Truth OR Myth- Beta Canon Starships- TOS Era Designs (Part 1)

Truth OR Myth? Beta Canon Starships – Early TOS Starship Design History

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Hello and welcome to another episode of Truth OR Myth,  a Star Trek web series that normally looks at the Truth, or canon, information to dispel the myths that have surfaced on a given topic.  Today’s episode continues our journey through Beta Canon, this time taking a look at 3 starship designs done in the style of the Original Series of Star Trek.

With the Breakthrough in Duotronic Technology and the successful launch of the Constitution Class, Starfleet Command would step out of its starship box, in an attempt to redefine itself for a new era.  But what did these attempts look like?  And what are their backstories?  Well today, we find out…

Of course, there IS no information available on any of these classes in Alpha Canon, so what I’ve done is taken the very tiny bit of information there is in Beta Canon, and created an entire historical narrative around them, all to give you good “Tri-naries” a little bit more design history info to chew on.

As a result though, this video should pretty much be taken with a grain of stardust, and only considered a little bit of Star Trek Fun!  And so, with all that out of the way, lets begin.

(CBS/Cryptic) The Pioneer Class – Star Trek: Online
The Pioneer Class

Starfleet’s Launch of the Constitution Class had been a complete and unprecedented success for the organization.  So much so, that Starfleet immediately ordered it’s Core of Design Engineers to come up with several starship designs that mirrored the aesthetics of the Constitution Class. Starfleet wanted to change its entire image, a political move designed to strengthen its position in the Galaxy as well as to ward off any would-be invaders that might think Starfleet was unable to protect Federation Citizens as their current starship design were old and most would say obsolete, One of the first designs the Core came up with was that of the Pioneer Class.

Classified as frigate and utility cruiser, this starship would be much smaller then it’s Constitution Class Big Sister, but could still be capable of packing a punch if the situation required it. A  more compact design then the Constitution Class, the Pioneer Class would see most of the secondary hull included in the saucer section itself, which would also directly connect to the warp nacelles through pylons in the aft section of the primary hull. Like most starships of this Era, the requirement of a navigational deflector was a must. 

Traveling at even Sub-light Impulse speeds could be very hazardous to a starship.  This was due to space being filled with minuscule particles of what scientist called space dust, these particles, though small in size, could rupture a starships hull while it travelled at the tremendous velocities require to traverse space.  And so, to solve this problem, since it would be decades before reliable deflector emitters would be invented, Starfleet’s Corp of Engineers would add a deflector pod secondary hull to this design, connected mid section to the primary hull. this deflector pod would provide the required protection needed to keep all that pesky space dust at bay.

Also included in this design would be a dual forward torpedo launch system installed directly on the neck connecting the Deflector Pod to the Saucer Section.

This launching system would actually be a revolution for Starfleet, as it would prove to be so useful and of such an efficient design, that when the Constitution Class herself went in for redesign and refit at the end of the 2260s, this Neck Torpedo Launching system idea would be included in that classes refit. This classes impulse drive vents would be separated, and placed on either side of the after a section of the primary hull, and a shuttle bay would also be included in the aft section of the starship…

(CBS/Cryptic) The Perseus Class – Star Trek: Online
The Perseus Class
Impressed with the design of the Pioneer Class, Starfleet command ordered it’s Corp of Design engineers to create a similar class in size to the Pioneer Class, but this time, with a focus on a tactical mission profile, as they wanted a class purely intended to be used as a border patrol class.  This class became known as the Perseus Class.
With the Pioneer Class as a starting point, Starfleet’s Core of design Engineers began to realize that there were certain aspects of that class that would not make it a very tactically sound design.
The major problem being the Deflector Pod. In order to allow for a closer, less power costing defensive shielding for the Perseus Class, it was decided immediately that the Deflector pod must go.  And so the engineers began to experiment with including the deflector dish itself at the front of the starship’s saucer section similar to the design of the old NX Class of almost a century before, by using the same integrated secondary hull idea of the Pioneer Class, but instead adding the Deflector Dish at the front of the ship, the Perseus class began to take shape.

It’s more compact profile would allow for a smaller shield bubble grid to protect the ship, which meant far less power being used, which in turn meant this class could last longer in a fire fight. To give this class a further distinctive look from the Pioneer Class, the Perseus Class would also see it’s nacelles brought from the top of starship, down to the underside of this design, with pylons that extended straight out from the aft section of the primary hull and then angled downward.

Offensive wise, this class would contain a standard compliment of phaser emitters as well as 2 photon torpedo launchers, but for Starfleet’s Core of Engineers, that simply was not enough for a  class with a tactical mission profile, and so, determined to make this class an offensive powerhouse, they included a new experimental device they called a Phaser Cannon. Like Phaser emitters, the Phaser Cannon was designed to emit bursts of phased Energy but was designed to overstep the limitations of phaser emitter design technology of the time.

Those starship phaser emitters were quite powerful, the amount of power they could discharge against an enemy vessel was actually quite limited.  Due to overheating and burn out possibilities, Phaser energy discharged through an emitter had to be kept quite low, to prevent those specified problems from occurring.  And in theory, this new Phaser canon System would not be so limited, unfortunately, like so many things in life, the reality of the situation was far different from the theory.

