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Starship Design Notes, Part 2


I stumbled on the Starfleet Museum site by accident and found it very interesting. This site rekindled the urge from when I was a kid to draw and design make believe starships, although none I did were as good as these. Since Masao already had very interesting outsides done, I contacted him and asked if he would mind it I would try to design the insides. I agreed with him that while the Enterprise NX-01 looks good, it has the wrong look for a ship that is supposed to predate NCC-1701 by 100 years. However, the ships at Starfleet Museum have just the right look, and the history to go along with them is great. Masao has been a huge help in this effort. I consult him often about the layouts and he critiques all of them.

These notes detail and contrast how the internal design of the ships changes with time, technology, and species and my personal progression and philosophy how I designed them. This document is a work in progress. Ships at the bottom haven't been designed yet!

Allen Rolfes


Notes on Each Ship, since 2200

The number after each ship is the launch date of the lead ship followed by the ship type/function. They are in Masao's Star Trek universe chronological order, but not necessarily the order I designed them. In general the notes for each ship apply to future ships of the same type until the technology changes. The first ship has more notes than most since it describes the systems and technology for the first time. Each set of ship notes then describes how technology and design differs from the ships before, and also design differences between species. I also describe any significant deviations I made from Masao's online pictures or specs, then list ships stats and specs which are different from or in addition to those in the main online writeup:  

CRACKER (Romulan) – 2201, heavy cruiser

It has been over a quarter century since the last Romulan heavy cruiser, Cataract. The overall layout was similar to Cataract. The upper primary and secondary hull had most ships crew functions. Descending through the rest of the primary hull was weapons, deuterium, cargo and shuttle bays. The secondary hull had the main fusion engine and impulse engines. misc. support systems were in the secondary hull but also in odd shaped spaces of the primary hull. The Romulans had made significant advances in starship and component design and construction since Cataract:  

PUFFIN – 2203, fighter

Since this fighter is so small (much smaller than Minotaur) I originally thought about drawing it at a larger scale than all the other ships I have done. However, after starting this design, it went smoothly, and while ‘pixilated' you still get a good idea of how the ship is arranged. So it was left at the same scale as all other ships.

Puffin was the most advanced M/AM fuel cell warp capable fighter of its day with the following internal arrangement from front to rear of the very sleek shaped ‘fish' or ‘penguin' shaped hull:  

ASIA – 2204, heavy cruiser

Asia was a test ship for many radically new designs, components, and fabrication methods in starship construction. The technology that allowed all this to occur was the transporter. Using the transporter to move cargo was only its first use and even this alone had large implications in star ship design first realized in the Hyperion. This new use of the transporter first begun to be realized in the Asia was its use in manufacturing.

Star Trek shows and other canon material only hint at using transporters in manufacturing but never mention it outright or the impact it could have on manufacturing. The food synthesizers often seen were mentioned as being based on transporter technology and would take basic organic building blocks from bulk storage and assemble them into the desired food. In a sense, the food was ‘manufactured' by the transporter. Non-organic components have also been manufactured this way. In one episode, Worf was looking for a gift to give someone and after viewing a catalog of items, had a device that looked like a tabletop version of the food synthesizer ‘manufacture' him a crystal goblet. Apparently this device took non-organic components from bulk storage (silicon, carbon, lead and other elements that would go into a crystal goblet) and assembled them on a molecular level to make the goblet. These are tantalizing hints that transporters could be used to manufacture almost any item from its base elements.

The ability to use transporters in manufacturing should come about very soon after cargo transporters are perfected. This has huge implications in manufacturing. Since a transporter assembles items on the molecular level, items can be designed on the molecular level. For example, metal alloys, carbon composites, and other materials can be combined on the molecular level to give composite materials with strengths, weights, and other properties far superior to any composite materials traditionally manufactured. Even materials that are 100% metal alloys can be made far stronger. The atomic metal crystal size, shape and orientation can be precisely designed. Even today it is realized that if the crystal structure of metals could be precisely controlled, metals could be an order of magnitude stronger, or more flexible, or both than they currently are. Starship components could be designed that are far stronger, lighter, and smaller than ever possible before. Everything from the structural supports, warp and impulse engines, support systems, plasma conduits, warp nacelles could be built with parts that are far superior to anything before.

