Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It’s five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!
Captain James T. Kirk – USS Enterprise
In 1966 the world first heard the name Enterprise associated with Star Trek as Captain James T. Kirk introduced the world to this ship, this crew, and the beginning of a legacy that continues on nearly 60 years later. Through the last sixty years, the mission has evolved with new captains, crews, and ships. However, one thing has continued to be a consistent in Star Trek is a ship that bears the name Enterprise. While not appearing in every series, this ship has been a core part of the overarching story of Starfleet that has been told through the years. The Enterprise is as much of a character as any of the Captains who have commanded a ship with this name. She also is equally beloved.
There have been multiple ships to carry the name Enterprise through the years. Throw in the alternate timelines and mirror universe stories and there are even more. However, today we are going to take a look at the main ships that have carried the name Enterprise in Star Trek. These are the ships that have seen in the series and movies in the prime timeline in the effort of keeping this a single post and not a book. Each of these versions of the Enterprise will be looked at in the order that they appeared on the little and big screens, as opposed to the chronological history as known by members of The Federation and Starfleet. Without further ado, let’s explore the different iterations of the starship Enterprise that continues to boldly help tell stories nearly six decades later.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701 – Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek I through Star Trek III
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701 is the ship that started it all in terms of the Star Trek story. The ship is as Constitution-class starship and had five captains. Her captains included Captain Robert April, Captain Christopher Pike, Captain James T. Kirk, Captain William Decker, and Captain Spock. The ship became a legend itself when under the command of Captain James T. Kirk during the five year mission that was chronicled in Star Trek: The Original Series.
The ship returned for Star Trek: The Animated Series before getting a major refit while under the command of Captain William Decker. She would return to the command of Captain Kirk during Star Trek: The Motion Picture with Decker becoming his first officer. Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn would find the refitted Enterprise NCC-1701 under the command of Captain Spock and behind used for a training cruise for Starfleet Academy. Now Admiral Kirk would again take command of the ship as he once again had to face off against the genetically modified Khan Noonien Singh and his followers. Following a brutal and costly battle where Kirk had to face the no-win scenario up close and personally for the first time as Spock sacrificed himself for the good of the ship, Kirk again took command of the Enterprise when he stole the ship to rescue Spock’s body and return it to the planet Vulcan where it could be reunited with his Katra. During the rescue mission, the Enterprise was lost during battle with Klingons who were trying to hijack the secrets of the Genesis device and weaponize it.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A – Star Trek IV through Star Trek VI
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A was introduced to newly demoted Captain Kirk and crew at the end of Star Trek: The Voyage Home. This ship was placed under the command of Kirk after the senior officers of the former Enterprise saved Earth and the Federation by bringing back humpback whales from the past aboard the HMS Bounty. The ship is said to be renamed for the crew and is again a Constitution II-class starship. According to Gene Roddenberry, the Enterprise-A was originally named the USS Yorktown. Other sources indicate the ship might have been the USS Ti-Ho or the USS Atlantis.
Whatever the backstory was, the history of the Enterprise-A would continue for 8 years under the command of Captain Kirk. The ship would get off to a rocky start with quite a few glitches found when Kirk initially took command. While it looked identical on the outside, the inside needed a lot of tender loving care from Scotty. This would create some challenges when Spock’s half-brother Sybok takes over Nimbus III and the Enterprise is sent to rescue the hostages. Instead, Sybok would hijack the Enterprise and go on a religious quest to the center of the galaxy. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise eventually regained control of the ship and returned to Federation space.
The next several years of this ship’s history aren’t known as the story resumes in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. This would be the final voyage of the Enterprise-A, albeit a consequential one. It would fight for peace against General Chang and his Klingon Bird of Prey that could fire while cloaked. Chang had conspired with members of Starfleet, Romulans, and other Klingons to stop peace talks between the Federation and Klingon Empire. However, the crew of the Enterprise and the USS Exelsior under the command of Captain Sulu stopped Chang’s efforts and the Enterprise-A and her crew would sail off into the sunset during a new era of peace. The ship eventually made its way to the Fleet Museum, where it was put on display.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Generations, & Star Trek: Picard
The next ship to be revealed in Star Trek was the Enterprise NCC-1701-D under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. This iteration of the Enterprise was a Galaxy-class starship. The ship would be under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard for eight years. During this time it continued the mission of its predecessors and explored the galaxy and also sought to maintain peace as well. It received multiple upgrades through the years and fought many adversaries, most notably the Borg while under the temporary command of Commander Riker, with a temporary field grade of Captain. The Enterprise-D under the command of Riker would defeat the Borg’s invasion efforts and also rescue Captain Picard, known in his assimilated form by the Borg as Locutus. After this conflict, Picard resumed command and Riker passed up other command opportunities to return to his role as first officer aboard the Enterprise-D.
