The flagship of Starfleet, the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D was a Galaxy-class starship and the fifth starship to bear the name Enterprise. She was commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who formally became her first captain on Stardate 41124. The Enterprise was built at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards orbiting Mars in the Sol system and, with a total of 42 decks, the ship was double the length and had eight times the interior space of the Constitution-class ships of over a century earlier. She carried a combined crew and passenger load of 1,012.
Defensive systems included 10 phaser banks, 250 photon torpedoes, and a high-capacity shield grid. There were 4,000-plus power systems in all aboard ship. Full acceleration time from reverse, sub-light impulse through nominal top warp speed, warp 9, was 0.03 milliseconds. The ship achieved maximum speed of warp 9.8 maximum when pursued by the entity known as "Q"; at warp 9.3 its engines had passed the red line.
By Stardate 43205, she had already logged tens of thousands of light-years since setting out under Picard’s command around Stardate 41153.7. An average day aboard ship, according to Lt. Commander Data, included four birthdays, a secondary school play, two personnel transfers, two chess tournaments, the celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights, a secondary school play, as well as a wedding and a birth. Some 13 planets were represented among the ship's complement as of Stardate 44247, and the Enterprise crew made official first contact with more than two dozen species.
The Borg incursion of 2366 resulted in Decks 23-25 being sliced open by the enemy during the final battle over Earth. The damage led to a refit at Earth Station McKinley that lasted more than five years. As bad as the damage was, it proved to be far less than would have been incurred by the Kamikaze warp-driven collision Commander Riker had prepared as final recourse. During the refit, the Enterprise benefited from a phaser upgrade and a dilithium chamber articulation frame.
Later, the Enterprise-D had the distinction of off-loading the original three Runabouts and the first arriving officers at Deep Space Nine. As history has recorded, the U.S.S. Enterprise-D was destroyed in 2371 during the Battle of Veridian III, following an attack by renegade Klingons who’d breached her warp core. Although the saucer section separated before the breach, the force of the explosion caused the section to crash on the planet Veridian III. Fortunately, losses were minimal. By the time of her demise, she’d been commanded by Picard and, only very briefly by William T. Riker and Edward Jellico. And she was followed by the Enterprise 1701-E in 2372.
StarTrek.com's look at the NCC-1701-D 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.