She was, in a sense, the ship that started it all: The USS Enterprise NX-01, mankind’s first vessel designed for long-range exploration of the galaxy. Launched in 2151 by the United Earth Starfleet, the NX-01 represented the fruition of the NX Project. By helping establish United Earth as a bona fide interstellar power, she paved the way first for the Coalition of Planets and then, in 2161, the United Federation of Planets. The seeds for the Enterprise were planted by Zefram Cochrane, who eclipsed warp 1 in his craft the Phoenix, back in 2063. Cochrane, Henry Archer and others developed that propulsion system further at the Warp Five Complex in Bozeman, Montana.
The end product was the NX-01, an experimental prototype craft that could achieve warp 4.5 and boasted a transporter, though the vessel’s shuttle pods were initially the safer bet for the crew coming and going. The ship featured a crew of 83 – all human except for T’Pol and Doctor Phlox -- and was captained by Jonathan Archer, the son of Henry Archer. She departed from the Orbital Drydock Facility on April 16, 2151, three weeks earlier than planned because of United Earth’s determination return to the Klingon, Klaang, to his homeworld of Qo'noS.
The Enterprise engaged in numerous missions thereafter, perhaps none more important – or deadly – than its interactions with the Xindi during the Temporal Cold War. She was retired in 2161.
StarTrek.com's look at the NX-01 continues our ongoing celebration of the Ships of the Line, which will carry on from now until the end of the year. The latest in the bestselling Ships of the Line calendar series is available now; visit www.Amazon.com to purchase the 2015 Ships of the Line calendar.