There are references to "emergency saucer separation" going all the way back to the original series. The Constitution class can apparently do it to allow the saucer to be used a lifeboat when damage to the engineering section makes it unsafe to remain in proximity. As far as I know, there's no indication that it can be undone - you just build a new ship (maybe using parts of the old one).

So, the question "Other starships that can undergo saucer separation?" doesn't ask the important second half of the question...

Which ships can separate and reconnect without outside assistance?

To put it another way, which ships can separate into two functional starships that can later be rejoined under their own power. The Galaxy-class and Prometheus-class meet the criteria. Are there any others? Expanded universe sources are acceptable.


Going strictly by canon sources, the Galaxy is the first ship that can, er, pull itself together. Saucer separation with the Constitution class would require a starbase to reintegrate the pieces. No word on any ships in the intervening time period. Also, it is assumed that the Enterprise-E has the capability as well.

As an aside, it always struck me as odd that the "battle section" had warp capability but the saucer, where the families and all the folks you wanted to be safe were, didn't. I postulated that maybe the saucer had the ability to maintain a warp field, even if it couldn't generate one.

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    The existence of "warp sustainers" in the saucer section and photon torpedos is mentioned in the ST:TNG Technical Manual. They're specifically there to allow the saucer to gracefully exit warp when separated, and to prevent torpedoes fired at warp from decelerating and hitting the launching ship (there's a bit of a field kickup in the launchers to get them going faster than the firing ship). – T.J.L. Sep 22 '17 at 15:28
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    Additionally, if the function of saucer separation is primarily designed to function as a life boat, you probably don't want a warp core there. For one, warp cores and their related fueling/exhaust hardware are large. But more importantly, they like to explode. If you're separating a ship that's meant to do so only under dire circumstances, then you're probably doing that because the core in the primary hull is exploding. – Ellesedil Sep 22 '17 at 15:46
  • good answer but lacking evidence. You'd have my upvote if you can cite the Constitution claim – NKCampbell Sep 22 '17 at 20:08
  • Must have missed that line about "warp sustainers" in the Tech Manual. I don't recall which episode of TOS discussed saucer sep and maybe the line about reassembly requiring a starbase came out of a non-canon source. (It's been a while.) – Emsley Wyatt Sep 22 '17 at 21:21

On Canon sources, you have 4 classes of ships that have any capabilities of separation between sections of the ship. There are probably 3 that are capable of doing so without assistance.

TL/DR: Constitution (Emergency Only), Galaxy (Dynamic/easily reattached), Sovereign (Hinted to in designs, maybe Emergency Only), and Prometheus (Dynamic/ Multi-Vector-Assault)

Constitution Class: There are design mentions of the ability to separate the saucer section from the engineering section, but there was no implementation of it on TV or in the movies. I believe there was a reference in a Novel that stated that it was for emergency purposes only.

Galaxy Class: We got to see saucer separation right out the gate on the Pilot episode of TNG, not to mention other episodes and the Enterprise-D's only movie appearance in Generations. Michael Okuda helped to create the coolest technical document of all time, releasing an entire Technical Manual for the Galaxy class, Enterprise-D. In this, it details the step by step process, as well as automated emergency procedures that incorporated saucer separation.

Sovereign Class: It was mentioned in more general technical manuals that the Sovereign Class continued the ability of its predecessor for saucer separation. However, it was never demonstrated, and I do not recall any Novels mentioning it.

Prometheus Class: One of the coolest things to come from Voyager, a ship mainly built off the idea of section separation for a numerical tactical advantage in combat. Multi-Vector-Assault-Mode demonstrated one ship wrecking Federation and Romulan ships alike in that episode. This is also the only example known of each section having their own Warp core and warp nacelles.

Honorable Mentions:

Miranda, Nebula, Akira, and Runabouts: These classes are supposed to have 'Mission pods' that can be changed out at spacedock, which allows them to have more functions in the long term.

Intrepid Class: That cool 'Aero shuttle' that is docked on the bottom section of the saucer looks big enough to have to count in some way. I'm sad to see that they never showed this off in the TV shows.

  • If you mention the AeroShuttle of the Intrepid class, you should also mention the Captain's Yacht on the Galaxy class. – O. R. Mapper Sep 22 '17 at 21:32
  • Oh yeah! Nice @O.R.Mapper – as.beaulieu Sep 22 '17 at 21:52
  • Kirk did once tell Scotty to "jettison the nacelles" I believe. And I'm pretty sure the TNG tech manual mentions the Ambassador class could separate. – Stephen Collings Sep 23 '17 at 22:28

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