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The Daedelus Class

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:38 pm
by geon
Recently, the Daedelus class of ship has been mentioned on this forum, specifically at

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2275&p=32120&hilit= ... b2c#p32120

There appears to be some speculation as to where this class of ship actually fits into the scheme of things in the Star Trek universe, and if it is a canon design at all. And what is its relationship with the later Olympic class? (seen in the TNG last episode)?

I’d like to offer some suggestions and comments (as usual try to make some logical sense of it all), and then throw them out there for your dissection and discussion.

So let’s begin.

The problems this class presents are well summarised in an Ex Astris Scientia article, so you are urged to read this first. ... oblems.htm

see also ... ships1.htm

This also saves me having to write these up and keeps this article shorter.

(Coincidently, the article arrives at a length of 140m for the Daedelus, which fits well with my suggested length of 140-150m for the NX class, see my article at
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1648&hilit=nx+class. If Earth is producing some of the first Federation ships, then it stands to reason that their first Federation models would be limited to the largest sized ship they could produce at the time.)

A conjectural history of the type is also available at - I stress, this is conjectural (but then again, what isn’t in a science fiction series??)

If we accept the evidence of models seen in various Star Trek series, then the type evidently existed. The time of its service appears to start in the mid 22nd century (2160’s to 2196), so it is a Federation rather than an Earth ship (unless Earth is still making its own vessels after the Federation is formed).

I think, after reading the articles that the crux of the problem, and the solution, with the Daedelus class ultimately comes down to its classification. What type of ship was it, and what was its main role? I’ve seen it variously labelled as a cruiser and an explorer.

If we classify it as a cruiser, we immediately run into difficulties with the NX class. Thanks to ‘Enterprise’, the NX appears as a much more modern type than the Daedelus. Why replace your current cruiser (NX) with a retro looking and presumably less advanced model? And with features (ie spherical hull) that are abandoned in later cruiser types (ie Constitution, Excelsior, etc). If the cruiser designs follow an evolutionary trend from NX to Sovereign (ie flat primary saucers) then the Daedelus becomes a one off anomaly.

If we classify it as an explorer, then what exactly does an explorer do, and when did the classification come into effect? If the function is simply to explore new areas, then any ship class can ultimately do the job if it has to. If an explorer is supposed to be a well armed state of the art vessel designed to investigate distant dangerous unchartered areas and come back in one piece, then again the Daedelus class fails to have the necessary requirements since it neither the most advanced class (as compared with the NX), nor do we have any idea if it has greater range (though judging by the style of nacelle which is the same type as the early Constitution Enterprise in the Star Trek pilot episode this may or may not be the case). And thanks to ‘Enterprise’ with its ‘photonic’ torpedoes and ‘phase’ cannons, I doubt if it is better armed.

Also, given the time period the type appears in (2160’s – the formation of the Federation), is there any need for a dedicated explorer type? After the Romulan War, wouldn’t the main emphasis be on reconstruction, consolidation and ironing out the political problems involved with the merging of various diverse alien governments? Thanks to the new members of the Federation the immediate space in this part of the galaxy would already be well known. The limitations of the then state of the art engine designs (warp 5) would also limit any long range voyages of discovery.

The term ‘explorer’, seems to be pretty broadly defined. Even the Constitution class in TOS was never termed as an explorer class, but as a ‘starship’.

Memory Alpha cites some examples of ‘explorer’ type ships, including the NX class, but all these seem to refer to a ship’s function rather than an actual designated class type. As already stated, any ship can explore. In the article, the actual explorer designation specifically referred to the Galaxy class.

So where does this leave us with the Daedelus?

It doesn’t make sense as a cruiser, since the similarly sized NX adequately fulfils this role (and I know of no period when the Federation fleet had two similarly sized vessels fulfilling the same fleet role). It also comes up short as an explorer, since all the current ship types can fulfil this function, and there is no reason to have a dedicated ‘explorer’ class at this time.

