The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) was a Federation Constitution-class heavy cruiser that was in service with Starfleet in the mid-to-late 23rd century. In the course of her career, the Enterprise became the most celebrated starship of her time.
In her forty years of service and discovery, through upgrades and at least two refits, she took part in numerous first contacts, military engagements, and time-travels. She achieved her most lasting fame from the five-year mission (2265-2270) under the command of James T. Kirk.
The Enterprise was destroyed over the Genesis Planet in 2285 when Kirk activated the ship's auto-destruct sequence to prevent the Enterprise from falling into the hands of the Klingons.
From 2265 to 2270, the Enterprise visited over seventy different worlds and encountered repre-
sentatives of over sixty different species. More than twenty of those were first contacts with beings previously unknown to the Federation, including stellar neighbors like the First Federation and Gorn, voyagers from the Kelvan Empire in distant Andromeda, and powerful non-corporeal entities like the Thasians, Trelane, and the Organians. Two discovered species were the first known examples of silicon-based lifeforms, the Horta and the Excalbians.
The Enterprise was the first Federation vessel to survive an encounter with the galactic barrier. The ship's warp drive and other systems, however, were critically damaged and casualties totaled twelve crewmembers and officers. By Stardate 4657.5, the Enterprise was traveling through space in a region of space hundreds of light years further than any Earth starship has explored.
The Enterprise's first documented refit occurred sometime between 2254 and 2265. Minor changes were made to the ship's exterior (most notably the impulse engines, warp nacelles, running lights, and hull markings). More substantial changes were made to the interior color scheme and layout of the ship.
A second, more extensive refit occurred at some point after her encounter with the "galactic barrier" in 2265. It involved replacing the bridge module, a newer, smaller deflector dish, and refinements to her warp nacelles. The ship's interior was also upgraded. The new bridge module included consoles with triangular and circular resin buttons as well as white-colored rocker flip switches. There was another small refit sometime in early 2266 too. The white-colored rocker flip switches seen on bridge consoles and on various places on the ship were replaced with multi-colored rocker flip switches.
In the late 2260s, a new bridge module added a second turbolift, and the design moved toward a completely smooth circular configuration, both standard features on future starships. At the same time the translucent overhead dome was obscured, not to return until the Galaxy-class bridge.
At the end of her five-year mission, the Enterprise returned to Earth in 2270. Following her success, the ship had become a recognized symbol of Starfleet and the Federation. Starfleet's array of unique assignment patches were abandoned for the universal adoption of the Enterprise delta symbol, previously used on the assignment patch for the USS Kelvin.
The stalwart vessel herself was by then twenty-five years old and returning from a deployment that included an unprecedented num-
ber of warp-speed records, hull-pounding battles, and frame-stressing maneuvers.