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E.S.S. Aachen XCV-770
Illustrator: Andrew J. Marsden
A few words from the illustrator, Andrew Marsden, about these blueprints and the origins of the E.S.S. (Earth Star Ship) Aachen:
I came up with the AACHEN as part of my ongoing fascination with early Earth/Federation design. This particular ship started as a sketch based on a story I?d heard about the NX Enterprise. It seems that the designer, Doug Drexler, was given a mandate to base the design off of the Akira layout- with the catamarans and little aft hull. I decided to see if I could create a design also based on that general shape, but with more of a TOS flavor.
The ship itself is supposed to be a contemporary of the NX, though it is significantly smaller. If the NX is a ?heavy cruiser? of the era, this is a plain old regular ?cruiser?. This could be considered a bridging design between ENT and TOS design, since the AACHEN design is about 15 years later in the time-line from the start of ENT. The design borrows from the NX, the Daedalus and the 1701. The XCV-770 registry is an homage to the Matt Jefferies ring-ship Enterprise, and is meant to show that this ship is a purely Earth ship, one of the last ships not to use the NCC/NX system.
HISTORY OF THE AACHEN (2160 - 2218)
The E.S.S. AACHEN was constructed in the San Francisco Fleet Yards, and was the first of the N12-Class star ships: XCV-770. It was one of the last ships built entirely by the Earth government before Earth joined the United Federation of Planets in 2161. The ship was only 15 months out of dock when the Earth Starfleet was dissolved and restructured into the Federation Starfleet.
Because of this change it's sister ships would be assigned NCC registries, beginning with the U.S.S. THUNDER (NCC-119), which entered service 20 months after the AACHEN. However, the AACHEN was allowed to keep its registry, as were all other hold-over vessels from the old fleet.
The AACHEN was designed to hold 148 crewmen, giving it one of the fleet's largest crew compliments, despite the compact design. The outer hull of the ship was specially designed to reduce drag and frictional heating, which was intended to allow the ship to descend into the atmospheres of gas giants and other planetary bodies.
The lessons learned from previous space explorers were put to good use. Many innovative safety features were added to the AACHEN, which were absent from earlier designs. The ship was given the ability to crash-land safely in the event of an emergency. Though this process would crush the forward parts of deck 6 and the sensor array, in theory the ship could take off again. The nacelles and engine compartment were given much faster and more reliable ejection systems, so the ship's crew could survive an engine breach.
The ship was eventually damaged in a battle with Klingon warships in 2218, and decommissioned. The ship was 58 years old at this point and had exceeded it's original life-span expectancy by 8 years. It's nacelles and engines were destroyed in the battle, but it's primary hull survived into the late 23rd century as part of a cargo vessel, a tribute to the ship's durability.
Used with express permission from Andrew J. Marsden
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