Several years later the Enterprise-D would find itself facing off against the Duras sisters and their renegade efforts. This would ultimately lead to a battle that would result in the magnetic interlocks being ruptured on the Enterprise-D, which led to a coolant leak. With just minutes to spare, Commander Riker evacuated the crew from the secondary hull to the saucer section of the ship before the drive section suffered from a catastrophic warp core breach and exploded. The explosion threw the saucer section into a degrading orbit of Veridian III. Ultimately, the ship would end up crash landing on the planet. Following this, the saucer section would be removed from the planet in order to maintain the Prime Directive and protect the inhabitants of Veridian III.
The saucer section of the Enterprise-D eventually found its way to the Fleet Museum where now Commodore Georgi LaForge painstakingly rebuilt the ship to her former glory. When the Borg once again attempted to defeat the Federation, the Enterprise-D was pressed back into service under the command of Admiral Picard (temporarily Captain) to once again save the galaxy. After the defeat of the Borg, the ship was returned to the Fleet Museum and put on display.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C – Star Trek: The Next Generation
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C made an appearance in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Yesterday’s Enterprise. An Ambassador-class starship, it was under the command of Captain Rachel Garrett. After responding to a Klingon distress call at Narendra III, the Enterprise-C engaged in a battle with the Romulans. During the battle, a temporal rift was created and the badly damaged Enterprise-C drifted through it. There, it encounter the Enterprise-D, now in an alternate timeline caused by the older ship drifting through the rift. The crew of the Enterprise-D assisted in repairs of the Enterprise-D. Both would be attacked by Klingons, which were now not at peace with the Federation in this alternate timeline because the Enterprise-C was no longer at Narendra III to keep the original timeline in place. During the Klingon attack, Captain Garrett and most of the senior officers of the Enterprise-C were killed. It was realized that in order for the timeline to be restored the Enterprise-C would need to return to its own timeline and face the Romulan attack. Now under the command of Lt. Richard Castillo, the ship returned to its own timeline and where it faced off against the Romulans and was eventually destroyed. The selfless efforts of the crew of the Enterprise-C was recognized by the Klingons and helped reinforce the relations between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets. This would lead to a close alliance of peace between the two.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B – Star Trek: Generations
The Enterprise NCC-1701-B is only seen once on the screen in Star Trek canon. Under the command of Captain John Harriman, she was an Excelsior-class starship. Ensign Demora Sulu was the helmsman for the Enterprise-B, having recently graduated from Starfleet Academy. Captain Kirk remarked that “It wouldn’t be the Enterprise without a Sulu at the helm.“
While Captain Kirk, Captain Scott and Commander Chekov were aboard for a maiden voyage, the ship was the only ship in range to rescue two ships carrying El-Aurian refugees aboard the SS Robert Fox and the SS Lakul from an energy ribbon. While efforts to save those aboard the SS Robert Fox weren’t successful, 47 survivors from the SS Lakul were rescued. Unfortunately, during the rescue Captain Kirk was lost while saving the Enterprise-B. The fate of the Enterprise-B isn’t known.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E – Star Trek VIII through Star Trek X
The USS Enteprise NCC-1701-E was a Sovereign-class starship. Originally, it was under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. About a year after being launched, it would find Captain Picard and crew facing off against another Borg threat. While the initial cube was destroyed, a sphere launched from it moments before the explosion. The Enterprise-E followed it back in time to stop the Borg from assimilating the Earth’s inhabitants of the past and make sure the Zefram Cochrane would launch the Phoenix which would lead to first contact with the Vulcans. Ultimately, the crew of the Enterprise-E stopped the Borg and helped make sure the the Phoenix flight was successful and first contact happened with the Vulcans.
During Picard’s command of the Enterprise-E, it would protect that Ba’ku in the Briar Patch from the Son’a. While Picard was on the planet, Riker took command of the ship to alert Starfleet to Admiral Dougherty’s violations of the Prime Directive. In later years, the Enterprise-E would be dispatched to Romulus for peace talks. However, Praetor Shinzon really wanted to destroy life on Earth and attack the Federation. This would lead to a battle between the Enterprise-E and Shinzon’s ship, the Scimitar. Ultimately the Enterprise-E would prevail, but not without great cost. The ship was badly damaged during the battle and Commander Data sacrificed himself to defeat Shinzon. Following the conflict, the ship returned to Earth to receive repairs.
Upon the promotion of Picard to Admiral, now Captain Worf was given command of the Enterprise-E. Nothing is really known about this era of the Enterprise-E’s history other than whatever did happen was not Worf’s fault, as he said during a conversation in Star Trek: Picard. What its ultimate fate is unknown other than it could not be used to fight against the Borg once again when they attacked Earth and the Federation on Frontier Day in Star Trek: Picard.
