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It seems to me more than coincidental that USS Discovery and USS Enterprise have similar registry numbers (1031 vs 1701).

image of Discovery showing registry number (NCC-1031)

Now, I'm not really expecting there to be much of an in-universe explanation except perhaps that they were built around the same time.

But I could speculate that a conscious decision was made on NCC-1031 as a homage to previous series or because they were aiming for some familiarity in the audience even though Discovery is not an Enterprise.

Do we have any comments from the production staff regarding the selection of registry number NCC-1031?


Justifications for the claim it is similar:

  1. It is the same number of digits
  2. They both contains two 1's in the same position
  3. They both contain a 0 in one of the remaining positions
  4. They both contain an odd prime number in the last position (debate whether this counts if you like)
  5. By simplistic probability, the chance of just (2) and (3) (interpreted as, 'Given two four-digit numbers, what is the chance that two digits match and a third is the same but in a different position is 1/10 * 1/10 * 4C2 * 1/10 * 2C1 = 1.2%
  6. Look at this list of known registry numbers. There are around 275 unique registry numbers there. They are overwhelmingly 5-digit numbers. Around only 30 are of the form NCC-1XXX with the vast majority of these (around 15) being NCC-16XX or NCC-17XX, which are obviously numbered that way ostensibly for in and out-of-universe reasons (intentional close to Enterprise, mostly Constitution class)

Again, regardless of whether you agree it is similar, I am still asking what the out-of-universe reasons for the selection of this number are.

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    Hypothesis: Probably there aren't over 1000 starships of the same class as the Enterprise (enormous and saucer-shaped). As such, those numbers could include many other classes of vessel. Perhaps all starships of the same "class" as Enterprise have a similar designation (counting by tens, say). Of course, those numbers could include all giant saucer starships over say 150 years, but that still seems high. – Adamant Oct 2 '17 at 5:45
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    Out of four digits, they share 3 digits, but 2 of them are in different positions, and Benford's law tells us that leading digits lean towards lower digits (about 30% of observed numbers start with 1). In most contexts, I wouldn't consider the similarity shocking. Out of universe, we know that Matt Jeffries wanted the registry number for USS Enterprise to be easily readable, so he avoided numbers like 3, 6 and 8. The 3 in NCC-1031 violates that, but 0 and 1 are probably the two most easily distinguishable digits. – Lèse majesté Oct 2 '17 at 6:18
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    What I wanted to point out is that you can take a random pair of numbers of any given digits, and by using some arbitrary criteria, find some "similarities" with them; this does not mean that these number are somewhat tied or share some common "feature". – Sekhemty Oct 2 '17 at 20:33
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    @Sekhemty, I understand your point. But the fact that you can kind of always assign criteria about similarly shouldn't mean that we can never hypothesize it. For example, at an extreme, if you have two numbers, 162348568 and 162348569, would you say we can't hypothesize that they are particularly "similar". To quote you, "you can take a random pair of numbers...". True, but that pre-supposes they are random. And the question is about whether they are? – ThePopMachine Oct 2 '17 at 20:43
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    we can always speculate that the Discovery is the 10th ship of Starfleet's Black Ops Section 31 :) – andrew Oct 3 '17 at 7:00
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No official comments at this time, but possibly connected to the Space Shuttle Discovery (whose registration number was OV-103).

There are currently no solid statements on the rationale behind the registry number or on its similarities (perceived or otherwise) to that of the Enterprise. There has only been official comment on the naming of the ship:

BRYAN FULLER (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER): There are so many reasons why we settled on Discovery. But the chief one amongst them was that I couldn't think of a more Star Trek-themed name for a ship than Discovery.

(Source — "Introducing the USS Discovery", Official Star Trek Web Site)

While a user below notes a joke by Fuller that the number is in honour of Hallowe'en (his favourite holiday), others elsehwere have noted that the Space Shuttle Discovery had a registration number of OV-103 and so 1031 may be an homage to the real-life namesake:

"It's meant to commemorate the space shuttle Discovery's registration number of OV-103," a commenter speculated on StarTrek.com. "Discovery undertook some of the most dangerous and famous flights in the shuttle program and returned America to flight after the two shuttle losses."

(Source)

  • This isn't really answering the question; I think that it probably would have been better to explain this with a comment. – Sekhemty Oct 2 '17 at 13:42
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    @Sekhemty it does answer the question it says that there are no comments at this time, as the question specifically asks for "comments from production staff". – Edlothiad Oct 2 '17 at 13:46
  • I fail to see the usefulness of the habit of putting "we don't know" as a full answer when it could be easily explained in a comment, when we can't offer more significant details or non explicit facts that can help answer the question in a somewhat indirect way. But alas, here is another one to add to my list of "things I don't get". – Sekhemty Oct 2 '17 at 13:57
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    @Sekhemty : I'm not saying "we don't know". The OP asked if there are any statements from production staff about the registry number. I am saying there are none. – Praxis Oct 2 '17 at 14:13
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    @Sekhemty if you do have an issue with "we don't know" answers take it up on meta. That is the place for things like that. I would fully support your wanting to get rid of them. – Edlothiad Oct 2 '17 at 14:28
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I'm surprised this answer hasn't been posted yet. This has been known for over a year, since the first rough version of the USS Discovery was revealed at Comic-Con: It refers to Halloween (October 31st).

7 THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT BRYAN FULLER’S STAR TREK: DISCOVERY AT COMIC-CON

Bryan Fuller REALLY Likes Halloween

Seriously. Like, enough to commission an entire starship in its honor. Just take a look at the Discovery’s registry number: NCC-1031. “Yes,” admits the director with a laugh, “I love Halloween.”

