Shuttlebay | Galileo

 Active Service:
   2286 - 2293

  Captain James T. Kirk
   2286 - 2293


The second starship Enterprise was launched in 2286 on stardate 8442.5 from the San Francisco Fleet Yards under the command of demoted admiral, Captain Kirk. The command was given by the Federation Council in gratitude for saving Earth from the alien probe. Starfleet renamed the USS Yorktown NCC-1717 to Enterprise. It was almost identical to the orginal Enterprise, although it was 16 meters longer, at 305 meters. Also in keeping with the original Enterprise, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A had 23 decks, with the bridge at the top, on deck 1, and the tractor beam emitter and antimatter and antimatter storage pods at the bottom, on deck 23. Crew quarters were on decks 3 through 6. The sickbay and transporter room were on deck 7, while main engineering and the shuttlebay were on deck 19.

Among the new Enterprise's refinements was a forward observation room. It featured an old sailing ship's wheel, on the front of which was a plaque with the ship's motto, 'To boldly go where no man has gone before.' In the center of the room was what appeared to be a compass inlaid into the floor. However, on activation this compass could be raised into a round, glowing table that was fitted with emergency communications equipment. The shuttlebay was at the stern of the engineering section, and was accessed from space by a pair of clamshell doors. At the forward end of the bay was an obversation deck which looked down onto the flight deck. The bay had room for two shuttlecraft, which were named the Galileo and the Copernicus. Most of the ship was decorated in tones of brown and Starfleet gray. However, some of the ship was finished in blue tones, such as the transporter room and the interior of turboshaft 3.

The bridge layout was similar to that of earlier Constitution-class ships, but there were differences. For one, the main viewscreen was much larger, giving observers a more panoramic impression of what was being displayed. Numerous small screens covered the circular wall of the perimeter, each displaying vital information. Helm and navigation were on a raised platform, which pushed forward from the rear of the guard rail, behind a sweeping control board. The captain's chair had a central position on a second low platform above that. The transporter room was very similar to that on the previous Enterprise, but, as in 2271, featured a protective shield between the transporter and transporter control station. Jefferies tubes ran throughout the ship. Color pipes extended along each tunnel, and yellow pipes crossed at intervals of several yards.

In 2287, the Enterprise-A was launched into duty before it was ready when diplomatic representatives on Nimbus III were held hostage by Sybok, a renegade Vulcan and Captain Spock's half brother. When negotiations were unsuccessful, Kirk lead a team to take the hostages back by force leaving Commander Chekov in command. Kirk and his team were captured by Sybok and his followers, so that Sybok could use the Enterprise for travel to a planet in Vulcan religion called Sha Ka Ree located in the center of the galaxy. Sybok was killed by the entity claiming to be God, and Kirk regained control of the Enterprise.

By 2293, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A appeared to have undergone a refit. The automatic sliding doors were redecorated in red instead of Starfleet gray, and the turbolifts had a schematic of the ship incorporated into them. At this time, the Enterprise had a galley containing pots, pans, and real food. This was an advance on the reconstituted food carried on earlier missions, but less advanced than the replicators that would come to be used on later ships. The officers' mess doubled as a formal dining room, where diplomatic dinners took place. Hand weapons were available at various points throughout the ship, even in the kitchen. However, any phaser fired above stun setting triggered alarms all over the ship, and attracted the immediate of security personnel.

The final mission for the Enterprise-A came in 2293 when the Klingon moon Praxis exploded, which crippled the Klingon Empire and opened up a major peace initiative. The Enterprise was sent to escort the Klingon flagship, the K'T'inga-class IKS Qo'noS One to Earth. The Qo'noS One was attacked by a cloaked Bird-of-Prey making it look like the Enterprise was responsible, while two Starfleet assassinated Chancellor Gorkon. When Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy beamed over to the Qo'noS One they were held responsible for the attack and were sentenced life imprisonment on Rura Penthe. Once Kirk and McCoy were rescued by the Enterprise, they headed for Khitomer, and with the assistance of Captain Sulu of the USS Excelsior NCC-2000 they destroyed the prototype Bird-of-Prey and saved the peace talks from conspirators in both the Federation and Klingon governments. The Enterprise was severely damaged, and, given the age of the ship's design, Starfleet took the decision to decommission her. Kirk, never a man to follow the letter of the law too precisely, disobeyed Starfleet order one final time. He took his ship out for one last run, setting a final course for "second star to the right and straight on till morning."

Star Trek Encyclopedia background information
Gene Roddenberry reportedly suggested that the Enterprise-A had been previously named the Yorktown, since it seems unlikely that Starfleet could have built an all-new ship so quickly. Also this would explain why the ship was retired so soon into its service.