Has "NCC" Ever Been Explained On Screen?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by CoveTom, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 17, 2003
    We've heard the "USS," as in USS Enterprise, explained on screen on more than one occasion as "united space ship" or "united starship." Has any character in actual on-screen dialogue, or in an on-screen written reference such as computer display, explained what "NCC" stands for in Starfleet context? Offhand, I can't think of any such reference.

    Of course, we know that in real life, "NC" was used in the prefixes of airplane numbers that Matt Jeffries and Gene Roddenberry were familiar with from the military, and that Jeffries simply added an additional "C." But has there ever been an in-universe explanation?
  2. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 21, 2013
    Smithfield, Rhode Island USA
    There are plenty of real-world explanations floating around, I'm not sure if any of them are true.
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Nope. Never explained onscreen.
  4. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

    Jul 23, 2001
    No, although it seems obvious NCC represents the standard registry code, given most Starfleet starships use it with the rare exception of NX for experimental and NAR for civilian ships. But no, it's never been explained what these letters mean. For more information, click here.
  5. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

    May 9, 2012
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Never explained on-screen. A popular theory is that NCC stands for "Naval Commissioning Code", a theory which was given some lip service by one of the writers on the commentary track of the 2009 movie. But it's never been stated or shown in an actual episode or movie (as far as I'm aware).
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    According to the original 1975 Star Fleet Technical Manual and USS Enterprise Booklet of General Plans by Franz Joseph Schnaubelt, it stands for "Naval Construction Contract". This also cropped up in the novel Dreadnought! by Diane Carey.

    But if you wanna go strictly by TV/film Trek, then: No.
  7. yenny

    yenny Captain Captain

    Jul 14, 2005
    NCC stands for Nuclear Cosmological Craft.

    Cosmology means; The study of the formation and nature of the universe.
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    I've heard "Naval Construction Contract" for decades, and I've occasionally heard "Navigational Contact Code" as an alternative. I don't think I've ever heard "Naval Commissioning Code" before.
  9. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Aug 31, 2000
    Who is John Galt?
    Here are the various registry variants I've collected over the years. A couple have appeared on-screen, but most are fan-made:
    • NCC ------- Naval Construction Contract
    • NCC-FXXXX - Naval Construction Contract/Freighter-Tender
    • NCC-SXXXX - Naval Construction Contract/Support Vessel
    • NCC-GXXXX - Naval Construction Contract/General Use
    • NX -------- Naval Experiment
    • NCO ------- Naval Construction Order (For Alternate-Federation Vessels)
    • NDT ------- Naval Detached Transport
    • NSP ------- Naval Science Program
    • NSX ------- Naval SpecialOps Experiment
    • SNC ------- Shi'ar Naval Contract
    • Q --------- Intelligence "Q-Ship"
    • C --------- Contract # (For pre-Federation Vessels)
    • DT -------- Designated Tactical Vessel
    • FCC ------- Fleet Command Crusier
    • FF -------- Frigate Flagship/Fast Frigate
    • FR -------- Freighter (For pre-Federation Vessels)
    • L --------- Luxury/Civilian
    • G --------- General Use
    • SFDD ------ Starfleet Drydock
    • TP -------- Travel Pod Registry
    • NAR ------- Naval Auxiliary Resource/Research
    • NAK ------- Naval Auxiliary Resource - Merchant Marine/Logistics
    • NFT ------- Non-Federation Transport
    • NGL ------- Non-Starfleet General-Purpose Liner
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    In light of the prefix variants that are canonically witnessed, it would seem that the N in them might stand for "Federation". That is, NFT, NGL, NAR, NSP and NCC are all witnessed in connection with Federation vessels, and that's about the only thing in common between them.

    It would then appear to follow that "CC" means "Starfleet active service" and "X" means "experimental or prototype"; the other letters don't have such systematic or clear-cut correlation to any observable characteristic...

    Two other apparent registry prefixes are BTR for a colony ship in DS9 "Paradise", and YLT for an Yridian craft in "Birthright". The former hauled Federation colonists, but that need not invalidate the "N = Federation" model as such - after all, the latter hauled a Klingon Starfleet officer holding Federation citizenship!

    Timo Saloniemi
  11. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 16, 2013
    I've imagined NCC to be "New Construction Code" to distinguish it from the more maritime sounding "Naval."
  12. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 28, 2001
    SB-31, Daran V
    NCC = No Canon Connotation
  13. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    I recall they said it was "Navy Civil Catalogue". It flows well with what The Star Trek Encyclopedia says about it: "N" is for Navy, and "C" means "Civil"--that is, non-military.
  14. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 4, 2001
    Out of my brain on the 5:15
    Which edition of the Encyclopedia was that?
  15. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

    Jun 11, 2005
    I've of the opinion that the letters don't actually STAND for anything, as is the case with postal codes (the Canadian equivalent of zip codes, for those who don't know).

    Now Star Trek hasn't been 100% consistent on this, but my assumption is this:

    NCC = Operational Starfleet vessel.

    NX = Experimental Starfleet vessel prototype not yet cleared for active service. Homage to the NX-class ships that served in the mid-22nd Century.

    NAR = Non-Starfleet Federation vessel. (Unclear if this is used government vessels, civilian vessels, or both). It may only apply to vessels operated by humans, since non-Starfleet Vulcan ships like the T'Pau had a registry that began with NSP. (Perhaps there's a different registry for vessels operated by each member race, i.e. Andorians, Tellarites, Betazoids, etc.)

    Not sure we'll ever get a sensible explanation of what the USS is. Yes, I know they may have said "United Space Ship" or "United Star Ship" at some point, but what exactly is united about it? Like the concept of no money and of synthehol, it may be best not to look at that too closely.
  16. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 3, 2008
    Why does it have to stand for anything? The U.S.S. on the hull has periods yet the NCC does not... ;)
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  17. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    The "latest" one. (I'd say "current", but...for some strange reason, it hasn't been updated since DS9 ended. Suppose it had to do with the rise of the Net....)
  18. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 29, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Isn't that self-contradictory? :confused:
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    In American usage, the N doesn't stand for anything as far as I can tell; it's just the letter prefix used for United States craft. Some countries have prefixes that stand for the country name, like JA for Japan (although their own name for themselves is Nihon), but apparently not the US. However the second letter does usually stand for something. Commercial craft are NC, gliders are NG, etc. Experimental craft actually are N-X. Although the second letter isn't considered a part of the registration per se, just a category designator.

    I take it as being short for United Federation of Planets Star Ship. Just as the American "USS" is short for "United States Ship."

    Personally it bugs me that the usages of an interstellar, interspecies, multicultural Federation are really just American naval or aviation usages. But it's what we're stuck with.
  20. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Aug 31, 2000
    Who is John Galt?
    Probably a hold-over from UESPA - United Earth Space Probe Agency. When the United Federation of Planets was formed, they likely preserved the "U" for that very reason.

    As for the NCC - BK613 gave a good point that honestly never occurred to me in the almost 40 years I've been watching Star Trek. "U.S.S." has periods, implying an abbreviation. "NCC" does not.

    Holy shit...something just occurred to me...in TOS, have we ever seen anything other than Connies with a registry number? Could not the "CC" in NCC stand for "Constitution Class"? What if the USS Reliant should have been "NMC-1864" for "Miranda Class"? I know that was before "Miranda" was ever assigned as a class name (a name which I never liked to begin with), but is it possible that the letters in the registry could indicate the class name? It's likely an interesting coincidence, but still...

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