Some would see it as smaller than an NX, and fulfilling a destroyer type role, to the NX cruiser. But the Intrepid class of ships already fill this role in the Earth fleet, and surely it would be more convenient and cost effective to upgrade these when required rather than build a brand new destroyer type like the Daedelus.

Can what we know of the on screen Daedelus missions tell us anything?

Three episodes are said to be specifically associated with the Daedelus class;
TNG Power Play, TOS The Return of The Archons and TOS A Piece Of The Action. But after examining all three, there is absolutely no clear indication as to the type of ship involved.

In TNG Power Play, the Essex, specifically stated as being a Daedelus class vessel, was destroyed by electro magnetic radiation from an M class moon of Ma-bu Six. Since this moon is classed as unexplored in Next Generation times, one might think that it was at the edge of known space in the 23rd century, and therefore would justify an ‘explorer’ label for the Daedelus. But Ma-bu can just as easily be located in known space, and the moon has stayed unexplored for nearly 200 years because the EM storms make it so dangerous. The Daedelus class Essex happened to be caught in the storms at the time, and was destroyed. It could happen to any ship class. So ‘Power Play’ is of no help in identifying the Daedelus ship type. (But we do learn that a Daedelus complement is 229.)

The Return Of The Archons is also problematic. The Archon is never specifically referred to as a Daedelus,

Let’s turn to TOS ‘A Piece Of The Action’

The Daedelus connection with the Horizon in this episode is based on a model seen in Sisko’s ready room, but this may be debatable. ... ships1.htm. We don’t know if this Horizon model is the one mentioned in the episode.

The following dialogue occurs in the episode.

KIRK: Yes. Unfortunately, the Horizon was lost with all hands shortly after leaving your planet. We only received her radio report last month.
OXMYX [OC]: Last month? What are you talking about? The Horizon left here a hundred years ago.
KIRK: Difficult to explain. We received a report a hundred years late because it was sent by conventional radio. Your system is on the outer reaches of the galaxy. They didn't have subspace communication in those days.

KIRK: The Horizon's contact came before the Non-Interference Directive went into effect.
MCCOY: They must have interfered with the normal evolution of the planet.
SPOCK: It will be interesting to see the results of the contamination

If we assume that this Horizon is a Daedelus class ship, what can we learn here?
Firstly, there is no indication in the episode just what the Horizon’s mission was, so we can’t work out what type of ship it is. One might argue that the term ‘on the outer reaches of the galaxy’ might indicate a great distance from the Federation and hence an explorer class ship, except that Earth is also on the outer reaches of the galaxy (on a spiral arm) and in any case a ship of one hundred years ago is not going to go very far from its bases. Since the cultural contamination was an accident, it also cannot give us any clues as to the ship’s mission.

So, once again, we are at a dead end.

What of the connection between the Daedelus and Olympic classes? As Bernd Schneider in Ex Astris Scientia has stated …
“there is no good reason to assume that the explorer of the Daedalus class and the 200 years younger hospital ship of the Olympic class should be in any way related just because they both have a globular main hull.” ... oblems.htm

That is very true. There is currently no on screen connection between the two at all. But I would argue that precisely because these are the ONLY two ships in the whole franchise which have round primary hulls, some relationship between the two exists.

Let’s go back to the time period of the Daedelus’s appearance (2160’s). We have already discounted a cruiser or explorer role for the type. What other new class of ship would be required? Earth had suffered the earlier Xinti attack, and has been decimated by the recent Romulan War. The Federation is being formed. The main emphasis would be on recovery. Casualties need to be treated and infrastructure rebuilt, not just for Earth, but for their newly formed Federation partners. A dedicated medical vessel would seem like a desperately needed addition to the fleet.

“Enterprise” has shown, thanks to their Denobulan doctor, that an Earth ship can successfully treat alien patients. Might a new Earth built medical ship, the Daedelus class, cement the Earth’s position in the new Federation by healing the wounds of the other member worlds? Perhaps the Denobulans had a hand in its development and construction. Who knows, maybe Phlox was the Daedelus’s first capatain! The Round primary hull might provide more rooms for beds and laboratories, a feature inherited by the Olympic. Maybe the Horizon in TOS ‘A Piece Of The Action’ was on some medical mission.

