The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D is a Galaxy-class starship, designed to support more than 1,000 crew and passengers for up to seven years between visits to a starbase.
The state-of-the-art Galaxy-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D is built at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards orbiting Mars and commissioned in 2363. It is the fifth ship to bear the name immortalized in the Starfleet annals by Captain James T Kirk and his crew from 2263 to 2293. So far, no other Enterprise has matched the levels of adventure and historical importance achieved by the original, not even the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A, which had the advantage of also being under Kirk`s command. But this new Galaxy-class USS Enterprise proves to be an even more remarkable craft.
Unlike many Starfleet vessels, which are designed to be highly specialized for very precise missions, ships of the Galaxy class are larger, multimission vehicles capable of performing a much broader range of tasks. They are the most sophisticated vessels ever developed for this purpose.
Long missions require ships to be capable of operating independent of starbase refurbishment for up to seven years at warp 6, though in reality few ships will go this long between contact with other Federation facilities or starbases. All Galaxy-class ships are fully equipped to execute missions in the following fields; charting, mapping and first contact with previously unknown races, as well as full biological and ecological studies. Extensive scanning equipment, probes, and short-range shuttles are provided to aid mission efficiency.
To ensure the ships can meet their objectives, the Starfleet Spacecraft Design Advisory Bureau sets out design goals which all Galaxy-class vessels are expected to meet.
An important part of the operating specifications deals with the propulsion systems. Galaxy-class ships are designed to have a sustainable cruise velocity of warp factor 9.2, with warp 9.6 sustainable for a period of up to 12 hours. The primary power source used for this is a fifth-phase dilithium-controlled matter/antimatter reactor. The life cycle of primary warp core coil elements has to meet or exceed 1,200,000 cochrane-hours between neutron purge refurbishment, while secondary coil elements should last for 2,000,000 cochrane-hours.
In addition to the warp propulsion systems, Galaxy-class ships also have impulse engines, capable of reaching 0.92 lightspeed, with field-replaceable reactor modules.
Comfort is vital to any journey. In general, environmental conditions on all Starfleet vessels are set for Class-M compatible oxygen-breathing personnel, but Galaxy-class ships can be modified to provide Class-H, K, or L conditions. All ships have the provision to modify 10 percent of living quarters to Class-H, K, and L conditions, with a further 2 percent capable of being modified to Class-N and N(2), even when the rest of the ship is Class-M. This ensures that members of minority races feel as comfortable as possible during their long voyages. Sometimes, getting to know your way around a Galaxy-class starship can be a mission of exploration in itself.
The Enterprise is ever-evolving during its tenure as the flagship of Starfleet. When the ship visits Starbase 74 for a computer upgrade to be performed by a race of computer specialists, the Bynars, its capability as a huge mobile memory core is the attraction. The Bynars` homeworld computer is threatened by a nearby nova, and they hijack the Enterprise with the hope of downloading their heritage.
They are too late, and nearly die for their cause, but the crew uses the ship`s computer to rejuvenate the misguided Bynars and return to Starbase 74.
The Enterprise undergoes extensive repairs after the Borg attack on the Starfleet Armada. Not all of the repairs are effective. An explosion in the Enterprise`s dilithium chamber begins a trail of intrigue that eventually even implicates Captain Picard.
Dr Leah Brahms, the Galaxy-class engine designer, is initially unhappy with the changes that Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge makes to her original designs. But she comes to appreciate that the circumstance of Enterprise missions sometimes call for solutions that are not by-the-book.
Many experiments to expand scientific understanding of the Galaxy and the capabilities of space travel are held aboard the Enterprise.
An early one nearly destroys the ship when it plunges into a neighboring galaxy with the help of The Traveler, a Starfleet consultant. When another experiment conduced by Dr Paul Stubbs - involving the stellar explosion of a neutron-supergiant binary - is threatened by Wesley Crusher`s science project, Wesley allows two medical mircobotic `nanites` to interact, and they begin to eat the ship`s computer core.
The nanites are attacked by Dr Stubbs, but prove their sentience by
shutting down the ship`s life support system. Eventually, Dr Stubbs apologises
to them through Data and they return the ship to its original condition
in time to complete the experiment.
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D is launched from the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards orbiting the planet Mars.
The eighth official commander of a ship bearing the Enterprise name, Captain Jean-Luc Picard joins the ship shortly after it is commissioned in 2363, having commanded the USS Stargazer for 20 years.
Captain Edward Jellico takes temporary command of the Enterprise in 2369 when Starfleet sends Captain Picard on a secret mission to Celtris III.
The Enterprise encounters the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C when it is transferred 22 years into the future through a temporal rift. This enables Picard to work in tandem with his predecessor, Captain Rachel Garrett.
Measuring some 641m in length, the Enterprise is more than twice as long as the original USS Enterprise
The objectives of the Galaxy-class ships such as the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D are set out in the Galaxy-class Starship Development Project, under Starfleet Exploration Directive 903.2, and are as follows:
a) to provide a mobile platform for a wide range of ongoing scientific and cultural research projects.
b) to replace aging Ambassador and Oberth class starships as primary instruments of Starfleet`s exploration programs.
c) to provide autonomous capability for full execution of Federation
policy options in outlaying areas.
d) to incorporate recent advancements in warp powerplant technology and improved science instrumentation.