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Ranger class

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  • Class and Type: Ranger-class Explorer
  • Commissioning Date: 2215

The second of the great exploratory vessels built by Starfleet, the Ranger-class Explorer was the successor to the Daedalus class, and the first ship to employ the new-familiar "saucer section" structure (a shape Starfleet's engineers had determined would allow for the formation of a more stable warp field than the Daedalus' sphere). Its hull, the first ever made of tritanium, was created by the famed Human artist-engineer Mark Chausser working from his laboratory at the University of Oreas on Alpha Centauri IV.

Chausser, and the other engineers working on the Ranger Development Project, chose to go a different route than their predecessors had fifty years before with the Daedalus. Based on the latest research, they used the aforementioned saucer as the main hull, then attached the Engineering hull to it dorsally with a short connecting interhull, and installed nacelle pylons projecting slightly ventrally and outward from the ventral side of the saucer. Thus, the ship's configuration essentially reverses what would become Starfleet's standard saucer-hull-pylon design.

Although primitive even by the standards of 30 years later (when the Constitution class was launched), and unable to take advantage of the advances in warp technology of 2220, the Ranger nevertheless represented a quantum leap forward from the 22nd century ships in both sophistication and convenience. Featuring new food processing systems, Tesla-class laser cannons, and a host of other new systems, it was, from 2215 to 2245, the most powerful ship the Federation possessed. (A few, including the famed USS Carolina, NCC-1000, remained in service until as late as the early 2270s.) It even had an interior, also designed by Chausser, intended to maximize crew efficiency, comfort, and morale.

Noteworhty Vessels/service records/encounters:

  • USS Ranger: NCC-781, prototype, made first contact with the Klingons and was captured by them, providing them with warp technology (2218);
  • USS Bastion: NCC-811, destroyed in battle near the Mutara Nebula after destroying five Klingon cruisers (2228);
  • USS Carolina: NCC-1000, made first contact with the gan'Teth (2219), rescued merchant convoy imperilled by systems malfunctions caused by unusual subspace fluctuation, then investigated and corrected fluctuation (2221), patrolled Romulan Neutral Zone (2226-2230), destroyed four Klingon vessels at the Battle of the Yosaan Cloud (2233);
  • USS Explorer: NCC-1035, lost due to unknown causes while on deep space mission to explore the Theta Reticula system (2233);
  • USS Orleans: NCC-966, explored coreward reaches of Federation space (2231-36), participated in the Battle of Donatu V (2242), served as testbed for phaser experiments (2254-56);
  • USS Sal'koth: NCC-982, following a fierce five-hour battle in the Torgaleth asteroid field, captured the IKS Dit'kra, providing the Federation with an unprecedented look at Klingon starship technology (2239);
  • USS Valiant: NCC-1223, while on a peaceful mission to make contact with planet Eminiar VII, declared a "casualty" in the 500-year-long "virtual war" between that planet and Vendikar, and thus destroyed by the militaries of those planets (2217).

Black-and-white ship illustrations by Tim Davies unless otherwise noted. Used with permission. All other images are copyright to their respective owners.
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