How Many Starships?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Spock's Barber, May 16, 2019.

  1. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

    Sep 24, 2017
    starship class could mean, maybe, something a big vague, like a ship vs a boat. Coast Guard has cutters, navy has ships.
    so it's Starship Class but also Constitution Class, specifically.
  2. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 26, 2007
    Maryland, USA
    No, it's mentioned exactly once that there are twelve ships "like" Kirk's ship. The implication being that as of that episode there existed twelve Constitution class vessels. But even as early as TOS, there were more ships in Starfleet than just that class, the U.S.S. Carolina, the U.S.S. Valiant, the U.S.S. Horizon and the U.S.S. Archon being mentioned in TOS and were not Constitution class starships.
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  3. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 14, 2016
    I took it as meaning thirteen, the Enterprise and a additional "twelve like her." At least at that time.
    And bigger and smaller. There could be a hundred "cruiser" classes, each with an approximate of a bakers dozen each. 1,300 "cruiser" starships of different vintages. With thousands more smaller (down to the sizes of runabouts) and bigger (battleships and carriers, compared to a cruiser).

    And then there would be support ships too.
    We don't have any idea how many planets are in the Federation during the time of TOS. And then there are colonies which might not be classed as "members."

    Now add allies, protectorates, associate members, etc..

    Starfleet might be protecting thousands of worlds. Tens of thousands of starships might be stretched thin with that much territory to cover.

    Some down for maintenance at any one time.

    And part of the fleet is occupied with exploration.
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  4. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2015

    200 years before TOS "Where No Man Has Gone Before":


    Since the SS Valiant was exploring 200 years earlier, it was probably not a Federation Starfleet starship like the USS Enterprise.

    100 years before TOS "The Return of the Archons":

    So the Archon was a starship type of space ship. Whether it was already a Federation Starfleet starship is unknown. Itwas more likely to be Starfleet ship since it was only half as far in the past as the first Valiant. The construction class is not mentioned.

    100 years before TOS "A Piece of the Action":

    The dialog is unclear whether Oxmyx recognizes the name "United federation of Planets" or supposes that since Kirk is from outer space he must be from the same outfit as the Horizon.

    Was the horizon a vessel in the Federation Starfleet, or does Kirk say that the Federation's responsible because the Horizon was an Earth ship and Earth later joined the Federation? Since it voyaged half as long in the past as the first Valiant the Horizon is more likely to have been an Federation Starfleet vessel. The Horizon's vessel type and construction class is not mentioned.

    The vessel type and construction class of the Horizon is not mentioned.

    50 years before TOS "A Taste of Armageddon":

    This second Valiant was active only about half as long in the past as the Archon and the Horizon and about 25 percent as long ago as the first Valiant. This makes it more likely to have been a Federation Starfleet ship. The USS prefix also supports it. The vessel type and construction class are not mentioned.

    During TOS "Friday's Child":

    It looks like the USS Carolina is a real ship in starfleet. But what type of ship and what construction class isn't specified.

    I believe that is all the data about those ships that might indicate whether they were in the Federation Starfleet, what vessel types they were, and what their construction classes might have been.
  5. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 7, 2014
    The Valiant is not a name any new ship really needs when concerning missions in outer space! :techman: But the thirteen constitution ships Kirk mentions in TIY are the big guns of the Federation I'd guess with a lot of smaller vessels like the Carolina and others! That was before other shows started making any old name a ship and DSC changed the system forever and a day! Does anyone know the names of every USS Constitution ship in TOS? From memory here goes...
    USS Enterprise
    USS Intrepid
    USS Constellation
    USS Exeter
    USS Defiant
    USS Excalibur
    USS Hood
    USS Yorktown
    USS Lexington
    USS Columbia
    USS Potemkin
    Well I can name eleven but isn't there one called Kongo or the like, I'm sure I've read that somewhere...
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  6. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 14, 2016
    Kirk saying "Earth ship" and it being from 200 years in the past doesn't preclude it being a Starfleet ship. We know from a Voyager episode that the UESPA was sending out vessels very soon after a functional warp drive was built, and there is a some kind of connection between Starfleet and UESPA.

    That said it could have been a non-Starfleet vessel.
    Not sure how you arrived at that conclusion. The Archon just as easily have been a private research or commercial trading vessel.

    There has been conjecture on this board in the past that both of the ships mentioned in The Return of the Archons and A Piece of the Action were possibly Earth Cargo Service ships. We know that the ECS ships were far beyond Starfleet in terms of how far out they traveled, and reaching new previously unknown civilizations.

    Once the more advanced - faster warp engines seen in ENT became generally available, this might have continued to be the case.

    There's also the SS Beagle, from Bread And Circuses.
    Spock: The space debris comes from the survey vessel SS Beagle.

    The prefix is non-Starfleet and there is direct mention that her captain is not a Starfleet officer. A non-Starfleet vessel exploring the galaxy. So not all interstellar exploration is Starfleet.

