The USS Enterprise didn't join the first battle shown in Star Trek: Discovery.

Starships Clarke, Shran, T'Plana Hath, Kerala, Sue, Ride, Earhart, Dana, Edison, and Yeager have dropped out of warp.

Where is the USS Enterprise (any version) during the events of Star Trek: Discovery?

  • 1
    Good question. NCC-1701 was commissioned in 2245, so would have been around for about 10-11 years in May 2256 during the first episode. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 20:20
  • 25
    Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. Basically, it wasn't the entire fleet that answered the Shenzhou's call, but only those ships close enough to respond. The Shenzhou was right out on the border, so the Enterprise could have been on the far side of the quadrant - too far to respond.
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 21:01
  • It is out there! Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 7:24
  • 4
    It was exploring the Retcon Expanse.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


It was on its 5-year mission and was forbidden to participate in the war

In Star Trek: Discovery S02E01 ("Brother") we learn that the USS Enterprise, under command of Captain Christopher Pike, was on its 5-year mission when the war started (which covers Season 1 of DIS).

It was not supposed to participate unless absolutely necessary. Even then, they were far away from the war, so it would still take time to join the war effort.

PIKE: Missing the war while the Enterprise was on its five-year mission, that, uh took a toll on my crew, a toll on Spock. On me, too.

BURNHAM: Even if they had called you back, you were so far away, you wouldn't have made it in time. Starfleet ordered you to stay away for a reason. Enterprise was an instrument of last resort.



TL;DR - The Enterprise was too far away to respond in time

What do we know?

About the Battle of the Binary Stars

  • We know it occurred in a binary star system 6 light years from Gamma Hydra (Source)

About the Enterprise

  • The Enterprise was under the command of Christopher Pike at the time ('The Menagerie Pt 1', TOS)
  • During the course of his command, Pike captained the Enterprise to the Rigel, Vega and Talos systems (Source).

Let's talk about space...

The Gamma Hydra sector was visited by the Enterprise in 2267 in 'The Deadly Years' (TOS) and is near the Neutral Zone established after the Earth-Romulan War (TNG 'The Defector').

In the map of the explored galaxy commonly shown in various episodes (below), the Neutral Zone is to the far left of the image. Now, this map is first seen in Star Trek VI (2293) (Source), so the Enterprise should (barring any strange/unreported instances) have been within the confines of this map. Looking at the three systems it has been, we see Rigel is 3 cubes from the Neutral Zone in a straight line. Since in 'Errand of Mercy' (TOS) was set in Organia and the territory was disputed between the Federation and Klingons, the border was probably closer to the bottom right edge of the map, which would be even further.

Map of the Known Galaxy

We also know that a Constitution class vessel would take two weeks at maximum cruising speed to reach Rigel from Talos (Source), which is travelling five 'squares' on the below map. Add another three 'squares' to travel in a straight line from Rigel to Organia and this increases to just under three weeks.

Another consideration is that the Enterprise's mission was of exploration, so they probably wouldn't have travelled around space at maximum speed, but cruise slowly to explore the galaxy.

What does it all mean?

So, although Talos isn't the farthest point from where I suspect Gamma Hydra is, it just about is. Assuming the Enterprise was at least an average ship in terms of her engines (sorry Scotty), it would take her just under three days to traverse a 'square' on the map. Therefore, all the ships called to the Shenzhou's position must have been inside the 'square' of the Gamma Hydra sector. Since the Enterprise didn't arrive, it mustn't have been anywhere reasonably close.

  • 2
    This is an excellent answer.
    – Praxis
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 4:11
  • This is undermined, somewhat, by the Enterprise and Shenzhou responding to the same emergency in the prequel novel Desperate Hours. Still, it's the best answer we have.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 0:10
  • @Politank-Z by reading the trivia on Desperate Hours, it seems that: (1) there are other inconsistencies with this novel (like Saru's home planet), and (2) that novel facts get considered canon only if there is screenplay/animation to support it.
    – Cœur
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 15:12

Your Answer

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

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