  • If this is legitimate, then it seems to indicate that the number was chosen not due to its similarity (or not) to NCC-1701, but because of this other out-of-universe reason. Good find. How serious was this comment from Bryan Fuller?? – ThePopMachine Oct 11 '17 at 20:57
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If anything they are actually are a little too different.

'NCC' probably stands for "Naval Construction Contract" (see here).

We don't have the commission dates for either of them, it is assumed they were both in the 2250s but it would not be more than 10 years different. This means that in the 10-year gap between discovery and nearly 700 starships were commissioned.

The USS Excelsior had the number NCC-2000 and was commissioned sometime between 2280 and 2285

So we have two starships both commissioned in the 2250s with a nearly 700 difference in hull number, and another one commissioned at least 20 years later with an only 300 difference in serial number.

Now if there was a war with the Klingons around this time which could account for the increase in the building of ships. Which would mean the two hull numbers are a reasonably different.

  • these are interesting points, but I don't believe it's established that registry numbers are issued sequentially. Plus this is an attempt at an in-universe answer... – ThePopMachine Oct 2 '17 at 16:26
  • Out of universe would be an attempt at continuity. – Jeremy French Oct 2 '17 at 18:07
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On deep space 9 episode E22 of Season 7 it is said that section 31 was founded 300 years ago. Just thought I would add my piece.

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    That doesn't seem to answer the question in any way. – Blackwood Oct 14 '17 at 3:35
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This issue came up in the "Star Trek Discovery Pod" after the third show... They asked the question, and I agree... This might be one of the first Section 31 ships... It's advanced, different, doing super secret research on the war... It's section 31!

  • Can you elaborate? This isn't a very meaningful answer at this point. – Möoz Oct 2 '17 at 20:42
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The ship’s last two numbers of it’s registry is 31, It's a blatant Easter egg. Also the fact that the Discovery hides in a secret asteroid base and the black badge personnel seems to lean to a Section 31 covert operation. The black badges could be Section 31 agents guarding the ship and it’s mission.

I have to add something else Lorca could be Garth of Izar. From the little we seen of Lorca it’s becoming clear that the man is unhinged and maybe laying the ground work for the starting of a psychosis like Garth, and it certainly fits the timeline; and Garth’s mental break down later on. The name Lorca translates into "Lord" in Czech and Bulgarian, i.e Lord Garth, a title he takes later after his severe break down of reality.

Garth has a lord complex and straight from Star Trek TOS: episode Whom Gods Destroy. In 2268, Garth managed to overpower the colony's keepers, proclaimed himself Lord Garth, master of the universe..." So there could be some loose tie in there. Perhaps Gabriel Lorca is a code name under Section 31. Garth and the name Lorca could be the equivalent to a Lord which we know from canon Garth proclaims himself as.

I think that whether or not the show outright comes out and reveals him to be Garth, I strongly believe this is the character they are modeling Lorca after. He already exhibits many of the traits of Captain Garth (he's an accomplished Captain, military tactician fighting a war, takes place around the same era as the TOS episode introducing Garth, and he has an injury that could be potentially affecting his mind and/or faculties). It could be very well possible that Gabriel Lorca is a cover name since there's many suspicions of this ship being Section 31, or at the very least they all have cover names since their work is above Top Secret.

I also think the Romulans were involved too. That would make sense being what Kirk said, a long the lines. “Because of Garth, Spock and I are able to work together as brothers” It’s been established that the Romulans gave the cloaking technology to the Klingons. Due to how The Romulans interfere through proxy, it possible that they instigated in the shadows the Starfleet-Klingon war. Thinking it would weaken both sides, not realizing in the future that both sides would end up eventfully becoming allies. There is no doubt that the alliedship greatly reduced Romluan influence in the quadrants.

Gabriel Lorca could be Garth. He does fit the pattern of someone on the brink of a psychosis. Doing more research on the matter I found this information. The TOS episode Whom Gods Destroy was circa 2268. The founding of the Izar colony was circa 2183. That’s a difference of 85 years. The events of Discovery take place in 2256, so the events of Whom Gods Destroy is a deference of 12 years. That totally fits within the timeline of Garth becoming insane after the Battle of Axanar.

According to the Star Trek: Star Charts (pp. 32 & 36) and the Stellar Cartography: The Starfleet Reference Library ("Federation Historical Highlights, 2161-2385"), the M-class planet Izar was the third planet in the Izar (Epsilon Boötis) star system, located in the Alpha Quadrant. The primary of this system was a K-class star. in 2183, after the first manned landing by the SS Horizon, an Earth colony was founded on this planet. Within months of being founded, the Izar colony was admitted to the United Federation of Planets. The dominant species were Humans. In 2370, the census counted 185 million living on this planet. The planetary capital was New Seattle. Major attractions on this planet included the Starfleet Tactical School and the Izar Institute of Meteorology. This world was a stop on the major space lanes of the late 24th century. In 2183, after the first manned landing by the USS Horizon, an Earth colony was founded on this planet. Within months of being founded, the Izar colony was admitted to the United Federation of Planets. The dominant species were Humans. In 2370, the census counted 185 million living on this planet. The planetary capital was New Seattle. Major attractions on this planet included the Starfleet Tactical School and the Izar Institute of Meteorology. This world was a stop on the major space lanes of the late 24th century

Also, I found it very interesting that the episode “Context is for Kings'” was spoken verbatim by Lorca within a context that would seem borderline maniacal, if not unethical. I think we're seeing the so-called "Origin Story" of Garth of Izar.

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