Design and developmentEdit
The Galaxy-class began development in the 2350s at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards. Numerous technologies implemented on Galaxy-class starships were tested aboard earlier prototype vessels, including the Oberth-class USS Pegasus in the 2350s. The warp core was designed at Outpost Seran-T-one on stardate 40052 by some of the most brilliant engineering minds in the Federation, including Leah Brahms of the Theoretical Propulsion Group.
Galaxy class ship under construction at Utopia Planitia Major component construction of Galaxy-class ships was carried out both in orbit and at ground based facilities.
Upon its launch, the Galaxy-class had become the most technologically sophisticated and complicated ship ever built by the Federation.
Service aboard a Galaxy-class starship was considered an extremely prestigious assignment and they attracted some of Starfleet's finest officers. They were noted for their impressive abilities among Federation citizens and other Alpha Quadrant races. Some Galaxy-class ships were able to house large civilian populations; many assigned personnel even brought their families aboard to live with them. In 2365, the safety of the Galaxy-class, in particular its warp propulsion system, came into question when the USS Yamato was lost in a mysterious accident near the Romulan Neutral Zone. The ship had experienced massive system-wide failures which eventually led to a loss of antimatter containment. Further investigation by the Enterprise-D revealed the malfunctions were the result of an Iconian software transmission and not a design flaw inherent to the ship. Undoubtedly the most prominent early Galaxy-class starship was the USS Enterprise-D, which, apart from two brief periods under the commands of William T. Riker and Edward Jellico, was commanded for its entire nine year career by Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Enterprise made first contact with a multitude of new species, including the Q Continuum, the Ferengi Alliance and the Borg Collective. Its diplomatic efforts helped cool tensions between smaller, regional powers and prevent dramatic upheavals to the security of the Federation during the Klingon Civil War, and frequently checked Romulan and Cardassian operations in tense situations. It fought off some of the Federation's toughest foes, most notably preventing the assimilation of Earth during the Borg invasion of 2367.
A Galaxy-class ship was involved in the disastrous first contact with the Dominion. The USS Odyssey had entered the Gamma Quadrant in order to rescue several Federation citizens who had been taken captive by the Jem'Hadar. While the Odyssey was retreating, a Jem'Hadar attack ship made a suicide run at its stardrive section, causing a massive hull breach and resulting in the complete destruction of the ship. This unwarranted act led to three years of hostilities between the Federation and the Dominion, culminating in the outbreak of the Dominion War. Galaxy-class starships saw action in many of the major fleet actions of the war including Operation Return, where the class also played a major strategic role, grouped into Galaxy wings, the first Battle of Chin'toka, and the Battle of Cardassia.
Several more starships entered the fleet inventory during the 2370s. (VOY: "Relativity") By the latter half of the decade, Galaxy-class ships were seen all around Federation space, from stations near Earth to near the Romulan Neutral Zone. In an unknown, alternate future timeframe, Galaxy-class ships remained in service long after 2370, although some attempts had been made to decommission them.
The Galaxy-class shared similar design characteristics with the slightly smaller Nebula-class.
The design included two hull sections: a saucer-shaped primary hull, and a detachable secondary hull which housed the ship's primary engines. They could be reversibly separated, and were both equipped with independent flight and combat capabilities. Generally, civilians and non-essential personnel would evacuate to the saucer module, while the senior staff confronted a threat in the battle section, which contained the majority of weapons systems. The saucer was even capable of crash-landing on a planetary surface.
The hull of the Galaxy-class was left somewhat customizable; areas such as Deck 8 were designated as unfinished and multi-purpose, in the event that extra space was needed for a specific mission.
Command and Control SystemsEdit
The computer system on board the Galaxy-class was isolinear based. Computer systems were concentrated in a computer core, which was accessible through a maintenance room. Each Galaxy-class vessel carried a total of three independent computer cores; two located in the saucer section and one in the engineering section.
Galaxy-class ships achieved warp flight through two warp nacelles, which housed multiple pairs of warp coils. The acceleration delay between slow-reverse impulse and top warp speed, or about warp 9, was 0.300 milliseconds. The maximum speed was warp 9.6, which could be maintained for approximately twelve hours. The warp core was one of the most powerful in Starfleet, generating approximately 12.75 billion gigawatts of power. The efficiency of the warp drive could be tweaked to a point where it rivaled the new Intrepid-class ships introduced in 2370. The warp core spanned twelve decks in the engineering hull. The deuterium tanks were above the core, while antimatter storage pods surrounded the base of the core on Deck 42. There were three impulse engines, two on the saucer section and one in the stardrive section. In early ships, only the impulse engine in the stardrive section was usually active.
Upgrades to the propulsion systems were tested in 2370 aboard the Enterprise-D; the ship received a new warp core manufactured with interphase technology. A major overhaul of the nacelles was also conducted that year. By the mid 2370s, most Galaxy-class ships began operating with all three impulse engines activated.
Galaxy-class ships supported a wide variety of scientific equipment and laboratories studying many different disciplines. The departments often had to compete for limited resources such as sensor time, which were allocated by the operations officer or, on occasion, the executive officer.
Sensor systems could be customized and upgraded as necessary for a specific mission. Additional equipment could be added as required. The latest technologies were generally outfitted to Galaxy-class ships as they left the experimental stages.
The Galaxy-class was equipped with ten phaser banks, located at various points along both hulls. One array was located on the dorsal of the battle section and could only be used following a separation. There were also fore and aft torpedo launchers on the engineering section. Each launch tube was capable of firing at least five photon torpedoes simultaneously, each torpedo capable of being independently targeted. In the 2360s, Galaxy-class ships typically carried about 250 photon torpedoes. The torpedo launchers were also capable of launching probes. The Galaxy-class also supported a high-capacity deflector shield grid, with a weakness where the impulse exhaust destabilized the shields.
The Enterprise-D received weapons systems upgrades in 2370, including a loadout of higher-yield photon torpedoes and enhanced targeting sensors programmed by Lieutenant Worf. Certain Galaxy-class ships, such as the USS Venture, were refitted with additional phaser strips on the dorsal surfaces of their nacelles by 2372.
While Starfleet policy permitted the immediate family of officers and crew to stay aboard starships prior to the advent of the Galaxy-class, it was the first class specifically tailored to accommodate civilian as well as Starfleet personnel. Civilians were allowed to hold varying positions in the science division aboard the Galaxy-class.