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U.S.S. Enterprise NX-1701-A
The Enterprise That Never Was!
Illustrator: Michael Alexander
The U.S.S. ENTERPRISE and other similarly configured vessels are based on the Jefferies-Guzman-Joseph starship design theory. This theory was formulated on Earth during the mid-Twentieth Century. Accumulating a vast list of heroic achievements over forty years, the ENTERPRISE became a symbol of Star Fleet and the Federation. During its final few years of service, the ship was regulated from first-line duty to Academy Training Vessel.
To keep the ENTERPRISE name on the leading edge of Federation technology, Star Fleet had devised two plans: First, evaluate the trial runs of the U.S.S. EXCELSIOR (The Great Experiment). At the time, this newest and largest ship was equipped with the latest experimental technology. Once the EXCELSIOR lived up to envisioned capabilities, the next similar vessel built would be christened ENTERPRISE. Second, should results of EXCELSIOR prove unsatisfactory, salvage proven components into a newly designed heavy cruiser hull.
For Star Fleet's second plan, the Solaris Corporation was selected over eighteen other prime contract proposals. The yet-to-be-built vessel was designated NX-1701-A. The principal similarities between the Solaris design and EXCELSIOR are the primary hull and propulsion units. Star Fleet Engineering Command was attracted to Solaris' sophisticated use of variable trititanium dynamic-matrix hull construction. The transwarp drive (used aboard EXCELSIOR) was encountering propulsion difficulties, so an advanced form of the standard warp drive (fifth generation) was slated for the Solaris design. This warp drive system, akin to transwarp, had an improved design for greater operating efficiency.
The untimely destruction of the ENTERPRISE began to unravel both of Star Fleet's plans. With so many malfunctioning systems aboard the EXCELSIOR, the process of testing her was slow during trial acceptance runs. The Solaris design (still on the drawing screens) had only seven months of research and development.
The Federation Council gave Star Fleet the "go-ahead" to rechristen a newly built, state-of-the-art, proven vessel the ENTERPRISE. The hull registry was changed to NCC-1701-A. The new ENTERPRISE was virtually identical to the previous ENTERPRISE with several technical and cosmetic exceptions.
After overcoming her problems, EXCELSIOR was eventually commissioned. The name ENTERPRISE became a sister ship in the EXCELSIOR class with hull registry NCC-1701-B. The Solaris design was permanently kept in research and development status. Commander Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott foresaw future starship configurations (ships becoming rounder, ovoid sculptural sweeping curves making the exterior more of a majestic, cohesive unit) based on the Solaris design. This would be during a time when aesthetics would surpass technical concerns.
Used with express permission from Andrew J. Marsden
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