Walker class starships in Star Trek (most notably the USS Shenzhou in Discovery) appear to be unique in that the main bridge is on the underside of the saucer section.

USS Shenzhou screenshot

Ironically, this screenshot had to be rotated by 180° as the first and best frames of the bridge in context to the hull showed the ship upside down. Here's a sufficiently faithful model which shows the location of the bridge in relation to the ship as a whole.

USS Shenzhou model

Other starship classes of that era (such as the Constitution and Reliant) have the bridge on the top of the saucer (apologies that this image is from the game Star Trek online, but it shows both ship classes and they're sufficiently faithful reproductions).

Constitution and Reliant Class Ships

Even the earlier starfleet vessels had the bridge at the top of the saucer section, as shown on the Enterprise NX-01.

Enterprise NX-01

Has there been an in-universe explanation for the unorthodox position of the bridge on the Walker class?

  • "the only real note I had was that the bridge was going to be on the bottom, plus we knew it was going to be an older ship. I wanted something non-traditional to tie it all together." - John Eaves – Valorum Oct 13 '20 at 19:57
  • Oh, I read the material on the OOU reasoning for it, I just can't find any reference to in-universe explanations for the unconventional layout. I know the first shot we see of the Shenzhou is in an atmosphere and I wondered if maybe it had been explored in universe that this was it's main intention (which might make sense). Unfortunately, the ship isn't in the show long enough to truly explore that. – GeoffAtkins Oct 13 '20 at 20:10
  • 3
    I would think Star Trek: Generations shows quite vividly why, if you're operating in an atmosphere, the bridge should be at the top of the ship! – Cadence Oct 13 '20 at 20:21
  • @Cadence - Perhaps that was why the Galaxy class had just that, from lessons learned with the Walker? – GeoffAtkins Oct 13 '20 at 20:50
  • It's Discovery. – Ham Sandwich Oct 13 '20 at 23:02

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