The Constellation's registry number

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by MarsWeeps, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Apparently you're quoting my comments totally out of the context of my previous posts.


    Obviously I was referring to "Constitution Class" as a sub-classification of "Starship Class" (and despite my poor wording you quoted not the other way around), i.e.
    • Starship (Archon?) Class ("Return of the Archons")
    • Starship (Constitution) Class (phaser schematic)
    • Starship (Enterprise) Class (Making of Star Trek)
    • Starship (Miranda) Class (USS Reliant)
    Where Matt Jefferies' "17th Federation cruiser design" should not be compatible here, I'm unable to see.
    He never said "first starship", he merely said for the Enterprise to be the "first bird" and the "first in (its) series".
    All it (correctly) suggests is that the XXth design series will also have a name (e.g. Constitution or Enterprise or Miranda).

    Bob
     
  2. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Ah, I get it now. You meant to say:
    It's a phaser of a "starship" (= Starship Class) which obviously belongs to the "Constitution Subclass".
    If the TOS Enterprise is the "first bird" or the "first in (its) series" then she would be the lead ship of her own class or series. If so, why isn't the subclass (or class) named after the Enterprise then?

    Or if she's named after a theme, the "Starship" theme, then the theme spanned 10xx for the Constellation to 17xx for the Enterprise. It would be possible for the Enterprise to be the 1st ship of the 17th batch or series - although the question then is should not the first ship of that batch be NCC-1700?
     
  3. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    How do we know it isn't? The Making of Star Trek mentions twice "Enterprise Class", but maybe the producers felt something like that on the bridge dedication plaque

    U.S.S. Enterprise
    Enterprise Class
    San Francisco, Calif.

    looked odd and instead decided to go for "Starship Class". The idea of labeling other starships (that looked like the Enterprise) with an NCC-16XX was entirely Greg Jein's conclusion (based on the "12 starships only" concept), adopted by Bjo Trimble's Star Trek Concordance and the Okuda's Encyclopedia, but not by Franz Joseph.

    No. Especially if you read how Greg Jein came to the conclusion the first ship of his batch (16th...? :devil:) should be "NCC-1700": http://www.trekplace.com/article10.html

    Instead of arriving at a theory based on facts, he made the "facts" fit his pet theory, i.e. "NCC-1700" is the (reverse) alphabetical beginning of "his" list and needed a ship name with a letter like A, B or C as in "Constitution".

    In order to arrive there, he concluded from the Mark IX/01 designation of a ship's primary phaser of a starship of the Constitution Class that the "Mark IX/01" was indicating USS Enterprise!

    But in the subsequent discussion (at the bottom) he suggested himself that a short ("complete") bar of the starship status display indicated a starship being constructed -which exactly is the case with "NCC 17 00" in this starship status display! (Is the other number really "1664" or is it "1864", the NCC of Reliant? :eek:).

    Apparently, there was a ship like the Enterprise in construction but hadn't yet received its two-digit number (which could also be a two-digit contact code that hadn't been assigned, yet).

    I'm confident that what happened was rather simply that Franz Joseph copied and pasted the speculations of Greg Jein ("Mark IX/01" / "Constitution Class" / "NCC-1700") he liked.

    Back in the 1970's tech-trekkers found themselves between a rock and a hard place: Was the Star Trek Concordance correct (based on Greg Jein's speculations) or the Starfleet Technical Manual (based on what FJ had adopted from Greg Jein)?

    Apparently, everybody was relieved that J.J. at least agreed on the sub-class and the registry of NCC-1700 for the Constitution, so this essentially "stuck" ever since and for decades I had believed myself this to be true, official and based on accurate research.

    And then I became aware of what the actual creator of the Enterprise had to say about the subject...;)

    Given the erratic method how the original speculations had come into the world (twisted to match a pet theory), I couldn't help but to reconstitute the original and accurate intention for myself. YMMV

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  4. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, hardcore Trek fans know that it was never really Greg Jein's theory to begin with. The idea of the Enterprise being a "Constitution-class" started long before Greg Jein wrote about it. (I'm not sure why anyone saddles him with creating that notion.)

    Scene 44 of the Second Revised Final Draft for "Space Seed," dated December 13, 1966 has the following content:

    44 ANGLE ON SICK BAY VIEWER

    It is covered with mathematical symbols and diagrams. CAMERA PULLS BACK to show Khan studying with great concentration. He pushes a button. Another transparency appears: a chapter heading, reading: BASIC SPECIFICATIONS, CONSTITUTION CLASS STAR SHIP.

    Scenes 47 and 48 have similar content:

    From 47:

    ...At the door, she [McGivers] turns and looks back at him. He gives her a strong, masculine, confident smile. She is about to say something, but turns and exits. Khan turns back to his studying. He pushes a button, stares back up at his screen.

    48 INSERT SCREEN

    A chapter heading: Basic Propulsion Systems, Constitution Class Star Ship.