Enterprise NX-01 – Star Trek: Enterprise
The Enterprise NX-01, later designated the USS Enterprise was the first NX-class starship launched by United Earth Starfleet. Under the command of Captain Jonathan Archer, the Enterprise NX-01 established the United Earth as a legitimate interstellar power. This would lead to a restructuring of galactic politics that led to the creation of the Coalition of Planets and eventually the United Federation of Planets. This ship was the first human starship with a Warp 5 engine, which enabled it to explore like humankind had never done before.
Along with exploration, the Enterprise NX-01 also became a peacekeeping force as well. It had to confront the Xindi after Earth was attacked. Eventually, it would find the location of the Xindi weapon and destroy it. This was eventually done and the Enterprise NX-01 returned to earth where it received extensive repairs and a refit. Following which, the ship continued its mission to maintain peace and also explore the galaxy. Eventually Earth would create trade relations with Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar, and Coridan. The crew of the Enterprise NX-01 was given much credit for laying the groundwork to these alliances that would eventually lead to the creation of the United Federation of Planets.
In later years of its service, the ship received another refit and was recommissioned as the USS Enterprise. It would continue to serve for several more years before being decommissioned as new starships with more advanced technology would lead the next generation of exploration and promotion of peace. The USS Enterprise would eventually find its way to the Fleet Museum where it was seen by the crew of the USS Titan-A in Star Trek: Picard.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-F – Star Trek: Picard
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-F is an Odyssey-class starship that was seen under the command of Admiral Shelby in Star Trek: Picard. It was launched in 2386 and remained in service for 15 years. By the time of Star Trek: Picard, it was set for an early decommissioning after critical systems were compromised during “the Monfette Gambit.” These were the rescue efforts for the Raillian refugees on Fenton IV. The final flight of the Enterprise-F was scheduled to be for Frontier Day, as seen in the episode called Vox.
After the Federation was attacked by the Borg on Frontier Day, the fate of the Enterprise-F is unknown. As the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-F fly over Earth after the battle, it appears the the remains of the Enterprise-F might be drifting above the planet. However, what ultimately happened to the Enterprise-F has not been revealed officially by Star Trek on screen. There is always a possibility for more to be revealed about this ship in the future, however.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-G – Star Trek: Picard
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-G is the ship formerly known as the USS Titan-A. The ship is a Constitution III-class starship, also commonly called the Neo-Constitution-class. The ship was originally christened as the USS Titan-A and included elements of the Luna-class USS-Titan, which had been commanded by Captain William Riker. The newest iteration of the ship was built with exploration in mind. After the battle with the Borg, Commander Seven of Nine took command of the Titan-A after the death of her Captain, Liam Shaw.
Following the battle with the Borg, Commander Seven of Nine was promoted to the rank of Captain and given command of the Titan-A. Shortly after, the ship was rechristened the Enterprise-G. This was done in honor of Admiral Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D. The ship remained in command of Captain Seven of Nine. She was joined by Commander Raffaela Musiker as first officer and Ensign Jack Crusher as special counselor to the captain.
The ship with its new name has only been seen in action orbiting a red giant star during its shakedown cruise. During this, Q made an unexpected appearance in Ensign Jack Crusher’s quarters. What will happen with this ship and her crew in the future remains to be seen. Many fans are hoping for more stories to be told, however!
The ships above are the main ships that have been seen on screens big and small that have carried the name Enterprise. However, there were also some other ships that have appeared through the years that also had the name. This included a future version of the USS Enterprise-D under the command of Admiral Riker, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-J in the alternate timeline where the Sphere-Builders attempted to invade the prime reality, and of course the Enterprise that Chekov and Uhura boarded in Star Trek: The Voyage Home. There is also the sailing ship that was seen on the holodeck of the Enterprise-D where Worf received his promotion during the events of Star Trek: Generations. There is also the version of the ship seen in the Kelvin timeline.
The name Enterprise is as much of a part of Star Trek as any fan-favorite character during the history of the franchise. Different fans have their favorite iterations of the ship through the years. As the Star Trek story continues to boldly go forward and tell new stories with new crews and iterations of the ship, the Enterprise continues to be a foundation from which other ships and stories branch out. This is a ship that has been instrumental in saving the galaxy time and time again in the Star Trek universe. It also is a ship that continues to get more stories told with it. Hopefully, this six decade legacy continues and more adventures with the Enterprise and her crew are told.
What is your favorite version of the Enterprise? What was the first one you remember seeing? Where would you like to see Star Trek go in the future with stories involving the Enterprise? Share your thoughts and opinions in he comments below!