Of course, the first attempt at using these components in a starship was far from perfect. The components would be extremely expensive and inefficient to make. This would prevent their immediate and widespread use and was the reason why Asia was so expensive and so few were built. The components themselves were not as strong or light as they potentially could be. Many decades of refinement would follow as these components became better and cheaper and gradually worked their way into mainstream manufacturing. But nevertheless, Asia was the first attempt to use transporter manufactured materials in a starship.

Other design notes and changes in Asia:  

LANCASTER – 2205, heavy cruiser

A larger ship based on the now familiar saucer/neck/cylinder /struts/nacelle configuration:  

Horizon – 2206, explorer/research

A long range explorer/research ship with design lineage from Lancaster:

D-4 (Klingon) – 2207, heavy cruiser

I made many small changes to the external pictures so they were consistent between them and also to accommodate the internal arrangement. The more significant changes were:  

There were many changes and upgrades from the D-3, although some components were kept the same:  

SWORDFISH – 2207, fighter carrier

Swordfish is a heavily modified Lancaster where the neck was removed and the secondary hull attached directly to the rear of the primary hull similar to the Paris. It is equipped with a large fighter bay to carry the latest Puffin warp capable fighters. There were many small and some medium changes made to Masao's original pictures to accommodate the interior design:  

Other notes on the interior:  

GIANT CARGO – 2210, military cargo carrier

Giant is an example of the largest military transport made since the Bison type transports from before the Romulan War, but reflects more recent advancements. The overall layout was similar to the previous Ocean and Constellation military transports:  

GIANT PASSENGER – 2210, civilian passenger ship

This was a Giant variant made at the same time as the military cargo variant. It was not retrofitted from an already build cargo ship at some later date, but built from scratch from the keel up as a passenger liner. The overall layout is similar to the previous Constellation passenger liners. The description focuses on the differences from the military cargo version:  

QUETZALCOATL – 2215, semi-dreadnaught

A semi-dreadnaught evolved very loosely from the Lancaster:  

WASP CARGO – 2220, civilian cargo ship

A decommissioned military Wasp was resold and converted to a civilian cargo ship:  

ARYABHATTA – 2222, explorer/research ship

An explorer/research ship of Andorian design with nacelles embedded directly in the wingtips of a thick crescent shaped primary hull with a tapering oval secondary hull attached immediately behind it. There were several changes to the online pics, most of them subtle:  

Other comments on the internal layout:  

KESTREL – 2223, light cruiser/patrol ship

A militarized version of Aryabhatta:  

D-5 (Klingon) – 2224, heavy cruiser

A more advanced ship with more Klingon designed components:  

CAPSIZE (Romulan) – 2225, heavy cruiser

PACHYDERM CARGO – 2225, military cargo carrier

Pachyderm is an example of a smaller, more compact, and more advanced military cargo carrier than Giant:  

PACHYDERM PASSENGER – 2225, civilian passenger ship

This was a Pachyderm variant made at the same time as the military cargo variant. It was not retrofitted from an already build cargo ship at some later date, but built from scratch from the keel up as a passenger liner. The description focuses on the differences from the military cargo version:  

VALLEY FORGE – 2227, heavy cruiser

An evolutionary heavy cruiser using more advanced manufacturing techniques which were first tested with Asia:  

BELLEAU WOOD – 2230, troop assault transport

A troop assault transport based of Valley Forge. The main changes from that ship are:  

PENGUIN – 2230, fighter

Penguin was the first fighter with a true M/AM warp reactor that did not rely on M/AM fuel cells to reach warp. It had the following internal arrangement from front to rear and then in the wings:  

AL-BURAK – 2231, fighter carrier

A fighter carrier based on the Belleau Wood. The main changes from that ship are:  

SIEGFRIED – 2235, Dreadnaught

A three nacelle ‘super beam' weapon ship designed from Belleau Wood. The main changes from that ship are:  

CAPELLA – 2236, light survey/science ship

A small survey/science ship that is a precursor with similar hull arrangement to later Miranda and Oberth classes. The ship's design and specs reflect its mission, and that it is not expected to engage in any hostilities and not expected to venture very far from known safe Federation boundaries. Main features are:  

STARMASTER/DESERT TENDER– 2240, military tender ship

This version is a top of the line starship tender. It has essentially all the maintenance functions of a small starbase – but portable. On the ships it services, it can perform everything from resupplying up to a task force size fleet (container cargo, bulk cargo, deuterium, AM, additional shuttles/fighters), routine maintenance up to carrying and swapping out an entire nacelle and M/AM reactor, even extensive battle damage repair. It has a large crew so can turn around a ship or even several ships in short order. Main design features are:  

STARMASTER/DESERT CARGO – 2240, military cargo ship

This version is a standard military cargo transporter. It can carry container, bulk cargo, shuttles and other smaller craft and other large/odd shaped cargo. It can also transfer military personnel. Main changes from the military tender version are:

STARMASTER/DESERT PASSENGER – 2240, civilian passenger ship

Despite being named a passenger ship, over half the available space is for various types of cargo. While it carries almost the same amount of passengers as other similar size liners, the passenger common areas have been scaled down. Main design changes from the military cargo version are:  

D-6 (Klingon) – 2241, heavy cruiser

An evolution of the D-5 cruiser into a smaller and sleeker ship designed for fast attack missions. Speed, power, and agility are emphasizes over range and multi-role capability. Anything not necessary for the fast attack role was removed to reduce ship mass. The general layout is similar to D-5, but main changes are:  

PYOTR VELIKIY – 2241, heavy cruiser

A heavy cruiser designed in the flat Andorian style using the same improved components of Constitution (see Constitution for this list) with one major exception: the warp reactor is a scaled up design based on the Valley Forge warp reactor. It was scaled up so much to reach the same output as the new Constitution reactor that it is the largest warp reactor in a frontline ship since the first generation M/AM reactors of the Romulan War era! Other design features are:  

CONSTITUTION – 2245, heavy cruiser

WARNING! DISCLAIMER: This is not simply the canon interior by the Master, Franz Joseph or true to every detail seen in TOS! It does have some of those features as well as some refit Enterprise features. But most of all, it is based on the Starfleet Museum design lineage. It uses the same types of components that take up significant internal space. It uses similar hallway & turbolift layout styles as past SM ships. It uses similar cargo/shuttle bay/fuel/etc. placement and amounts. It is based around a central continuous structural support and utility transfer core like all SM interiors. So don't be upset that it doesn't have an exact TOS engine room or transporter room or shuttle bay. Main features are:  

PYOTR VELIKIY CARGO – 2246, heavy cargo tug

Many Pyotr Velikiy class ships were refitted with Constitution's revolutionary warp reactor when it became available. The entire secondary hull with the old reactor was removed, and the new reactor placed in a space in the primary hull specifically for this purpose. The extra internal space allowed for easy conversion to many different variants such as a large science/research ship, hospital ship, cargo or troop transporter, or even fighter carrier. The variant shown is a cargo/tug transport suitable for service in a combat area. In addition to swapping out the warp reactor, the main changes are:  

D-7 (Klingon) – 2250, heavy cruiser

This is not simply a canon-like interior that you might find on other internet sites. It is based on the Starfleet Museum design lineage. It uses the same types of components that take up significant internal space and similar hallway & turbolift layout styles as past SM Klingon ships. It uses similar cargo/shuttle bay/fuel/etc. placement and is based around a central continuous structural support and utility transfer core like all SM interiors. Main features are:  

AVENGER – 2252, medium cruiser

A small but powerful medium cruiser (i.e. destroyer) based on Constitution era technology. Main features are:  

PREDATOR – 2252, medium cruiser

A smaller, slightly less powerful but even more agile cruiser than Avenger. Main features are:  

CRICKET (Romulan) – 2255, heavy cruiser

Cricket contains many features of the previous ship, Capsize, but with many changes and improvements:  

ENTERPRISE (Constitution refit) – 2271, heavy cruiser

WARNING! DISCLAIMER: This is not a canon interior true to the movies! It does have some of those features, but mostly it is based on the Starfleet Museum design lineage.

Even though there is not an online article on the refit Enterprise in the SM, this deckplan was done as a basis for Furious/Spectre which are based on a refit type design. As much of the Constitution deckplan as possible was kept the same to stay true to the idea this was a refit... even though the external changes stretch the plausibility of a refit but look more like a brand new ship design! The deckplan keeps the same canon refit exterior except for minor surface details such as window & airlock location. Major refit changes and similarities from the original are:

FURIOUS – 2296, heavy cruiser

 A ‘deep-reaction penetrator’:  

SPECTRE – 2296, medium cruiser

A ‘stealth penetrator’ with a blunt dorsally streamlined arrowhead shaped primary hull and very small secondary hull directly attached to it:  


Credits: All text by Allen Rolfes


Last modified: 08.03.14