Canon Facts Backstage Info  Speculation
Planetary Survey Vessel
Unit Run
USS Nova NCC 72381 USS Equinox
plus 16 in service. Construction was suspended during the Dominion war, and is expected to resume shortly.
2369 - 2370. Expected to resume in 2376 or 2377
Length : 165 m
Beam : 62 m
Height : 34 m
Decks : 8
80,000 tons
8 x Type VIII Phaser arrays, total output 6,000 TeraWatts.
2 x Standard photon torpedo tubes + 25 torpedoes
Defence Systems
Shield system, total capacity 688,500 TeraJoules 
Standard Duranium/Tritanium single hull.
Standard level Structural Integrity Field
Warp Speeds
(TNG Scale)
Normal Cruise : Warp Factor 6
Maximum Cruise : Warp Factor 7 
Maximum Rated : Warp Factor 8 for twenty four hours
Strength Indices
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : 120
Torpedo Firepower : 250
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 400
Shield Strength : 255
Hull Armour : 50
Speed : 536
Combat Manoeuvrability : 19,000
Overall Strength Index
Grade 1
Expected Hull Life
120 years
Refit Cycle
Minor : 1 year
Standard : 2 years
Major : 6 years

Notes : The Nova class was designed as a modern replacement for the long serving Oberth class science vessel. The requirement called for a ship capable of making relatively short duration missions; Starfleet intended to use these ships in the large unexplored areas between Federation controlled space, missions which would typically be staged out of Starbases and last for a few months up to a year at most.

The design of the Nova class vessel was based on the Defiant pathfinder ship. This ship was of the right size and employed the latest warp field/hull geometry and propulsion technology. Starfleet replaced the warp core with a far less powerful version, reducing the top speed to Warp 8. Running the same nacelle design at much lower power greatly extended the operating life of the warp coils, reducing the ships refit schedule and making it easier to operate. The heavy weaponry was also removed, creating extra space for sensor arrays and scientific labs.

Originally, the Nova designation was intended to be assigned to the replacement for the Galaxy class Explorers. However, the Galaxy class went into high level production as a battleship in the run up to the Dominion war. After the war, many of these ships continued in service as fully fleshed out Explorers, while others were retired. It quickly became clear that Starfleet would have a ready supply of large space frames on hand for far longer than originally envisaged. Additionally, the entry into service of the Sovereign class introduced a new level of high technology to the fleet. Both factors reduced the need for a galaxy replacement significantly, and so the Nova development project was quietly dropped. With the name now available again, Starfleet chose to assign it to the new science ship.

One of the first group of Nova class vessels - the USS Equinox - vanished shortly after launching. It was thought to have been lost, but was later discovered by Voyager to have been dragged to the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. The Equinox fared rather worse than Voyager in its attempts to get home; with its lower speed the Equinox faced a journey of over a hundred and eighty years in a vessel designed to operate for no more than twelve months between refits. Unfortunately, the crew discovered that the bodies of a trans-dimensional alien species could be processed to produce a powerful form of fuel, greatly increasing the ships top speed. Captain Ransom began capturing and murdering the aliens, in direct violation of both the Prime Directive and Starfleet ethics. The aliens fought back, killing many of the Equinox crew.

When Voyager encountered the Equinox they quickly realised what Ransom had done. Captain Janeway attempted to imprison the crew but they escaped, leaving Voyager under attack by the aliens. The ship survived the attack, and was able to pursue and capture most of the remaining Equinox crew. The aliens attacked the ship again, killing the remaining crew and destroying the ship.

Construction of the Nova class was suspended shortly before the Dominion war in favour of more combat capable vessels. Now that the war is over, construction is likely to be resumed within the next year or so.

Last updated : 30th January 2000.
This page is Copyright Graham Kennedy 1998.

Star Trek et al is Copyright Paramount Pictures 1996/97.
No Copyright  infringement is intended and this page is for personal use only.
All  of the above classes of star ships and all of the
named ships are copyright Paramount 1996/97.