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In episodes of Star Trek, the original series, I see other ships that are Constitution class. Did any other classes of Federation star ships appear during this series?

  • 2
    Not sure if the DY-100 class from the "Space Seed" would be classified as a starship. – dean1957 Mar 25 '20 at 2:44
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    It is decades since I watched TOS, but I'm pretty sure no other classes of star fleet ships were ever shown in the three seasons, only freighters. I remember I wondered that myself, then. The first star fleet ship not of constitution class must have been the USS Reliant from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. You might argue whether or not the movies I - VI count as parts of TOS, though. – Volker Landgraf Mar 25 '20 at 3:18
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    Do you want to include TOS: Remastered? A number of starship designs were created for and/or inserted into the Remastered episodes as replacements for "light blob" ships or for new shots where ships didn't exist in the original broadcast version. – SpaceWolf1701 Mar 25 '20 at 4:44
  • There's the Bonaventure from TAS as well, which might count if the movies do. It's basically a squished Enterprise and its age might mean it predates the Federation but still. – Withad Mar 25 '20 at 12:20
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    I suppose the different ship classes (such as Dreadnought) that appeared in the mid-70's Star Fleet Technical Manual don't count? (Memory Alpha page is oblivious!) – Spencer Mar 25 '20 at 14:24
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Yes, but not many and it might depend on your definition of "Federation starship".

In "The Way to Eden", we see the Class J vessel Aurora (NC-17740). It's never explicitly referred to as a Federation vessel but its theft falls under Starfleet jurisdiction and it has a Federation-style registry number in the Remastered episode. It also follows the normal Federation vessel "design language" - grey with two warp nacelles extended on pylons.

It looks like this in the original broadcast:

The Aurora as it originally appeared.

And then this in the Remastered episode:

The Remastered Aurora

(Images taken from Memory Alpha)

There's also Harry Mudd's vessel from "Mudd's Women", which is a blob of light in its original appearance but uses the same Class J CGI model as the Aurora in the Remastered episode. It's a civilian vessel (and an "unregistered" one at that) but I think it's safe to call it a Federation design, at least.

Ex Astris Scientia has a fairly comprehensive list of ships that appeared in TOS. Not counting shuttles, these are the only two which seem to be Federation-aligned vessels but which aren't Constitution class.

3

There is no mention of specific starship classes in TOS.

The dedication plaque on the bridge by the turbolift door says:

USS ENTERPRISE

STARSHIP CLASS

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.

But I don't know if anyone can read it onscreen in any scene with even the highest resolution.

In "Tomorrow is Yesterday" Kirk said to Christopher:

CHRISTOPHER: Must have taken quite a lot to build a ship like this.

KIRK: There are only twelve like it in the fleet.

Kirk does not specify how much like the Enterprise the 11 (or 12) others are. Thus we can't tell whether the 12 (or 13) are a small special subset of whatever class of ship the Enterprise is, or else a broad category that includes several different classes of starships or even all starships.

One of the diagrams on a monitor screen Khan is reading in "Space Seed" is for a phaser bank for a Constitution class starship - if you can read the writing in it.

In "The Doomsday Machine", they enter star system L-374:

PALMER: Sir, I'm picking up a ship's disaster beacon.

KIRK: Try to raise it, Lieutenant.

SPOCK: I have it on the sensors, Captain. By configuration, a starship stopped in space. She appears to be drifting.

PALMER: No answer, Captain. All I get is the automatic beacon.

The starship is later seen to be the Constellation, and to have a very similar configuration to the Enterprise. Spock says that it has the starship configuration, implying that all starships have at least the same basic layout with saucer, cylindrical engineering hull, and two warp nacelles, and that other types of space ships don't have the starship configuration.

All other Federation Starfleet starships seen in TOS also look a lot like the Enterprise. Thus they certainly fall within the definition of starship configuration.

So one can deduce that either all the Federation Starfleet starships seen in TOS are the same class as the Enterprise, or else some of the Federation Starfleet starships seen in TOS belong to other classes but they look so similar to the Enterprise's class that the audience can't tell the difference by their external appearances.

It is possible that the other starshps seen in TOS "actually" look less like the "real" Enterprise, but the producers of TOS saved on money for special effects and models by reusing Enterprise models, and so made them look more like the Enterprise than they "actually" do.

And that is all the data given in TOS canon.

Some memos that were reprinted in The Making of Star Trek, 1968, showed that the production staff believed that all starships belonged to the same class as the Enterprise, and that there were only about a dozen starships total in Starfleet in the era of TOS. And of course there is considerable discussion about the validity of such near canon sources.

Other data about TOS era starfleet classes comes from less canonical sources, or from other canonical sources produced decades later which might intentionally or unintentionally contradict TOS. Thus people can argue about how valid such additional data is.

  • Worthy of note -- following the Naval theme Roddenberry put on TOS from the beginning, a layman would have trouble telling an Iowa class battleship from an Oregon class through binoculars at a half mile, even though they're quite different ships. Same with various classes of destroyers. A surfaced Los Angeles class attack sub looks almost identical to a surfaced Ohio class missile boat. – Zeiss Ikon Mar 26 '20 at 17:39
  • I was pretty deep into TOS as a teenager back in the 70s. I remember finding a list of names and registration numbers for all 12 Constitution-class starships. I wish I could positively cite a source for this, but I can't. They might have been listed in "The Making of Star Trek", or possibly listed on the schematic drawings of the Enterprise. – Weaky Reader Jul 23 '20 at 2:55

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