    Maybe not even most.
    STEPhon IT likes this.
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    The Valiant being spoken of above would be the one visiting Eminiar and Vendikar half a century before Kirk, not the ancient barrier-breaker...

    The Okuda registry for that ship would probably make her a sister to Shenzhou, FWIW.

    Personally, I don't think SS is a prefix at all. It's just verbal shorthand for either "starship" or "spaceship" - the latter being the case with the Beagle. That is, the letters SS would not be found anywhere on the hull of the ship, although certain types of records might use them as shorthand, just like our heroes. In contrast, USS is always specific, apparently meaning UFP Starfleet (star)ship at least in practice if not in theory...

    Timo Saloniemi
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    Or both were just paying tribute to TOS in a manner that (they hoped) would make fanboys smile?
    BillJ likes this.
  9. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 14, 2016
    Really seems to have worked. :lol:
    JonnyQuest037 likes this.
  10. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    Los Angeles
    JB, there's also the Republic, the Farragut, and the class ship, the Constitution. You're right, though - the "Kongo" is mentioned somewhere.
  11. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 14, 2010
    I assume the two of you realize that fanboy is an offensive term and that you can’t just imply that someone is a fanboy because of their interest in changes to production design? If anything, I’d argue this illustrates the difference between fans and fanboys: fans would rather see consistency in the new plaques than easter eggs that no longer make sense in context.

    Still, the change is onscreen, so now it’s fun to try and explain why the Enterprise isn’t Constitution-class on the plaque.
  12. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 14, 2016
    That realization is false, and while a woman I proudly consider myself to be a "fanboy."
    King Daniel Beyond likes this.
  13. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 14, 2010
    It’s not false.
  14. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2015
    There are several memos on the subject quoted in The Making of Star Trek. The memo writers believed that all of the ships mentioned were starships and the same class as the Enterprise, and that only the baker's dozen of them counted as starships, meaning that Starfleet had very few starships.

    I believe that several names were suggested in memos but not used, and that Kongo was one of them.
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  15. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

    Jan 27, 2010
    Sunny California
    No. Those Starships were super vessels and could span a large amount of sectors in TOS, a;so I thought Starship Class vessels were meant to keep going out there to explore the unknown and on occasion assist on defense if an outpost or world could not prevent hostilities but the goal of these special vessels were to explore. 12 seems appropriate and I believe there were other agencies beside Starfleet patrolling and exploring space. TOS was not TNG.
  16. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 2, 2002
    From "Metamorphosis"
    COCHRANE: Believe me, Captain, immortality consists largely of boredom. What's it like out there in the galaxy?
    KIRK: We're on a thousand planets and spreading out. We cross fantastic distances and everything's alive, Cochrane. Life everywhere. We estimate there are millions of planets with intelligent life. We haven't begun to map them. Interesting?

    That's not even close to conclusive, but it's a number. Whether that's 1000 Earth colonies, 1000 Federation member worlds, 1000 inhabited planets they've found, who knows? I would like to think it's 1000 Federation worlds, but again, it's just a guess. It was the 60's, so it could have just been a number used to impress people.
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  17. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Jan 7, 2013
    New York State
    Kirk was trying to impress and persuade when he said 1000, so you can bet it was the most inclusive, comprehensive "rough total" he could offer up without lying outright. Citing the exact number of Federation member planets would do less of what Kirk wanted his speech to accomplish. I think roughly 1000 would include every planet anybody has beamed down to and left a footprint.
  18. Defiler-Of-Redshirts

    Defiler-Of-Redshirts Commander Red Shirt

    Jun 3, 2017
    I think Kirk was probably specifying the number of alien planets humans have studied, not necessarily the number of planets, with advanced sentient life, in the Federation itself. One hundred years later in "First Contact" Picard said that the Federation had 150 worlds spread across several thousand light years of space.
    ZapBrannigan likes this.
  19. Birdog

    Birdog Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 1, 2009
    The 12 like her could just mean a dozen or 13 depending on exactly how literal you want to be, ships kitted out to perform the same mission. Namely a 5 year mission of exploration.
  20. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 2, 2002
    It also made me think of Irwin Allen's pilot episodes, when he'd have someone toss out an impossible statistic to be impressive. Such as the Jupiter 2 on Lost in Space being the start of them sending 10 million families per year. Or The Time Tunnel complex having three complexes 800 floors deep with thousands of people housed in them. This was a top secret project, so nobody in the outside world knows where allllll these people went.

    Just a number to sound huge, either to us or a character. I would love to believe Gene Coon was more story rational than Irwin Allen, but for this one line...."we're on a thousand planets and spreading out."

    "We are on."

    That could mean a few things... "We have colonized..." "We are on to...."

    But the "Spreading out" implies colonization. But I'm the one inferring, it may mean something else.
    ZapBrannigan likes this.