Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Origins of famous Starfleet ship names

Hi #Treksters
As you well know I love starships!
So I wanted to find a way of writing all about starships without getting all technical on you! 
Which is why I wanted to write this blog post all about the origins (and inspiration) for famous Starfleet vessels.
What I am hoping to do in this blog, is explain:
  • Where the ships have appeared in Star Trek cannon (and what they've done).
  • Who or what has inspired the name of the vessel, and the reason they are famous.
    That energised a member of the Star Trek Production team to commission a Starfleet vessel in it's or their honour.
USS Pasteur (NCC-58925) Olympic Class
The USS Pasteur is an Olympic Class hospital starship seen in 'All Good Things...' the finale for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
She is commanded by Captain Beverly Picard in an anti-time (alternative) future timeline set in the year 2395.
Which has been created by Q, but is unfortunately outgunned and destroyed by two Negh'Var Class Klingon warships.

This ship (and a 20th Century counterpart) get their names from famed French microbiologist Louis Pasteur. Who came to fame for various discoveries in healthcare and medicine.
Most notably in 1864 when he gave the world pasteurisation, a process to kill most of the bacteria that caused spoilage (in beer and wine), preventing these drinks from turning sour.
His other achievements include finding vaccines for smallpox, TB, cholera, and rabies throughout his entire career.
 USS Cochrane (NCC-59318) Oberth Class
The USS Cochrane is an Oberth Class science starship seen in a number of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes.
That being said, it appears to me as though it becomes affectively a transport ship!
Poor Captain...erm some guy!!!
It's first appearance is in the Fourth Season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 'The Drumhead' where it transports Admiral Norah Satie to the Enterprise so that she can being her investigation.
Later, the Cochrane gives passage to cadet Wesley Crusher when he goes back to the ship for visit when he's on his Starfleet Academy holiday...but fortunately saves the day once again in 'The Game'.   
It fairs even worse in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as it (briefly) appears in the shows pilot 'Emissary' when it transports a group of Starfleet officers including Doctor Julian Bashir and Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax to the newly established Deep Space Nine.
The ship then fought in the Dominion War...but reported numerous casualties to Starfleet Command in 2374. This information was displayed on an Personnel Status Update chart okudagram, in the wardroom in the episode 'In The Pale Moonlight'.
Unlike the last ship, the USS Cochrane doesn't get it's name from the real world...but from the 'in-universe' (canon) history of Star Trek.
This is because the ship's named after the inventor of Warp Drive...Zefram Cochrane. Which as you already know is also the first Human to travel faster than light (Warp 1).
He's seen both on the small screen in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode 'Metamorphosis' and on the big screen in Star Trek: First Contact, both encounters take place at different points of Cochrane's life.
Leading to First Contact being established between Humans and Vulcans. Cochrane achieved both of these impressive accolades on the 5th April 2063 (Star Trek: First Contact). 
In the years which followed those events, lead to the formation of Terran annual holiday of First Contact day. That celebrated humanities entrance into the intergalactic community. By focusing on the 'chance' encounter with the Vulcans.
A typical example of First Contact Day festivities is at the beginning of the Star Trek: Voyager episode Homestead, when Neelix decides to throw the crew a themed party!

USS Victory (NCC-9754) Constellation Class

The USS Victory is a Constellation Class starship seen in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Elementary, Dear Data'.
Where it rendezvoused with the Enterprise-D at spatial coordinates 3629 by 584, in 2365.
After this very fleeting appearance it only got mentioned in a few okudagram's in later episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Susanna Leijten and Geordi La Forge were assigned to the Victory in the early years of 2360s. When it was tasked with investigating the disappearance of all the Federation colonists on Tarchannen III in 2362.
Five years later in 2367, they later return to Tarchannen III on board the Enterprise-D in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Identity Crisis'. 
In the same year (2367), the Victory is named on a Starfleet Operations-Sectors 21166-23079 chart (okudagram) on the Enterprise-D bridge doing a stellar nuclei population survey in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Brothers'.

Two years after that in 2369, the Victory is still reported to be doing a stellar nuclei population survey...but has moved on to Sectors 21538-23079. When it is seen in another Starfleet Operations chart (okudagram) this time in the Enterprise-D observation lounge, during the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Chain of Command, Part I'.
The Victory then fought in the Dominion War...but reported casualties to Starfleet Command in 2374. When the information was displayed on an Personnel Status Update chart okudagram, in the wardroom in the episode 'In The Pale Moonlight'.
(same okudagram as the USS Cochrane [NCC-59318])
The inspiration for this ship is from one of the most famous navel vessels in British history the HMS Victory, commanded by none other than Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (Memory Alpha & Wikipedia pages).
The ships most infamous battle was with the French at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 (Memory Alpha & Wikipedia pages)...where Lord Nelson lost his life.
This is even referenced in the Star Trek: The Generation Episode 'The Best of Both Worlds, Part I' when Captain Picard tours the Enterprise, and talks to Guinan in Ten Forward about Nelson's tour of the Victory before the Battle of Trafalgar.
Just prior to the ship being forced to leave the Mutara Nebula, leading to a confrontation between them and the Borg Cube.
A model of the ship is also seen in the aforementioned Star Trek: The Generation Episode 'Elementary, Dear Data'. When Geordi La Forge builds the model so that it can be given to Captain Zimbata...but due to Professor Moriarty's tampering with the Holodeck the model is slightly damaged.
But it also fought at numerous other battles like the two battles of Ushant in 1778 and 1781 respectively. It was also at other major engagements including the Battle of Cape Spartel in 1782, and the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797.
I'm probably not doing this ship enough it's just so infamous in British history, so I can only apologise!

