Galaxy-Class Explorer
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The Galaxy-class Explorer is a completely new type of starship to Starfleet service, albeit one which harkens back to the design philosophy employed by the Constitution-class Heavy Cruisers; a starship that is truly multi-mission, suited for an extremely wide variety of tasks. Six 'Block I' models have been ordered by Starfleet, the last just entering service; it is thought that six more 'Block II' vessels of this class will be ordered in the near future.

Design and Development

The Galaxy-class had an extremely long gestation period, with the first design work beginning at the San Francisco Fleet Yards as early as the 2330s; it was decided that this ship would employ all the latest technologies, and would be a 'no expense spared' vessel constructed in limited quantities. Development work was officially launched in 2343, and the first vessel of the class, the U.S.S. Galaxy, was laid down in 2348, to be launched eight years later.

Constructing such a cutting-edge vessel proved extremely difficult, and there were many dead-ends along the way. One stumbling block was the development of the Ultra-Warp Drive, which it was clear would revolutionise space travel; this necessitated an almost complete redesign. A key problem was the doubling of ship systems required by the decision to allow the ship to divide into two, with the saucer and stardrive sections operating remotely.

Ultimately, each of the original six Galaxy-class vessels was constructed in different shipyards; the only yard to handle two – the U.S.S. Galaxy itself and the U.S.S. Constitution, was the San Francisco Orbital Dockyards.

Capability

Although new to active service, the Galaxy-class Explorers are already proving their worth, both in their original design-function as long-range exploration vessels – almost 'cities in space' – but also in a front-line combat role, surpassing even the Royal Sovereign-class Battlecruisers. Capable of operating for ten to twelve years without resupply, the Galaxy-class has almost all the facilities of a Starbase, as well as being by some considerable margin the fastest ships in space.

The ability to divide the ship into a saucer section – lightly-armed and designed primarily to transport the civilian population to safety – and a stardrive section for combat has already proven extremely valuable, but accounts for many of the problems with the construction of these vessels due to the increased complexity. Scientific facilities are cutting-edge, and the weapons systems are state-of-the-art. This is the first class designed to maintain a civilian population, complete with school, civilian recreation facilities, even a small shopping mall.

Thirty shuttlecraft of various types are carried as standard, as well as a 'Captain's Yacht' positioned under the saucer section. The capacity for additional shuttlecraft is available for specific missions.

Ships in Service

U.S.S. Galaxy NX-70637 Prototype Ship, assigned to Sol System testing proposed Block II modifications
U.S.S. Challenger NCC-71099 Currently on long-range exploration mission in Klingon space
U.S.S. Dauntless NCC-71553 Flagship of the Fifth Fleet, assigned to the Kzinti border
U.S.S. Yamato NCC-71807 Flagship of the Third Fleet, assigned to the Romulan border -Destroyed
U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D Currently on long-range patrol near Ferengi space -Destroyed
U.S.S. Daedalus NCC-74310 On shakedown cruise, in Deneb sector