About my starships


Take note; like with artists and designers, models and replicas, there’s a very important difference between study and research!

A person can research something until the monarch butterflies fly home, and not learn any more than what other people already know. But to study, that’s different. Anyone in the world can study something, and if they study it enough, they can become the world's foremost expert on that thing that was studied, knowing more about it than anyone else in the world—regardless of what their level of education might be. This is what has happened to me, having been studying the Star Trek Starship since Star Trek was new on television. I have also studied vehicles, learning about progressions:

When some sort of thing or device is first made, that is the first progression of that thing. Then at some later date, if that same thing is made again, but made to be a newer version of it, then that is the second progression. And so on. It is easiest to see progressions with Mercedes–Benz cars – the inventors of the motor car. Their cars are more logical than other cars. But unfortunately, they made a mess of their nomenclature system, giving the same car different names, and different cars the same name, making it difficult to identify one car from another. What a mess they made! Sort of like the Star Trek People naming almost all their ships Enterprise.

I find this whole progressions thing fascinating. It fascinates me the way the shape of a thing can be changed, but continue to be recognizable as the same thing, but at the same time, it’s different!

The beginning of this with me with the Star Trek Starship came one day in 1976, I was watching that horrible Star Trek cartoon that they did. But then something went across in front of me for only about three seconds that caught my interest. I think it was meant to be the previous progression to the Star Trek Starship. I recognized it instantly!

That was a revelation to me, I’d never thought about the Starship in this way! Suddenly, there were all sorts of possibilities! So I began thinking on it. After a long time, I have estimated that there could be around 40 progressions of the Star Trek Starship, from the first starship ever built to the last! And also that the Star Trek Starship's progression, would be somewhere in the middle – certainly not the first, but somewhere in the middle. And I kept thinking about that number – “NCC – 1701.” So, many years ago now, I decided, along with “NCC” standing for Starship Class, I decided that the 17 could be the progression number. This would mean that there should be 16 starship progressions (designs), ahead of the Star Trek Starship – starships of the “past.”

But no one was designing them! And that one that I saw in 1976, if it was meant to be the previous progression, would be the 16th progression, and so therefore it's nomenclature should have been; NCC-16-something. I was able to find it on the Internet not long ago, but I found that it’s a crappy design – best to be forgotten.

And what I also found, was the same exact thing that I have been thinking for many years! I found Matt’s sketch that shows that the “17” IS a progression number! And I knew the “01” would be a serial number. So from my study, I “knew” all of this many years sooner than I saw any confirmation of it. So what I would like to know, is how did Matt pick 17 for the progression? How could he have done that, when the first starship ever build would be 16 progressions away! Because he probably had no idea what design that would be. (And it seems neither does anyone else!)

What if a person could be found who could design things, but has never seen a motor car. And he is shown one from the 1960s (because the Star Trek Starship is of the 1960s), and he is told to use this car as his guide, without having seen any other cars, and to design all the previous cars leading up to this one, and every car after this one—into the future.

This is the job I’ve given myself with designing starships, except designing only the outside, and they don’t need to function. So I am trying to design all the starships, from “the first starship ever built”, to “the last starship ever built.” A huge task! It is such a huge task, I don't know if I can accomplish it in my lifetime, for I am not an artist doing starship designs , I am a designer!

But with progressions, one must be very strict. For example with the Starship “A” of the movies, it is not a proper next progression of the Star Trek Starship. There’s basically two problems with it for it to be the 18th progression: Aside from the idea that it is the 17th progression rebuilt, which is totally absurd (because it would be easier and make more sense to build a new starship, than to change an existing one that much). 1: There was no real innovation of change with the design, and 2: The engine nacelles were changed too much.

This doesn’t work for progressions; for something to be changed not enough, or too much. Besides, if it’s supposed to be the next progression, they should have put 18 on it instead of 17!

And the “B” Starship; Aside from the horrible boat-like design, is too much larger to be a progression. Again, this doesn’t work for progressions. If the size changes at all, it should be smaller, not larger, this is the trend in the real world. Devices tend to be somewhat large at first, or some near the beginning of something that is new. Then at some point, to be made smaller and smaller and smaller, as man learns to put more into a smaller space. This has been happening with cars, clocks, phones, computers… For if The Star Trek Starship is the 17th progression, then it would be the equivalent of a 1960's car, so it's not like starships would be anything new, they would have been around for probably hundreds of years. But the Star Trek People have been making their starships larger and larger. Where will the madness end?

