USS Excelsior (NCC-2000)

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The USS Excelsior in 2293
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The USS Excelsior in 2293

The USS Excelsior is a starship in the Star Trek fictional universe. The Excelsior was first seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and had a cameo in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The ship appeared once again in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country when it was under the command of Captain Hikaru Sulu in 2293. An episode of Star Trek: Voyager reveals that during the events of this film, then-Ensign Tuvok was serving on the Excelsior, as one of the junior science officers.

The USS Excelsior (NX-2000) was commissioned as a testbed for new technologies by Starfleet Command. One of these technologies, transwarp drive, was seen as a possible revolution in starship design, with the potential to open up the entire galaxy to exploratory missions due to vastly increased speed. However, the drive failed on Excelsior's first mission (the pursuit of the hijacked U.S.S. Enterprise) due to sabotage by Montgomery Scott, who was very briefly appointed chief engineer of the vessel.

When next seen (briefly in Star Trek IV and then more extensively in Star Trek VI), the ship had been recommissioned as NCC-2000, and apparently had been refitted with standard warp engines. There is no canonical reference to the fate of the transwarp program, but given that even 24th century vessels still lacked transwarp, it can be assumed that the experiment was a failure.

The Excelsior class spaceframe proved to be remarkably durable, able to withstand considerable punishment both from the elements and enemy vessels alike. This accounts for the considerable number of vessels remaining in Starfleet, even several decades later into the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Producer Harve Bennett originally intended for the Excelsior to replace the Enterprise after Star Trek III, possibly as a result of complaints by ILM technicians that the Enterprise's model was too unwieldy. The idea did not prove popular however, and the replacement Enterprise was another Constitution class. In Star Trek: Generations, however, a new Enterprise, the NCC-1701-B, was briefly featured, and this was an Excelsior-class vessel.

Trivia

  • In the 1980s, DC Comics published a series of comic book stories said to take place between the events of Star Trek III and Star Trek IV. In this storyline (which, like all Trek comic book stories, is not considered official canon), Admiral James T. Kirk is given temporary command of the Excelsior following the destruction of the Enterprise. In the comic book continuity, he loses this command just prior to the events of Star Trek IV.

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