    Although from an "angels dancing on the head of a pin" standpoint, I guess it's debatable if this actually means that the Enterprise itself was meant to be one of these Constitution-class ships that Khan was reading about. (Personally, I think that is exactly what was meant, but certainly anyone, Greg Jein or Bjo Trimble included, could be forgiven for leaping to the crazy conclusion that is what the "Space Seed" script intended.)

    And, of course, in Greg Jein's 1975 article "The Case of Jonathan Doe Starship," he mentions:

    "The Enterprise is known to be a Constitution Class ship."

    So, it's not like he just made it up himself. It was already "known" before he wrote about it. (In fact, he even cites "'Space Seed' Scene 44" in his article.) To Bjo Trimble's credit, shew knew as well, and even put this "fact" in her Concordance years before Greg Jein wrote his article.

    I think "he needed a ship name with a letter like A, B or C as in 'Constitution'" is a bit wide of the mark. I think Greg Jein promulgated the crazy notion "Constitution-Class" because it was scripted, not because a "C" starship would fit his numbering scheme.

    I guess it's debatable about how official it is if it's in the script or is screen visible but only to a select few or only to the Average Joe 40 years later in a DVD and HD era. But I don't think Greg Jein was going out on some "pet theory" limb; he just had access to better official production information than most people did, and he was more knowlegedable on the subject than most people were.
     
  5. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Fair enough.

    But since Khan claims to be an engineer of the 20th Century who has at least 200 years to catch up, he probably felt like Charles Tucker in "In A Mirror, Darkly" who felt like a steamboat mechanic confronted with an interplanetary spacecraft when he had to figure out how the Defiant works (and he's from the 22nd Century, correct?).

    Apparently Khan needs to study the evolution history towards the Enterprise to understand how warp drive, matter-antimatter reactors and all the lot works, which includes studying and understanding previous starship designs and their innovations.

    Since there is nowhere an explicit line stating that the Enterprise belongs to the Constitution Class (on the contrary, I believe the script would have stated "basic specifications and propulsion systems of a starship like the Enterprise", especially since "Constitution Class" had never been mentioned before, and is later nowhere mentioned in The Making of Star Trek which exclusively refers to "Starship Class" and "Enterprise Class").
    I will not exclude the possibility that "Constitution Class" might have been a candidate, but its lack of appearance in The Making of Star Trek, sanctioned by Gene Roddenberry, and opposite the term "Enterprise Class" suggests it had fallen out of favor by the powers / producers that be.

    "The Enterprise is known to be an Enterprise Class ship". I can just make up the same kind of claim, it's easy. The difference here is
    • My claim is backed by Bob Justman and what Stephen E. Whitfield compiled in The Making of Star Trek.
    • My claim is backed up by Walter Matt Jefferies who stated that the Enterprise was meant to be the first bird, the first in the (its) series.
    Where the whole thing really gets interesting is this: In his treatise Greg Jein refers to the "Space Seed" scene but he doesn't take advantage of it. Did he also feel that Khan was studying the evolution towards the Enterprise?
    His "proof" that the Enterprise was a Constitution Class starship was the MK IX/01 primary phaser schematic ("01" = "1701")!

    Anyway, the treatise is available for anybody to read and everybody can make up his own mind, what to think of it.

    The reason why we are having this debate again, is that several people in this thread found fault with "Starship Class", despite that being the only official and readable display in the original series. ;)

    Sorry, it's a little like "do you believe what you see, or do you believe what others tell you". I guess we can at least agree that the Enterprise is not a member of the "Constellation Class" (although "Connie" was the nickname of Lockheed's airplane Super Constellation, but that's a different story).

    Bob
     
  6. Spike730

    Spike730 Captain Captain

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    On a concept drawing. Originally the Enterprise was called SS Yorktown. The Defiant (NX-74205) was to be named USS Valiant. Things change.
     
  7. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    How about:XX00 = Prototype/Testbed for XXth series of Starship (Often placed into service after testing is complete); XX01 = First production model.

    Also, Starship could be a very broad classification, though one it was felt was signifigant enough to use on the dedication plaque (since in the 2260s there seems to have been a big difference between Space Ships and Star Ships). Maybe something like:

    • Starship Class
      • Heavy Cruiser Class
        • Constitution-Class
        • Enterprise-Class
      • Light Cruiser Class
        • Miranda-Class
        • Avenger-Class
      • Destroyer-Class
        • Saladin-Class
      • Scout-Class
        • Grissom-Class
    • Spaceship Class
      • Escort-Class
        • Ganges-Class
        • Mississippi-Class
      • Transport-Class
        • Mayflower-Class
        • Normandy-Class
    Later the term "starship" became more and more used colloquially to refer to any Starfleet ship (and even later any warp ship) and lost its luster. Perhaps still used in the classification system, it didn't seem like anything to brag about.
     
