Matt Jeffries Intentions / Federation Vessel Hull Numbers

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by CuttingEdge100, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Matt Jeffrey's intention for the hull numbers of federation ships were based on the number of classes of ships built and the number of vessels in that class...

    For example his intention was that the Starship/Enterprise/Constitution-Class was the 17th distinct class of ships for the Federation and the Enterprise was the first vessel in the series. Hence 17 and 01.

    This seems to fall apart though when you consider the USS Constitution had the hull number 1700. Of course if the first vessel in the class had -00 has a suffix, then the designation system still works.

    The USS Constellation is an exception, but the reason for the odd designation (NCC-1017) is most likely because they simply took the decals for the USS Enterprise (The model of the Constellation was actually simply a scale model bought from a hobby-shop, modified, and mangled up a bit, and the numbers 1701 were jumbled up to get 1017).

    Of course, it would seem that this idea completely fell apart when F.J. Schnaubelt made his various drawings of the Constitution-Class, the Federation Class, and other vessels (and assigned hull numbers onto them). During TMP, some of those hull numbers were actually used. The Columbia and one of the Federation Class hull numbers for example (Interestingly in TWOK, the Avenger/Miranda-Class USS Reliant has an 18-- designator, which does appear to be in line with Matt Jeffries' original scheme, though during TSFS, the Excelsior had a designator lower than the Federation-Class.), then during TNG, the USS Galaxy, in the technical manual had the hull number NCC-70637, not NCC-70000 or NCC-70001 or something.

    Interestingly in the NuTrek, the USS Kelvin had a hull number NCC-0514, not NCC-514, which seems to lend credence to Matt Jeffries' old designator, the 5th class of federation ship, 14th ship in the line (After the first ship in it's class) scheme, although for all I know it might have not been intentional... for all I know J.J. Abrams may have designated it 0514 instead of 514 for an entirely different reason or reasons.

    The NCC designation system had to do apparently with aircraft designation systems. The international code for American civilian craft = NC, the international code for Soviet Aircraft = CCCC. Jeffries figured that in the future, at least by the time interstellar space-travel a'la Star Trek would be commonplace, Earth would have one government running it. So he combined the two and got NCC.

    (Later on Franz Joseph used the designation Naval Construction Contract, which truthfully makes more sense...)


    IMHO, I think Matt Jeffries' designator with some modifications was a pretty good idea, I don't know what other people would think but assuming the first ship in the class (which the class would be named after), had a -00 on it's hull number (i.e. NCC-100, NCC-200, NCC-300). '

    The only potential flaw I could see if any class had more than 100 or 101 vessels in the class. Still I suppose one could just add an extra zero. Of course that would be confusing if more than ten classes of federation ships were built. Of course formal documentation could list the ship as 05-100 instead of 5100, and NCC-5100 could be still written on the hull.

    For example the first XB-70 had the tail number 20001, but the S/N for the aircraft was actually 62-0001. In this case 62 meant what fiscal year it was ordered for (1962). The second aircraft oddly was listed as 20207 but it's official S/N was 62-0207. In other words 20001 and 20207 was sufficient to put as a tail number but the official number in the books was 62-0001 and 62-0207. I suppose if liberties could be taken with a plane's tail number similar liberties could be taken with a ship's hull number.

    The NCC thing, I honestly think F.J.'s Naval Construction Contract sounds better though...

    I wonder what other people think, other than that I have too much time on my hands


    CuttingEdge100
     
  2. James Wright

    James Wright Commodore Premium Member

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    Is there a link where one can read about what Matt Jefferies intended, where did you get this information? I've always thought he got the 1701 number by using the exact number from his airplane!?


    James
     
  3. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    Matt Jefferies talked about his ideas a number of times in interviews over the years, so finding one shouldn't be that hard via Google. The number on his plane was NC17740, the reason he used "0", "1", and "7" was that they were less likely to be mistaken for another number (a wise choice given the poor quality of broadcast television of that day).

    If you need additional verification on his thoughts on the hull numbers, he made a note on one of his sketches of the Enterprise from October of 1964.

    [​IMG]

    As for why they used the number that they did for the Constellation... the same reasoning behind using "0", "1", and "7" on the Enterprise, plus they didn't want the numbers to look similar (and have people mistake the Constellation for the Enterprise, again, on the poor quality of broadcast television of that day).

