Introduction to Star Trek
Star Trek is a gateway to the future with adventures that take place hundreds of years from now. The denizens of the Star Trek universe are intensely curious and eager to learn about life beyond their own backyard. They travel through space, seeking out "new life and new civilizations," in large ships that travel faster than the speed of light. These starships are crewed with personnel who serve in Starfleet, an agency chartered by the United Federation of Planets (UFP) to conduct exploratory, scientific, diplomatic and defensive operations in deep space.
Each starship has a hierarchy of Starfleet personnel ranging from crew members, ensigns, lieutenants, and commanders to the captain, who leads the crew to “where no man has gone before.” Important Starfleet captains have included James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, Kathryn Janeway, and Jonathan Archer. The remaining personnel hold positions that emphasizes his or her specialty, for example, engineering, medicine, navigation, etc.
The Star Trek universe is home to hundreds of alien species, some friendly to humanoid lifeforms while others are deadly enemies. Among the most familiar species are Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans, Borg, Cardassians, Ferengi, and Tribbles.
In 1964, former Air Force pilot and Los Angeles police officer Gene Roddenberry unveiled his concept for a science fiction series – a show about a group of characters who would travel each week to worlds similar to our own. Roddenberry set the show “somewhere in the future”—close enough to our time for the audience to be able to identify with the continuing characters, but far enough into the future for galaxy travel to be thoroughly established.
When Star Trek debuted in 1966, no one could have imagined the cultural impact that this weekly “space opera” would have on multiple generations of viewers. Interest has never waned as demonstrated by twelve Star Trek motion pictures and five additional television series. Over the years, Star Trek has inspired people of all races and nationalities to strive toward a future where all of mankind’s ills could be healed, where technology worked for the good of everyone, where the unknown was something to be curious about rather than something to be frightened of.