If we accept the working hypothesis that the Daedelus class is a medical vessel, what are the implications? Firstly, that there is a whole unseen lineage of this type of ship stretching from the beginnings of the Federation (Daedelus) to the 24th Century (Olympic).

Secondly, in BOTF game terms, it gives the Federation a new tool for not only recovering quickly, but for enticing new members into its ranks. You no longer have to wait till the TMP era to speedily rebuild/remake your planetary systems with a Genesis torpedo. You now have hospital/medical ships that can start immediate treatment.

And as for the diplomatic side of things, using a hospital ship to cure a plague on a minor’s planet may be the equivalent of a few thousand credit bribe. Medical ships not only provide resiliency in the face of attack, but diplomatic benefits.

Well, those are my thoughts on the matter. Let the discussion begin!!!!!!!!

Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:27 pm
by Peter1981
I feel that the intrepid is not a deep space destroyer starship, iirc one of the extras on the entrerprise DVD's implies that the ships shown defending earth including the intrepid were local defence craft (while I accept they would have limited warp drive) it is unlikely the would have the range to reach romulus and wage war. IMHO the deadalus was a new federation class of starship constructed by earth (maybe the first at the San Fransisco Yard); It role was a long range deep space escort-destroyer. The sperical primary hull being the cheap optimum capacity structure for crew quarters, rec room et al, and the cylindrical secondary hull for storage of a large supply of duterium fuel a new improved warp 5 engine (perhaps incorperating federation ally technologies)

this leads me to believe the first deadalus was a testbed prototype which incoperated alian allies technology, and that it was successful, and when the romulan war came along it was upgraded for a military roll in that, but it's large secondary hull may have been easily reconfigured internally to supply colony equiptment and colonists to new worlds.

IMHO the deadalus is at the very least a clear generation beyond the ENTERPRISE.


Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:34 pm
by geon
Hi Peter1981,

Thank you for your input.

I don’t have the Enterprise DVD’s so I can’t comment on their extras, but I think that none of the early Earth ships (ie NX, Intrepid etc) would have been deep space capable precisely because of the limitations of their early engines which you have commented on. Local defence craft can include destroyer class vessels so I don’t have a problem seeing the Intrepid as a destroyer. As to not being able to reach Romulus, aren’t Romulus, the Klingon homeworld and Earth fairly close together? The NX had no trouble reaching the Klingon homeworld in the first episode of ‘Enterprise’, and I don’t think Romulus is that much further away. So all would be in range of the current earth fleet.

As to the Daedelus being a new deep space destroyer, I stand by my reasoning that at this point in time there was no incentive or need for long range ships, and that the destroyer role was already filled. As to the type incorporating alien technology, I can see no outward sign of alien design features – the craft seems pure Earth/Federation. Perhaps internal improvements, but at this early stage in the formation of the Federation I doubt any alien government would be giving its best military technology away (especially to former enemies – think Andorians and Tellerites).

If the Daedelus was a successful test bed for new technology, why weren’t its features incorporated into later ship classes? The spherical primary hull is not seen in any later military types, but does appear in a much later medical vessel.

As to the type being a generation beyond Enterprise, I guess it comes down to a matter of individual perspective. When placed beside an NX and later Constitution, a Daedelus with its round primary hull and tube like secondary hull, just looks more primitive to me. I can visualise a closer connection between the NX and Constitution, than between the Daedelus and Constitution.

If you were to add a secondary hull onto an NX, you get a near perfect Constitution forerunner.

But you are not certainly alone in seeing the Daedelus as being more advanced than an NX. Practically all the other sites I’ve visited follow this thinking. I think it’s an attempt to incorporate the previous Daedelus literature (before Enterprise came out), with the new ‘Enterprise’ material. Perhaps the Daedelus will make an appearance in a future Star Trek series and its status finally settled.

Until then, no one is right or wrong. I’m just offering another possibility for the type.



Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:39 pm
by eber3
I pretty much agree with Peter. We know the NX Enterprise was the first ship with a warp 5 engine, and the cargo ships (I believe) only had warp 3 engines. I think warp 3 was the old limit, and the Intrepid and the other ships defending Earth were slower warp 3 ships. Probably used for planetary defense, short range scouts and perhaps escort duty for the cargo ships and colony craft. They may very well have been refit later on with warp 5 engines and participated in the Romulan war, but still the Daedalus class looks 'newer' than any of them.

Despite the fact some feel the NX looks more advanced than the Connie, we do know the Connie was more advanced. Since the Daedalus looks closer to the Connie in design and construction, it's safe to say it's a newer design then the NX. As far as the spherical primary hull, I could see all that extra space being configurable for different uses, like a hospital ship, extra space to transport colonists, etc. So I could see some being used as hospital ships, while others could be used to carry colonists or ground troops, maybe even some used as Corps of Engineer ships like this class is used for in the Vanguard books. That said, it's possible that that type of primary hull was particularly useful in the hospital configuration, which could be the connection to the Olympic class.

So in short, I'd definitely say the Daedalus is newer than the NX. I'd theorize that the Daedalus was an 'all around' type vessel that could be used for different functions and not be classified only as a cruiser, explorer, hospital ship etc but fulfill multiple roles depending on what was needed and how the extra space was configured. And finally I can image that the Olympic has a spherical hull because the Daedalus's shape was particularly useful in that role.

Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:33 pm
by geon
Hi eber3,

Yes, the Akira looking NX has caused all sorts of problems. Please see the following ... omment.htm

for a discussion of the problem.

I’m not sure if the Intrepid is just warp 3 capable. I don’t think the speed is stated in the series, but looking at the design, its warp engines seem similar to the NX’s (with the addition of fins). I also don’t think it was stated whether it was an earlier of later design than the NX. If an earlier design, it shouldn’t be difficult to upgrade to the latest engine types. If a later design the warp 5 engines would be built into the ship.

See ... _ships.htm
for a brief description of the type.

The idea of the Daedelus as being a multi task capable ship is certainly another possibility for the type. That would explain various features like the spherical hull, being incorporated into later designs. But the ‘Jack Of all Trade’ ship concept would seem to have been a failure, judging by the later specialised types in the Federation fleet (eg Oberths for research, Galaxy’s for exploration, Constitutions for cruisers, Intrepids for long range recons etc).

But the question will not definitely be answered until the Romulan War is put on screen. If Daedelus’s are in the front line and are the main Earth warship (as befitting the latest design), then yes, your idea is right on.

If the Earth fights with NX’s, Intrepids etc, then the position of the Daedelus class will need to be reinterpreted.

Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:11 pm
by eber3
geon wrote: I’m not sure if the Intrepid is just warp 3 capable. I don’t think the speed is stated in the series...
No it didn't say, but we know the NX Enterprise was the first warp 5 Earth vessel. We also know they were building the next NX class ship during the series. Could they have also been building other classes with the warp 5 engine at the same time? Yes, but it's more likely the ships seen, like the Intrepid, were existing ships from before the NX meaning they would be warp 3 ships.
geon wrote: If the Earth fights with NX’s, Intrepids etc, then the position of the Daedelus class will need to be reinterpreted.
Well not really, because even if the Daedalus is the newer design to replace the NX, you'd still expect to see the older ships in service especially during a war. Just like after they stopped building Galaxy class ships and started building Sovereigns, Akira's, etc the existing Galaxies still took part in the Dominion war. For that matter we saw old Klingon D7's apparently pulled out of mothballs and used to attack DS9 during the brief Fed/Klingon war.

EDIT: Sorry, I missed this line from you
If Daedelus’s are in the front line and are the main Earth warship (as befitting the latest design), then yes, your idea is right on.
You are correct, if it's the newest class when the war starts then we would see it in action. Even if there is only one made, you'd expect it to be leading the fleet. However, do we know that it was made prior to or even during the Romulan war? Maybe it was the class right after the war ended used to replace all the destroyed ships. That could even help explain my proposed muti-use scenario if it was intended as a way to quickly replace multiple classes lost during battle.

Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:00 pm
by geon
Interesting thoughts eber3.

Yes, it is possible that the Intrepids were built earlier. But against that idea is the absence of this type in the opening credits of 'Enterprise', where previous earth ships were displayed (unless not all early models were shown). And why have a phoenix looking testbed for the warp 5 engine, if a modified intrepid would have greater chances of success by withstanding the speeds better (being a bigger ship) and being more like the proposed NX configuration?

Yes, NX's and Intrepids would still be involved in the Romulan War, having just recently been built. The Dominion example is quite appropriate. The crux of the matter will be if the Daedelus is shown at all.

Will the future writers finally explain the Daedelus, or will they create more continuity problems as they have in the past? Judging by recent efforts I won't hold my breath.


Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:24 pm
by eber3
geon wrote: Will the future writers finally explain the Daedelus, or will they create more continuity problems as they have in the past? Judging by recent efforts I won't hold my breath.
Niether will I. Especially since I doubt we'll ever see real Trek again. At this point I don't see it coming back to tv for years, and if it does the odds are it will be based off of Jar Jar Abrams garbage. And we already know all the movies are going to be. And whatever they do in that parody farce of real Trek has no bearing on the real canon.

Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:28 am
by geon
I quite agree. The franchise at the moment is in dire staights. At least there are people out there who keep the spirit of real Star Trek alive, and who value continuity in their science fiction. The movies would be so much better if they listened to what the fans are saying.

Hell, if the money was available, anyone on this forum could do better movies than the latest offering.

Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:23 am
by Army37
It's funny because in one the early Enterprise pocket books, Trip Tucker was telling Jonathan Archer that he used to work with another engineer that created Ion engines for the Daedalus class. And it was like 10 to 15 years prior to the launch of the NX Enterprise. Of course that Daedalus class ship has been presumed to have been destroyed because Ion tech was unstable...or something like that.

We do know that the Daedalus has been in service for over a 100 years...some say that it was an Earth ship created before the NX and others say that it has been created after the NX and during the formation of the Coalition of Planets....the truth must be between those 2 points in time.

The Daedalus may have been created as an Earth ship , the prototype being equipped with Ion engines at first. And just like the Excelsior's doomed transwarp capabilities, it was benched and had to be reworked on and adapted for Warp drive nacelles.

The Daedalus as we know it for the Romulan Wars, can be a refit of the original design just like the Constitution had been refitted after it's second 5 years mission.

Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:30 pm
by geon
Hi army37,

I'd be pretty wary about following the novels. While they may have some good stories, all too often they end up being contradicted by what is later seen on screen.

What clinches it for me that the Daedelus is a later design than the NX (despite looking more 'primitive') is the secondary hull.

The early Earth ships like the NX and Intrepid have primary hulls with attaching braces for the nacelles.

Then the Daedelus is produced with a primary and seconday hull. This sets the pattern for all future Federation vessels.

Whether it's a dedicated medical/recovery ship, as I have suggested, or a multipurpose vessel as suggested by eber3, doesn't alter the notiion that it sets the body plan for all later Federation ships (It's status will hopefully be settled by a later onscreen appearance.)

You then have a choice of two development models.

If a dedicated medical ship, you have the follow on from the NX incorporating the secondary hull, and becoming the precursor of the Constitution. The Daedelus type continues to develop as a class all its own, leading to as yet unseen hospital types culminating in the Olympic class, while the Constitution is followed by the Excelsior, Ambassador etc.

If a general purpose vessel, then the Daedelus gradually replaces the NX, then is replaced by a follow on incorporating a secondary hull, which becomes the precursor of the Constitution. The Daedelus disappears, but certain of its features (ie spherical primary hull) are incorporated into later medical vessels (ie Olympic)

Re: The Daedelus Class

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:50 pm
by Mumby
I view it as earth's first warp 7 ship and served arole similar to the Galaxy Class 200 years before it... I'd be willing to bet it was the first federation ship with a large medical bay...