 USS Gorkon (NCC-40512) Excelsior Class

The USS Gorkon is a Excelsior Class starship first seen in the Star Trek: The Generation Episode 'Descent, Part I'. Where it is seen as Admiral Nechayev's flagship in charge of an armada, combating a possible renewed Borg invasion.
The inspiration for this ship, is another historical figure from the 'in-universe' (canon) history of Star Trek.
This time, it's in the form of Chancellor Gorkon from the film Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country.
In Star Trek history he is most known for being one of the 'architects' in starting peace talks between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets, after the Klingon moon of Praxis explodes (due to excessive mining).
But before he could reach the peace talks on Earth, he is assassinated by a group of conspirators plotting to stop the peace process. His death results in his daughter (Azetbur) inheriting his position as the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council.
Who continues her fathers will...she changes the location of the conference to Camp Khitomer for security reasons.
The conspirators find out and attempt to assassinate the Federation President. Which fails due to the combined effort of the Enterprise & Excelsior crews.
The Khitomer Conference lead to the signing of the Khitomer Accords, which brings peace between the Klingon Empire and the Federation.

USS Mayflower (NCC-1621) 'Abramsverse' Miranda Class
The USS Mayflower is a starship seen in the new 'Abramsverse' Universe. So there isn't much information on it...although it's closest 'Prime Universe' equivalent is that of a Miranda Class starship.
The Mayflower's only (brief) appearance is seen in the flotilla going to Vulcan at the beginning of Star Trek (XI) from 2009. Where it is later destroyed by Nero's starship (the Narada) at the Battle of Vulcan.

The USS Mayflower was named after a ship of the same name (obviously!) called the Mayflower. This is a ship which all our American readers (and listeners) will be familiar with.

As it was the ship responsible for transporting the Pilgrim Fathers from Plymouth (United Kingdom) to Cape Cod (America).
I do however want to point out that there is some controversy over the Mayflowers route to America, as the ship may have docked at Newlyn (United Kingdom). Before heading out into the Atlantic.

Although their arrival at Cape Cod was a 'happy accident'. Due to the fact that they were being blown off course from their original destination of Virginia colony.
This meant that when they arrived at Cape Cod the English could easily strengthen their ability to claim land in North America. As the English had established the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, giving them a foothold on the east coast on America.
This was crucial as Spain had claimed the entire continent (that they called "La Florida"). Which encouraged others (Dutch colonists) to settle in the same region (east coast on America), leading to the formation of the Thirteen Colonies.
If you as me they sound like the Thirteen Tribes from Battlestar Galactica!

I am well informed by a Profession Historian (Ted), that without the Mayflowers arrival in Cape Cod in 1620. We would be 'most likely' be without the Thirteen Colonies.
Which makes me think that the they wouldn't have got their independence in 1783...that wouldn't have sparked the American War of Independence.

Making it possible that we may not have had a 'modern day' America.

Before I move onto the next ship, I would just like to spend a moment to thank Rick & Ted for they're assistance writing about the Mayflower. As I'm sure without the help they provided an awful lot of the facts (and history) would have been totally inaccurate and wrong!
As I was a #ConfusedBrit, while I was researching about the Mayflower!!!

However, if I've (still) made a mistake in my interpretation then let me know...and I will make a change!

USS Yeager (NCC-61947) Saber Class
and the
USS Yeager (NCC-65674) Yeager Class
The last ship (or ships as it were) is an interesting case, as there is quite a small gap between the production of the two ships (NCC-61947 and NCC-65674).

This 3,727 difference between the registries can be put down to the fact that Starfleet will have wanted to replenish its ships, after losing them against the Borg.
Making it quite unlikely that the USS Yeager will be the only example of Starfleet doing this. In order of replenishing its lost ships with 'updated' (newer class starship) replacements.

The first USS Yeager is a Saber Class starship (NCC-61947). First seen in the Battle of Sector 001 at the beginning of Star Trek: First Contact, where it is destroyed by the Borg.  

It's Yeager Class starship (NCC-65674) replacement, makes it's first appearance in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode 'Doctor Bashir, I Presume' orbiting the station.
The ship also helps retake Deep Space Nine after the Dominion occupation (Operation Return). Then it becomes part of the defence force protecting Deep Space 9 throughout the duration of the war.

Both ships (and the class) get their names from Charles "Chuck" Yeager (Memory Alpha & Wikipedia pages) the famed United States Air Force Test pilot.

Who became the first human to break the sound barrier, on the 14th of October 1947 at the Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base). When he flew the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 m).

"Chuck", named the Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis" after his wife. The plane is now on display at The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
On top of that both can be seen (briefly) in the opening titles of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Star Trek is littered with another three different references to "Chuck" Yeager and his achievement.

The first example of this comes from the Star Trek: Enterprise episode 'Demons'.
When Ensign Travis Mayweather says that he overcame his fear of tense piloting by mimicking Charles Yeager.
Who said; "I never let myself be afraid. I just focus on the dials and concentrate on flying".

Star Trek: The Next Generation also has a some 'subtle' references hidden in a couple of Season Five episodes as well.

Like in the episode 'New Ground' when the Enterprise's Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge said that the upcoming soliton wave test was like "being there to watch "Chuck" Yeager break the sound barrier".

Lastly "Chuck" also had a flight maneuver named after him (Yeager loop), which was mentioned in a bit of dialogue in the episode 'The First Duty'. When the cadets are talking though the display flight plan.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my starships blog post, hopefully it has given you an insight into how (over the years) the Star Trek Production team have decided what to name the Starfleet ships seen in the series and subsequent films.
Make sure you look out for the other blog posts being released this month during our Hiatus.

This is Simon from The Engage Podcast signing out!


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