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Bernard Guignard

    Bernard Guignard Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When you think about it all they would have had to do was reverse the 01 to get 10 thus having 1710 it would have fit alot better in the scheme of things but we got what we got. :) Now the rest is history.
     
  5. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, 17xx was out of the question from the start... it would look too much like the Enterprise's number. So the first two numbers absolutely were not going to be "17", so what were you left with?

    I don't know if any of you guys are old enough, but the packaging on some Star Trek toys back in the 1970s had something like "NCC-1711" on the graphic of the ship. These were licensed products, and they couldn't get the number right.

    On screen, the two numbers had to be VERY different to not confuse the viewers. This was the same issue that producers of TWoK faced when the first draft of that movie had the Reliant looking very much like the Enterprise. They needed to be noticeably different to avoid confusion.

    Remember that people being targeted to watch the show weren't 40 year fans, this was the second season of a show struggling to stay in prime time.
     
  6. James Wright

    James Wright Commodore Premium Member

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    I just thought of something, while TOS was in production wasn't the Enterprise model the only model available for purchase?

    James
     
  7. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    Bernard Guignard,

    Yeah, that makes more sense to me. They did show a ship called the Kongo on a chart in a Star Trek episode designated NCC-1710...

    Still I'm not sure if the episode with the Constellation came first or second.


    James Wright,

    Probably, as I don't think there was any contemporary Federation vessel shown in the series other than the Constitution-Class Enterprise


    CuttingEdge100
     
  8. ahkyahnan

    ahkyahnan Captain Captain

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    The Galileo shuttlecraft may've been also. As I recall, AMT/Ertl provided the funds for them to build the model and full-size mockup in return for exclusive rights to build and sell models. Not sure of all the details though.

    Mark
     
  9. GNDN

    GNDN Commodore Commodore

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    Just to be nit-picky (hey, that's what we do, right?) but only the 'N' is consistent on United States civil aircraft, I've piloted N94294 many times, for instance.

    Only one nit in a sea of fascinating info, and yes, the 'NC' came right from Jeffries' own airplane.
     
  10. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jefferies didn't get that plane until the early 1970's, well after TOS was cancelled.

    As for the registry prefixes, the best I can figure with regard to how they were used on the shows is that N represents the Federation, CC somehow translates into a Starfleet vessel, X is clearly an experimental prototype, AR would appear to be a civilian research vessel of Earth registry, and SP would be a Vulcan registered ship.
     
  11. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Never mind.
     
  12. GNDN

    GNDN Commodore Commodore

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    Well, I have to unpick my own nit regarding N-numbers on aircraft. From this site:

    Nice insight on the origin of NX-2000 there as well.

    And from here:

    emphasis mine
     
  13. CuttingEdge100

    CuttingEdge100 Commodore Commodore

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    GNDN,

    Since the early 1950's, we just use N as an identifier. Before that NC was used. Some older aircraft apparently kept the NC-identifier (Now that I think about it, it is kind of silly that Mr. Jeffries used an outdated identifier even by 1964 standards for a ship from 2264...)


    CuttingEdge100
    BTW: The first single-engined plane I soloed in was a Cessna 152 also!
     
  14. GNDN

    GNDN Commodore Commodore

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    CuttingEdge100,

    I see you're way ahead of me on the knowledge bank! Please see my retraction right above your latest post and accept my apologies.

    Off-topic: what do you fly now?
     
  15. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    An interesting topic, CuttingEdge100. Myself, I've often wished there was greater variety in Federation registry numbers.

    I've always thought that would still work if "first in the series" differs from "prototype."

    Yeah, that's where the hitch came in, I'd say. Excelsior still works if we pretend she had been on "back order." ;)

    I prefer "Navigation/Commission Code" myself, if one is to try to define an origin for it. But, letters that designate something and actually aren't abbreviated is IMO preferable.

    In that case, if the class is projected to have 100 members, then you'd just start with another 0, methinks. For example: NCC-61001 would be the first ship of class number 61, after the prototype.

    I've always wanted to try to reconcile the U.S.S. Grissom as somehow being the 8th ship of the extremely short-lived 63rd starship class, which was later repeated as the 188, 190, 538, and 539 classes, which were collectively named Oberth class... :shifty:

    I hope you know that I don't mean to be snarky when I say this, but I've always thought that the burning on the Constellation should have been enough to differentiate it. Changing the Reliant to a different design was no argument a wise decision, but the Constellation was so characteristically burned I really feel like that should have been enough.

