Designing the Type-6 Shuttlecraft - By Andrew Probert.
When Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted, everything was redesigned, including the shuttlecraft. The
job of updating Walter 'Matt' Jefferies' classic design for the Galileo was given to Andrew Probert, the man
who had reinvented the
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.
Andrew Probert was no stranger to designing small Federation ships; 10 years eariler, he had created the
Vulcan shuttle and the Work Bee for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In fact, even before he was asked to
design a shuttle for the new Enterprise, he'd thought about updating his Work Bee concept. "I came up with
these small service craft, which Herman [Zimmerman] nicknamed the Sphinx. This would be an extension of the
Work Bee, it was designed to be basically a pickup truck that could be used for different purposes." The
Sphinx workpods never made it to the screen, but they are still an official part of Star Trek because Rick
Sternbach included them in the 'Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual.'
When Probert turned his attention to the shuttle, he reasoned that, since the shuttles would have to make
interplanetary journeys, they would need warp engines and all the components associated with them. "I tried
to address the fact that the shuttles would need a smaller version of the warp core, so I provided a back
section that would have a core in it. My thinking was that there would be an operator's cab separated by a
wall that would have the ability to project a barrier in that open area if they needed to seal off the back
space." In an effort to make the new shuttles more interesting, Probert originally planned to move the
entrance from its traditional position at the side. "Entry into the shuttle was by the front; there's a ramp
that lowers between the two operators. The top portion of that would actually slide up - much like a sunroof
does on a car - allowing the people to walk straight up into the shuttle between the operators." This
shuttle design was approved, but when it was sent down to the construction shop it encountered some
unforseen problems; the extremely curved design was simply too difficult for the carpenters on the lot to
build at life size. As a result, the design had to be rethought. "They built a shuttle that basically had
square edges on it. It was kind of my shape from the side, but it had square edges. Then they came up with
the idea of getting into the shuttle from the side." The finished shuttlecraft first appeared in 'Coming of
Age'; it was eventually superseded by an even boxier design, but it established the basic design direction
for almost all the shuttles we've seen since.
"DESIGNING THE TYPE-6 SHUTTLECRAFT" - JANUARY 2001 ISSUE 21 STAR TREK: THE MAGAZINE COPYRIGHT OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES.