The Galaxy Class has served with distinction in Starfleet since it was introduced over 25 years ago with the commissioning of the USS Galaxy. Developed to replace the successful yet rare Ambassador Class starships, the design process began in earnest in the early 2340s and proceeded at pace until the fortuitous signing of the Khitomer Accord between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire, bringing an end to decades of increasing hostilities.
With the prospect of a devastating war with the ferocious Klingons diminished, more time was allowed the Galaxy’s planners to refine their designs. Unlike the Ambassador, which some claimed had been militarised over its short life span and some others believed to have been Starfleet over-reaching itself, the Galaxy would be primarily a vessel of peaceful exploration. Its sheer gargantuan size, not even rivalled by the previously giant Ambassador, would allow the ship’s designers a latitude only dreamed of before the peace, so much so that they were able to include an amazing 800,000 square metres of mission customisable spaces, allowing the Galaxy’s multitudinous roles a flexibility and longevity previously only ever experienced on starbases.
The Galaxy employed a number of technological advances originally pioneered on other classes. For example, its burst fire torpedo launchers, while original for all intents and purposes, were heavily based on the launchers of the New Orleans, themselves prototypical of the technology. Unlike the Nebula – introduced shortly before the Galaxy and equipped with similar technologies – the Galaxy’s torpedo systems were not plagued with the initial production glitches inherent in its smaller counterpart’s design and could each, when used to their maximum capacity, fire ten torpedoes at a time.
Indeed, the Galaxy received so many gifts, as it were, from the hard work done in designing other classes that many firmly believed the time between “conception to perfection” – the lead engineer’s phrase – would have been increased by a factor of at least two if not for the “prototypes” already in production. The new deflector dish framework, designed for the New Orleans but first implemented on the Steamrunner, was perhaps the most obvious structural feature shared by the new lineage, exceeded only by the elliptical saucer section found on many of Starfleet’s latest designs.
This pattern of employing design characteristics and technologies first tested on other ships was so beneficial that, for the first time in recent history, Starfleet’s engineers were able to take the basics for granted and work on realising the full potential of the raw resources and technologies they had available. No prototype systems, no theoretical advances, just things Starfleet knew worked and could be improved for what certain people in Starfleet Command were beginning to call “the finest ship ever built”.
Of course, the Galaxy itself took a full five years between launch and commissioning to iron out the kinks. Systems, while proven elsewhere, were being honed to new levels of refinement. Moreover, there were some structural issues relating to the Galaxy’s large size. Testing at high warp speeds revealed several unexpected stress planes forming in various locations across the ship, including the neck and, in particular, the stern. While the possibility of redrawing the affected areas of the ship’s hull to better suit its unique warp characteristics was never ignored, it was never really on the table either. As such, Starfleet spent some time correcting the problem by introducing large and sturdy supports, not unlike a spine, that could better absorb the stresses being placed on the vessel.
Enough time was given to the Galaxy – and the Nebula, for the two classes were designed in tandem – for the proper development of the Type X phaser array. While the Type X had been installed on starbases and large land-based facilities before then, the equipment involved had never been compact enough to allow its mounting on a spaceborne vessel. As such, fears in the mid-2340s that the class would be introduced with merely an updated Type IX variant were put to rest, resulting in an impressive firepower unequalled by any Starfleet ship then in service and few since.
When it was first launched in 2357, the USS Galaxy was the largest and most advanced ship in the Federation. The most impressive of advancements this ship brought about was the ability to separate its main body from the saucer section and reattach without the assistance of a starbase facility, an ability later successfully incorporated in such starship classes as the Prometheus. Separated by a connecting neck – essentially, the greatest single structural difference between the Galaxy and the Nebula with the possible exception of the latter’s mission pod – the ship’s saucer section could move at impulse speeds under its own power, acting as a large and very well armed life pod in the event of a cataclysmic warp core breach or a readily foreseen combat situation in which the lives of civilians could be lost.
Of the original production run, most starships of the Galaxy Class were designed and built at the Utiopia Planitia Fleet Yards at Mars, Sol IV, but perhaps the ship that served with the most distinction was the USS Enterprise-D. Other ships of the class that have served well are the USS Galaxy, which took part in Operation Return and the first Battle of Chin’toka during the Dominion War, and the USS Odyssey, the first capital Starfleet ship destroyed by the Jem’Hadar.
Major changes to the Galaxy Class since its introduction in 2357 ranged from propulsion to tactical systems. A new warp core provided the ships of the class with an increase in speed from warp 9.6 to warp 9.9, ongoing advances in scientific and exploratory technology provided the Galaxy with constant sensory upgrades and its shields were refitted to better counter the phased polaron weaponry used to such devastating effect against a member of the class, the aforementioned USS Odyssey. Other improvements owing to war-time requirements were the addition of two phaser arrays, one each on the dorsal surfaces of the Galaxy’s warp nacelles, but these additions were limited once the fleet was stood down from a war footing in 2377.
The first true multi-role starship design in over a century, Galaxy Class starships function as deep space explorers capable of operating independently for several years. Extensive sensor capabilities and laboratory facilities, as well as diverse crews, allow the Galaxy Class to engage in a wide range of scientific research. As the foremost ship in the 24th century, the class was intended to project Federation influence throughout the Alpha Quadrant and beyond. When pressed, the class also makes an effecive weapons platform for deployment into hostile areas of space. Such diversity means that the Galaxy Class will continue to serve at the forefront of Starfleet planning for some time and, accordingly, will be outfitted with the latest applicable technologies.
- Duration: 100 Years
- Time Between Refits: 20 Years
- Time Between Resupply: 5 Years
- Length: 641 meters
- Width: 465 meters
- Height: 145 meters
- Decks: 42
- Officers: 275
- Enlisted Crew: 680
- Civilians: 300
- Marines: 128 (Not Currently Embarked)
- Emergency Capacity: 4500
- Cruise Speed: Warp 6
- Maximum Speed: Warp 9.2
- Emergency Speed: Warp 9.6 (12 Hours before Necessary Cool Down Period)
Weapons & Defensive Systems
- Auto-Modulating Shields
- Metaphasic Shields
- Regenerative Shields
- Duranium/Tritanium Double Hull
- 12x Type-X Phaser Arrays
- 2 Rapid-Fire Torpedo Launchers (1 aft, 1 fwd)
- 225 Photon Torpedoes
- 225 Quantum Torpedoes
- 15 Tricobalt Devices
3 Shuttlebays, all aft facing.
- 3 Type-11 Personnel Shuttles
- 4 Type-10 Cargo Shuttlepods
- 4 Type-9 Personnel Shuttles
- 1 Argo Class Transport
- 1 Galaxy Class Captain’s Yacht
- 2 Mustang Class Runabouts
- 4 Peregrine Class Starfighters