    I'm just bummed "1017" doesn't fit with the Jefferies scheme that I like so much. :(

    Then again, perhaps we could say that Constellation was of the 10th starship class, not "really" built all that long before the 17th class. Perhaps 11 was a medium cruiser, 12 a light cruiser, 13 a destroyer/scout, 14 another heavy cruiser, 15 a medium cruiser, 16 a destroyer/scout, 17 another heavy cruiser... and perhaps all those heavy cruisers were simply refit to the 17 design? And perhaps this was all done within, say, twenty years? Perhaps the NCC registry scheme was only introduced circa 2225, and previously ships of the fleet retained registries with their homeworlds?

    I like that, as a rationalization of what we got. I'd have preferred "CC" meant heavy cruiser, and we'd gotten other combinations for light cruisers, frigates, destroyers, scouts, etc. Reliant was the first to torpedo that. I'd have been happy for an NCL-1864 or something there...

    That's very cool. Perhaps that could be applied to Starfleet? N = Federation, C = cruiser, C = standard.
     
  16. Basill

    Basill Captain Captain

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    That's an interesting little Jefferies sketch Shaw. What's that curious little note to the right of the two serial numbers 1701 and 1702?
    "1st Moderize Or Modification 1701A"

    Had Matt Jefferies foreseen the future? ;)
     
  17. CTM

    CTM Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Actually, that is the standard military practice for designation of an improved spec or model.
    For example:
    the M-16 Rifle came out in the 1960's
    the improved M-16, or M-16A1 came out in the 1970s
    the next one was the M-16A2

    The B-17 Bomber (much older example - and considering how many of the Star Trek production team had been bomber pilots in WWII....)
    B-17A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H.
    Most of those that survived the war were later models (F, G, H) with the "chin turrets" while the earlier D and E models without that turret were both built in fewer numbers and had lower survival rates (the Germans liked to attack from the weakest spot - on the earlier models that was from straight ahead).

    In general, a full letter designation indicates a significant design change, while a number following that letter indicates a minor design change. So, while an M-1A2 is a modernized and improved M-1, an M-1C4 (does not exist yet) would indicate the third major revision in design, with 4 subsequent modifications to that design (say this one has a micro-fusion power plant and fires a 4th generation particle beam - while the M-1C fires a 1st generation particle beam; but all on the same fundamental M-1 Chassis design. The M-1B might have had improved armor, etc. etc. etc.).
     
  18. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd just like to point out that nowhere in canon Trek has it ever been established that the Constitution's registry number is NCC-1700, or that there even is a ship called the Constitution. Those things have only been assumed or implied, based on logical thinking and official/non-official publications.

    *Before everyone blasts me, keep in mind that "canon," strictly speaking, is what is shown or mentioned on screen.* I know that Commodore Stone's wall chart lists the registry number NCC-1700 among others; however, no names are associated with the numbers. Also, there's a Connie with the registry NCC-1700 on a display that Data looks at in the first season of TNG, but again there's no name.

    Do I think there is a Constitution class ship named the U.S.S. Constitution? Yes. Do I think it's the class ship of the Enterprise? Yes. Do I think it's registry number is NCC-1701? Yes, just like most people. All I'm saying is that it hasn't been canonically proven.
     
  19. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's a good point, Dukhat. Most of what we tend to take for granted is somewhat built on a house of cards.
     
  20. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    One should keep in mind that I take no ownership of these ideas... I'm just the messenger and hadn't even seen the light of day when the 18" models of the Enterprise and Constellation were being constructed (as I was born in December of that year).

    That having been said, having had non-Trekkies walk in on me watching that episode and had them ask what happened to the Enterprise? seems like proof enough that even the damage wasn't enough.

    From a historical point of view, one should also keep in mind the order of events... both 18" models (Enterprise and Constellation) were made at the same time. Odds are that both were essentially finished (undamaged) and the builders realized that the audience was going to have a hard time telling them apart. The rest is history.

    Debate the merits as you will, history is history. My interests are in collecting as much accurate information on the history of TOS as possible. I've provided the whys for this, I'm sure that the 40+ years of armchair quarterbacking of this decision is going to continue unabated.