It was demonstrated in the movie 'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home' that the transporter system aboard a Klingon Bird-of-Prey could be used to transport two adult humpback whales (George and Gracie) plus a massive 18,000 cubic feet of sea water into a transparent aluminum tank, built into the ship's hold to receive them.

Combining both the whales and water results in a massive transport, which leads to the question: Has a larger single transport ever been done? How much can actually be transported in a single pass?

  • For reference, in The Voyage Home Scotty says that they had to transport "four hundred tons" of whales and water, or "eighteen thousand cubic feet of water". Chakoteya
    – Xantec
    May 7, 2014 at 0:33
  • Thanks @Xantec, I just found that too and was coming back to edit it into the question.
    – Morgan
    May 7, 2014 at 0:39
  • Probably the maximum single transport capacity is limited by the targeting scanners (can they encompass the entire mass) and the memory capacity available in the transporter buffers.
    – Xantec
    May 7, 2014 at 1:34
  • This maybe of interest. Not exactly a dup. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/47246/… May 7, 2014 at 3:08
  • @MajorStackings -I saw that when I was forming the question but rejected it as too narrow and specific to answer the question considering the sheer volume transported by that Bird of Prey.
    – Morgan
    May 7, 2014 at 5:20

4 Answers 4


In the VOY episode "Distant Origin", the Voth transported Voyager (which is a little bit bigger than a couple of whales) to the inside of their city ship:

The Voth city ship was massive and extremely powerful in comparison with Starfleet vessels – the Voth were able to beam the USS Voyager into a chamber inside their vessel which could clearly house many more starships.

  • Wow. That's a 344m long x 130m wide x 63m high, 700,000 metric ton Intrepid-class starship.
    – Morgan
    May 7, 2014 at 6:20
  • I can't imagine any transport surpassing that unless it's the Voth doing it.
    – Morgan
    May 7, 2014 at 19:59

Per my answer here, the largest object that a Federation Transporter can transport without special engineering assistance is 2.8L x 2.5W x 2.0H or 3.45L x 1.0W x 2.0H, equivalent to a large cargo container.

The Bird of Prey contain several transporters and these can be used in "site to site" mode to transport a very considerable volume if they're all tied in together and used at the same time.

As far as the largest transport seen on screen, in the episode "Distant Origin", the U.S.S. Voyager (which as Morgan points out in his comment above is a 344m long x 130m wide x 63m high, 700,000 metric ton Intrepid-class starship) is transported inside a massive Voth city-ship;

KIM: No response. They're locking onto the ship with an energy beam. It's cutting right through our shields! Some sort of transporter.

JANEWAY: Report.

KIM: We've been beamed inside the alien vessel.

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The maximum transport size will usually be a function of the transporter type ( shuttlecraft, personnel, cargo etc. ) and what the current storyline requires. A non-canon book discusses transporting a star.

  • 1
    Can you remember which book?#
    – Valorum
    May 7, 2014 at 6:12
  • "and what the current storyline requires." +1
    – Mazura
    Jun 21, 2016 at 0:06

In the VOY episode Prime Factors (Season 1 Episode 9) the aliens are found to possess a transporter-like technology that should have been able to transport the whole ship up to 40,000 light years. Of course there was a technical incompatibility that prevented it from working (and ruining the whole premise of the show), but it is a canon-use of a transporter with at least the potential to move a very large object.

  • 4
    That was actually a method of folding space, which is quite a different process than the transporters. Spatial Trajector
    – Xantec
    May 7, 2014 at 1:51

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