The starship Columbia was named in honor of the old earth space shuttle Columbia that was destroyed in a tragic accident in 2003. The first ship to enter outer space with the name Columbia was a pioneer in earth's early space history. It is no coincidence that Columbia will leave dry dock almost exactly 400 years after her ancestor entered earth's orbit for the first time.
Commissioning of the new starship Columbia marks an exciting change for Starfleet. With the Dominion War long over and ongoing peace talks with the Romulan Star Empire progressing, Starfleet has shifted construction of its vessels away from wartime duty towards its primary mission of exploration. The existing Nebula Class design facilitates this change in mission.
This Columbia will sacrifice the battle capabilities of some more recent vessels, but she will be equipped with some of the latest breaking and largely untested Starfleet technology. What Columbia lacks in offensive firepower, she will make up with technological advancement.
Following the failed attempt at creating an artificial wormhole for incredibly fast interstellar travel, the Columbia was severely damaged. After limping back to StarBase 118, Captain Avatar and his crew were transferred to StarBase 118 Operations. The Columbia is currently being repaired and will one day be StarBase 118's primary support vehicle.