The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) was the first in a long line of famous Federation starship's named Enterprise. Over four decades of service the ship was commanded by several notable captains including Robert April, Christopher Pike, James T. Kirk, and Spock. (Star Trek: The Original Series; Star Trek: The Animated Series; Star Trek: New Voyages; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
Under April's command
Enterprise was launched in 2245 from the San Francisco Fleet Yards in orbit above the Earth. It was the first of 12 Constitution-class vessels and was under the command of Captain Robert April. April's chief medical officer, Sarah (née Poole) April, developed many of the protocols and technology that would be common to starship sickbays a quarter of a century later. (TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident")
The Enterprise's first mission was classified "Top Secret" and was never revealed by Starfleet Command. (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era)
Two years later, Enterprise evacuated the colonists of Ursa II after the colony was threatened by a deadly ion storm. (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era)
In 2248, Enterprise wiped out the "Oxygen Vampires" of the Altair Nebula. Later that year, it rescued the "Midnight Six" from a pocket dimension located close to the Romulan Neutral Zone. (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era)
In 2249, the crew of Enterprise exposed the Signaran conspiracy. (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era)
Under Pike's command
- Some continuities, including that of TOS novel: Final Frontier, have this event taking place in 2251.
In 2254, Enterprise engaged in a number of actions against the Rigellians. (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era) Later that year, the Enterprise responded to a signal from the planet Talos IV. After the discovery of the powerful inhabitants the planet would be quarantined under General Order 7. (TOS: "The Cage")
- In the continuity of Starship Valiant, Captain Pike was ordered to disperse his crew, and to forbid them not to speak of the incident. (Starship Valiant: Cageless)
In the following year, a disastrous survey of Eridios nearly led to the destruction of all space-time. In the aftermath General Order 24 was created. (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era)
In 2257, Enterprise was refitted, which included the replacement of its laser weaponry with more powerful phaser technology. (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era)
- In Orion Press continuity, this upgrade to phaser technology for all Constitution-class ships took place two years later. (Orion Press: Remember the Hood)
In 2258, while visiting the resort asteroid of Cronari the crew discovered a "transdimensional Doomsday cult". (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era)
In 2260, the crew saved the medicinal flora of Beta II from extinction. (Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 4: Starships of the Original Series Era)
Under Kirk's command
Command eventually passed to James T. Kirk in early 2264, after Pike was promoted to fleet captain. (TOS: "The Menagerie", TOS novel: Enterprise: The First Adventure) Kirk became the most highly decorated captain in Starfleet history, and commanded Enterprise during a historic five-year mission. The ship engaged in several historical battles, made over 20 first contacts, and defeated several threats to the existence of the United Federation of Planets. (Star Trek: The Original Series)
After the five-year mission ended in 2270, the ship was placed under the temporary command of Captain Calvin Mercer with a new crew. The ship was sent on a classified operation far beyond explored space, deep outside the Galactic Barrier. (Star Trek: Secret Voyage)
When the ship was returned to Kirk's command she was given a refit type that would be a prototype for the rest of the fleet. This included new warp nacelles and deflector dish. (Star Trek: Phase II)
In the 2270s the ship underwent an 18-month full refit, which drastically upgraded or completely overhauled almost every system. Only the main structure of the saucer and the basic frame of the engineering hull survived the refit, with everything else being completely new. Captain Will Decker -- scion of a Starfleet dynasty -- was slated to take command of Enterprise upon her recommissioning, but the Admiralty was swayed by Kirk's argument that the V'Ger threat was best challenged by someone of Kirk's experience. Kirk then re-took command to deal with the space probe that threatened the existence of Earth. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Under Spock's command
In 2285, Enterprise was being used as a cadet-training vessel when it was dispatched under Kirk's command to check up on the Genesis Project. While on this mission the Enterprise was attacked by the USS Reliant, which had been captured by Khan Noonien Singh. Despite heavy damage to the Enterprise, Kirk's superior training and experience at starship combat saw the ship defeat Reliant and Enterprise was able to limp back to spacedock where it was to be finally decommissioned after 40 years of service. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
Kirk and several of his senior staff then stole Enterprise intending to obtain Spock's body, which had been left on the newly-formed Genesis Planet, and to reunite it with his katra, which was in Dr. McCoy's mind. The damaged and undermanned Enterprise was intercepted by a Klingon Bird-of-Prey out to gain the secrets of the "Genesis weapon". Unable to defeat the Klingon warship or prevent them boarding, Kirk set the auto-destruct and abandoned the ship with his comrades. The auto-destruct ripped apart the ship's saucer, killing the Klingon boarders before the rest of the ship fell into the atmosphere of the Genesis planet and was destroyed. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
In late 2244 and into 2245, Project Starship had four vessels undergoing operational overhauls, repairs, or construction: Constellation, Republic, Constitution, and Enterprise. Each was slightly different than the other and it was not yet clear which would be the production standard for the remaining 10 authorized ships and, consequently, the class ship. Captain Robert April, the project’s final and longest serving manager, took command of USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) on her commissioning day, April 11, 2245, with USS Constitution (NCC-1700) being commissioned mere days later. USS Republic (NCC-1371) and USS Constellation (NCC-1017) would be re-commissioned in May and June respectively; each of the four had “Project Starship” emblazoned in place of a class name on their respective dedication plaques. Ride-along evaluation teams from Project Starship critiqued each vessel during their post-commissioning crew familiarization work-ups, checking or striking off closely-held line items on their PADDs. The ship April had under his command chair measured 288.6 meters long, 127.1 on the beam, and a height of 72.6, massing 679,300 metric tons. She was propelled by PB-31A warp nacelles, armed with six 4.0 GW laser emitters, four 1.2 TW Type L and two 1.4 TW Type M phased particle cannons, and one medium torpedo tube, and defended by a 1-layer conformal forcefield, and 4 navigational deflectors. She carried 1 heavy shuttle, 2-4 light shuttles, 4 shuttlepods, and 4 work pods (along with a variety of special environment and tactical craft) in the aft-located shuttlebay.
Before the end of the year, the production standard decision was made: Enterprise. In a concession to Constitution’s original authorization, the class would take on her name. USS Farragut (NCC-1702), in late 2247, would be the first commissioned Constitution heavy cruiser with the class name on her own dedication plaque.
Following a number of years, USS Enterprise had gone through an extensive upgrade period to achieve full parity with the ten other ships of the Flight II standard.
In 2256, three Constitutions Flight II, including USS Enterprise, were selected to operate as the second variation of the new Bonhomme Richard standard.
- USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) article at Memory Alpha, the canon Star Trek wiki.
- USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) article at Memory Beta, the non-canon Star Trek wiki.
- Jackill's: Starfleet Heavy Cruiser Constitution-Class (2nd Pilot) (1999)
- Star Fleet Starship Recognition Manual: Report #298: Constitution Heavy Cruiser
- Strategic Design: Constitution-Class NX-1700 Starship Prototype (2009)
- USS Enterprise Heavy Cruiser Class Star Trek (TOS): Profile, Cutaway, and Deck Plans (2020)