Plus, Excelsior class nacelles are relatively small, so if the coil material is the primary limiting factor of shipbuilding, lots of Excelsior class ships might be advantageous over lots of larger ship types.
It occurred to me that we could take the number of Federation planets, multiply that by the median planet's population, and multiply that by the fraction of a planet's population that might be serving in Starfleet at any one time, then divide that by the median crew complement of a starship to get a very very rough estimate for the number of ships in service.
Say 300 planets, 1 billion average population, 0.1% in active Starfleet service, 500 crew per ship?
That works out to ... 600,000 ships, as a ballpark figure...wow.
Yeah... I think now you see where I was coming from.
suggests that there were 150 member planets in 2373 per 'First Contact,' so we can half the 600,000 to 300,000. Of course starbases and planetary facilities probably take out at least a third of that, but still
. The potential for 200,000 ships...
Doesn't 10,000 to 15,000 seem so much better now?