Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) is the name of the Galaxy class Federation starship that is the principal setting of the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the Star Trek fictional universe, during the eight years the ship existed, it was the flagship of the Federation. Throughout its mission, its captain was Jean-Luc Picard, although on certain occasions other people, such as William Riker, commanded the ship. It is one of many ships to carry the name Enterprise.
The Enterprise, the third ship of the Galaxy class, was commissioned in 2363. It was built at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards orbiting Mars. The ship was heavily damaged during the Battle of Wolf 359 in 2367 and subsequently underwent extensive repairs.
In 2371 (Star Trek: Generations), the Klingon Duras sisters were able to render the Enterprise's shields useless by finding the shield modulation. Though the Enterprise succeeded in destroying the sisters' ship, the matter/antimatter reactor's coolant system failed as a result of damage sustained during the battle. The ejection systems — which had been shown previously to be unreliable in the Galaxy class — failed. The saucer section managed to separate, but didn't clear the explosion radius fast enough, and its impulse engines were knocked out as a result. The out of control saucer was pulled into the gravity well of Veridian III , crash-landed on the nearby planet, and was damaged beyond repair. Shortly after, all of its crew (except for Captain Picard) were killed by a shockwave generated by the destruction of the Veridian star.
When Picard entered the Nexus, he also entered an alternate paradoxical universe which he could manipulate at will. Picard chose to go back in time to prevent the events on Veridian III, thus in the alternate universe the surviving Enterprise-D crew was rescued (though the saucer itself was still damaged).
It should be noted that the idea of Picard entering an alternate universe (thereby implying that all events after Veridian III take place in this alternate universe) is purely conjectural, as there have been examples of self-contained timeloops in Star Trek before. Nothing since Generations has ever indicated that an alternate universe was entered.
One of the reasons that the destruction of the Enterprise-D was written into Generations was because the studio had begun to tire of the Enterprise-D. Rick Berman was quoted as feeling that the franchise was ready for a new Enterprise. It is unlikely that the saucer section could be salvaged; even though it appeared to be in one piece after crashing on Veridian III, all of the technical schematics produced by official Trek writers indicate that the saucer would be a total loss after a crash such as this.
In an alternate timeline featured in the TNG finale episode "All Good Things...", the events of Veridian III appear to have never happened, or at least had a different outcome, as the Enterprise-D is shown to be still intact some 25 years after the events of the series, with a third warp nacelle added. In this alternate future, the ship is commanded by Admiral William Riker.
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