Though the Phaser Canon did work as theorized, with energy output almost double that of the standard Phaser emitters, the cooling process to allow for a second immediate discharge of the weapon simply didn’t work correctly.  Starfleet technology of the time simply was not up to that task, meaning that a starship could fire the canon but only after a several minute cool down period.

Never the less, thanks to rumors, and PR done by Starfleet Command, many enemy races in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants believed this Phaser Canon to be far more powerful then it was and that it had no draw backs at all.  And this in itself, would help deter several enemies of the federation from engaging with this class of starship.

The Perseus Classes Impulse drive vents were once again separated, though this time slightly raised on top of the Saucer section, while it’s shuttle bay would extend out from the aft end of the primary hull.

This class would also carry a large amount of Starfleet’s most up to date fighter crafts in it’s hanger decks.

(CBS)/Cryptic) The Gemini Class – Star Trek: Online
The Gemini Class

With its Corp of Engineers having solved the Defector Pod issue from the Pioneer Class by integrating the ship deflector directly into the Perseus Classes primary hull, Starfleet’s Admiralty itself was suddenly struck with inspiration.

With the Experimental Cardenas Class being seen as a success by Starfleet Command, the Admiralty wondered what would happen if Starfleet’s core of Engineers designed a similar 4 nacelle Class Starship to that of the Cardenas class but in a Constitution Class aesthetics using the brand new more powerful Constitution Class Warp nacelles in its design, and so using the Cardenas Class and the Perseus Class as a starting point, Starfleet’s Core of Design Engineers did just that.

Having 4 Nacelles on a starship was seen as an ultimate back up to the warp system by Starfleet command, as this meant that even with 1 or 2 nacelles knocked out of commission, this class, named the Gemini Class, could still operate at speeds close to what the Constitution Class could maintain as it’s standard, but Starfleet’s true hope was that with this 4 Nacelle Design, the Gemini Class would become a far faster Class then anything seen before it, making it a great first responder class of starship should any emergency arise with in the Federation.

With the breakthrough in Duotronic Technology, the Cardenas Class had proven to be faster then the Constitution Class, being the first class of starship to break the warp Seven barrier, in fact, the Cardenas Class had managed to hold and maintain a warp factor of 8, something Starfleet was quite happy about, but with the invention of the more powerful Constitution Style nacelles, and Duotronic Computer Systems being able to handle all the necessary minute calculations to keep such an intense warp field generated by 4 nacelles stable and operational, Starfleet was looking to break the warp 9 barrier this time.

The United Federation of Planets was growing at a rapid rate, and faster starships would be a great selling point for alien races to join the federation as it meant that even the most distant worlds could feel protected by Starfleet, and so, upon completion of the design, Starfleet immediately began construction on the U.S..S Gemini, placing it as a priority construction at it’s Utopia Planitia Construction Facility, and soon the U.S.S. Gemini would begin it’s highly anticipated shakedown cruise.

During its Shakedown, all starship systems performed as expected, while Starfleet command awaited it’s warp trials to begin.  Once they did, Starfleet was immediately impressed by its ability to achieve and maintain warp factor 8 without any damage or burn out to any of its systems.

Increasing it’s speed from warp 8, settling in adjustments had to be made to both it’s inertial dampeners and it’s structural integrity field systems, so the process to reach warp 9 ended up being quite a slow one, but eventually, the starship did in fact hit warp factor 9 and was able to maintain this speed for a short duration. Unfortunately though, once again Starfleet technology of the time simply wasn’t up to the task of handling warp factor 9 on a regular basis, and so Starfleet conceded that the Gemini Classes standard cruising speed would be warp factor 6.5, with an emergency speed of warp 8.3, and warp factor 9 to only be used under extreme circumstances.

Still the Gemini Class was considered a success, and the federation’s PR machine would once again go in to over drive touting the Gemini Class as it’s fastest class, meaning member worlds everywhere could be guaranteed protection.  And perhaps thankfully, these claims about the Gemini Class never really had to be put to the test…


During the mid 23rd Century Starfleet command would experiment and redefine its starship designs many times, leading some Starfleet Historians to consider this period one of the most important in Starfleet history.

From scout class single nacelle designs to dreadnought 3 and 4 nacelle designs, Starfleet Command would continue to push it’s Corp of Design engineers to the limit, guaranteeing that Starfleet command and the united federation of Planets would be looked upon as a true galactic power, rather than just being a minuscule organization to be invaded and conquered.

And thanks to this continual push for technological breakthroughs, Starfleet Command and the United Federation of Planets would endure for millennia to come…

Thank you for watching today’s episode of Truth or Myth, what do you think of these 3 Beta Canon designs from the TOS Era of Star Trek?  Did you enjoy my non-canon interpretations of them?  Well leave your comments in the section below and don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel, hitting that little bell icon so you won’t miss a single video we release.

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Thanks again for watching, Live long and prosper…

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