  8. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Oh, I think the notion that the Enterprise is Starship Class or an Enterprise Class starship is a sound theory based on contemporaneous production materials that reflect the producers' intent.

    But I think the notion that the Enterprise is a Constitution Class starship is also a sound theory based on contemporaneous production materials that reflect the producers' intent.

    I think most people would agree that either theory is equally well grounded in production pedigree.
     
  9. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Personally, I never had a problem that Starfleet just did things differently during TOS, with starships being classified more by their type than specific design (the Constitution-class being originally a subclass of the Starship-class works for me).
     
  10. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    From Memory Alpha:

    So, perhaps Spaceship doesn't refer to the SIZE of the ship, but, rather, what type of personnel operate the ship/whose command the ship falls under.

    STARSHIP = Starfleet
    SPACESHIP = Civilian/Merchant Marine
     
  11. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    Good observation. Obviously, by the time of TNG the term Starship had become much more generic, but I think this is a viable option.
     
  12. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    No, not only the concept drawing. The quotes come additionally from the Star Trek Sketchbook and interviews with Matt Jefferies (e.g. BBC Online)

    Yes, things change but there is no indication whatsoever that "Enterprise Class" was not the proper sub-classification during the entire TOS production.

    In a memo from 08-09-1967 (chief nitpicker) Bob Justman talks about "the names of the 12 ships of the Enterprise Starship Class". The first edition of The Making of Star Trek was released in September 1968 and Stephen E. Whitfield had compiled this information from his interviews with the producers and the people involved: "The Enterprise-class starships have ben in existence for about fourty years and are now capable of surveying and exploring the uncharted remainder of the galaxy."

    Had the producers (Roddenberry and Justman) and the creator (Jefferies) settled for "Constitution Class" there would have never been any "Enterprise Class" reference in this book.

    Maybe I should have merely asked one question "Why is the Enterprise not a member of the Enterprise Class?"

    Considering that J. & J. based their entire work on The Making of Star Trek which contains these two references, I would have really liked to get an answer.
    In the case of Greg Jein I assume it wasn't compatible with his pet theory, so he ignored it. Franz Joseph probably didn't care. As he said about himself, he wasn't a Star Trek fan.

    Bob

    P.S.

    Back to the original topic. I think it's safe to say that production-wise the Constellation's registry was simply a re-arrangement of the AMT decals for the Enterprise (did the original AMT model kit only contain "NCC-1701" to "play" with?).

    Strictly in-universe, it's interesting to note that the last two digits coincidentally happen to be "17" as these usually come first for the Enterprise (and other starships of the - cough - 17th design). The odds are 1:99.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  13. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But, the fact remains that "Starship Class" is what's on the set Bridge plaque for the 1701; and there is a shot in an episode where that can be made out.

    Thus, if you go by "Only what's been shown on screen in TV/Film is canon"...;)
     
  14. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    It's possible. Then again we do have NCC-2000 USS Excelsior. The lead ship of the Excelsior Class, IIRC.

    Because she's not the lead ship? She doesn't get her own class till TWOK (or probably TMP since it appears the first time that design was put into service.)

    But, under the "Starship Class" as a themed naming convention, then she could be the 1st ship and not have the class name. OTOH, the existence of NCC-1700 suggests that ship came before the Enterprise making her the 2nd ship...
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    It could also be that not every Constitution-class ship is of the Starship Class even if they look similar on the outside.
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Unlikely...the Enterprise and Defiant were obviously both starships.

    Me, I'm going with the explanation that BOTH 'Starship' and 'Constitution' class are true.
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Uh, practically everything we saw on TOS in space was a starship in some form or fashion, but the issue is whether they were of the prestigious Star Ship Class in context of TOS' universe. Kirk said there were only twelve like the Enterprise in the fleet, but more than twelve Constitution-class ships have been counted.
     
  18. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    Which started out as a testbed/prototype for a new class of ship equipped with "TransWarp" drive. I don't think its ever been said on screen, but its been speculated that her original registry - NX-2000 - was an indication of her eXperimental status. NCC-1700 could have initially been NX-1700 and was later commissioned as NCC-1700 after NCC-1701 had been launched.
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Sure, but being the experimental ship didn't change the Excelsior from being the lead ship and having the class name. The existence of NX/NCC-1700 would've made that ship the lead ship making 1701 the second ship.
     
  20. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    I see the chain of events like this:

    • NX-1700 prototype 17th starship design built and used for trial runs.
    • Trials are finished and construction begins on the 17th design's first production build: NCC-1701.
    • USS Enterprise NCC-1701 is launched and commissioned.
    • Sometime later NX-1700 is refitted for active service as NCC-1700
    I think the class name could go either way. I wasn't really arguing either way for what class 1701 was, but rather just that she could still be the 1st build of the 17th design even if NCC-1700 exists. In the case of Excelsior, for whatever reason, they decided to convert the prototype to an active duty ship before building NCC-2001, which makes her number not technically correct, but these things happen sometimes in real life.
     

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