star Trek TNG, someone will eventually quote the technical manual as a reference and it does sound and look as a very comprehensive guide to TNG and Star Trek universe.

I'm interested to know how that manual came to be in the first place. Was it thought in advance and written entirely? Was it a live document that they evolved and retrofitted through the series or did they think about everything at the beginning and then force review every episode? Were there any science consultants or did they made it as they went? Is there a previous version for TOS or did they draft everything from scratch?

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The great, holy The Next Generation Technical Manual, is the most detailed and definitive piece of information any nerd can get, and is all thanks to the great and wonderful Michael Okuda.

All hail Michael Okuda!

Ahem- okay seriously. Michael Okuda was a graphic designer that was a big part of designing the Enterprise-A. Him and his wife, Denise Okuda, are the reason we have such amazing content about Star Trek, and so much of it. Michael and Denise are also responsible for authoring the Star Trek Encyclopedia.

Michael Okuda was brought on as a 'Technical Consultant' for The Next Generation, where he was responsible for fleshing out much of the technical information about the series, and the lore of Star Trek in general.

The Technical Manual was published early on in the series, and was pretty much a bible that everything else was referenced. There were publications written in the age that is Post Technical Manual (Many of these were also written or at least co-written by Michael Okuda, FYI), and Gene Roddenberry was always interested in getting advice from NASA for technical questions.

As for a living document, the publish date was 1991, which the show went on until 1994. The introduction by Gene Roddenberry stated, "Rick and Mike have obviously had a lot of fun filling in the gaps and trying to find technical 'explanations' for some of our mistakes."

I haven't found a documentary that referenced some early version of this manual, but there were several interviews that stated Okuda as one of the technical experts. There were also other anecdotal stories of seeking advice from NASA experts to help find more possible explanations for elements on the show. That is to say that this would be the collection of all of the notes of Okuda and the other technical managers of the show.

As for other manuals that came before this, wikipedia gathered a list of them:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Trek_technical_manuals

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    This doesn't answer the question in any meaningful way.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 23:57
  • How? I answered that it was made before or early on in the TNG series, who it was written by and their background, and mentioned that in general the creator of the show consulted with NASA for advice. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 21:32
  • Well, for starters you've made a bunch of really broad statements without offering any actual evidence.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 22:39
  • "the publish date was 1991, which was the last year of production for the show" - huh? TNG was produced from 1987 to 1994. Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 20:36
  • I missed that. I read the last year of Roddenberry and his last year as producing it and went with it. Edited to reflect the show went until 1994. Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 21:02

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