And then with the “Next Generation Starship”; the “D”, they made the primary hull wider than it is long. One should ask oneself; where is this trend going, the primary hull getting wider and wider? There’s no future for it. This sort of thing doesn’t work for progressions.

And then with the “E”, they did a total reversal – making the primary hull longer than it is wide. This again is a no–no. These sorts of changes from one to the next, are not only nonsensical, but also nonsequitur.

Change it too much, or in the wrong way, and progressions do not apply. Progressions apply only if everything remains basically the same.

If you are designing according to progressions; if you come up with a starship design, you should ask yourself; WHERE HAS MY DESIGN BEEN "IN THE PAST", HOW DID IT START, AND WHERE IS IT GOING, AND TO WHAT MIGHT IT END? I don’t think any of those artists designing a starship ever ask themselves any such thing. I, for one, have put much thought into it. And I am also using Nude Point theory.

So to take the Star Trek Starship design, and to properly redesign it, takes a lot of work! And a lot of study. And if you are doing anything like a progression of it, remember, I say that “NCC” stands for Starship Class, and therefore, and this part it seems is what most people don’t get – all starships are the same – there’s no other classes of starships – they are all the class of starship! Any other type of ship would be a different class, and therefore not a starship! Unless it’s a special starship. The word "class", comes from the word classification, which means to put things into categories according to same types of things according to what they were designed for.

So all Starships should all have a number starting with “NCC”. This number identifies the class, or type of ship. Then the next number is the progression number; 1 through whatever. Then the last two numbers is the serial number – the duplication, or “production run” for each starship design, of the progression.

I’ve decided that there should be no more than 14 of each design. So the 14th of the 17th progression should read as 1714, which, by the way in my book, is the starship Lexington. Simple! So there’s no need to have any more than four numbers (plus the NCC). And so there should be no more than four numbers, and no numbers ending with 2 zeros! For example, there's no NCC-1700. A zero, is no ship, but this number can be used to represent all the ships in a fleet. And no need to add any more numbers to it than these. Unless it’s a sub ship; like with the shuttlecraft – such as “NCC-1701/7”, for the Galileo. Which indicates by the way, that there are at least 7 shuttlecrafts – “1” through “7”. So a shuttlecraft would have on it it’s “parent” starship nomenclature, plus something more. So if a shuttlecraft is found, the nomenclature number can identify which starship it came from.

This is the way I see it – there are no classes of starships, they are all one class!

And if there are around 40 progressions – that’s a lot of designs! Designs that only I am doing. And a lot of fictional years these designs would span – hundreds of fictional years.

With the oldest car “company” in the world (starting in 1886) Daimler-Benz; THE MERCEDES–BENZ SMALL SEDAN is up to the 11th or 12th progression, and this spans 85 years. They started this car in 1931. Mercedes-Benz progressions go for about seven years. Starship progressions, if they were real ships, would go much longer, I would say at least 4 times longer.

The Star Trek Starship was designed in 1964. Coincidentally, something else was designed that year, which in my view, is the closest thing we have to a real starship; the SR–71 blackbird.

                                                       The SR-71 Blackbird

For now, we have no real functional starship to use as an example, indeed, nothing like it. And in my view, we will never have them. But I think the SR–71 is the closest thing we have to what a starship would be like. And both the Star Trek Starship and the SR–71 coincidentally being intended for extreme speed.

But so far with the SR-71, there has been only one progression of it. And then it has been retired.

When doing a starship design, or any space ship design, how does one decide which progression it might be? One thing that is very important about using progression numbers, is that the thing must be properly identified. Otherwise there can be no progression number. In other words, if one is talking about two or more things, although different, THEY MUST BE BASICALLY THE SAME THING in order to be progressions of each other, as well as knowing which is the first, the second, the third, and so on...

So first, the thing must be identified. One way to identify something is by random number, or a random code system. Another way is by a name for it. Another way is to describe it. It’s best to use a name, or a nomenclature. But if that’s not known, then one can use a descriptive list in order to identify things, and to figure out a thing's progression, one must analyze it so that one can compare it to other things. To give you an idea of the amount of work I've put into this, here is my “Descriptive List System” to identify all cars and trucks that roll on wheels: it identifies one particular type of car and it’s progression number:





                                                                                                  DESCRIPTIVE LIST.


MAKE:                                                      DAIMLER-BENZ




MOTOR LOCATION:                                 FRONT

SIZE:                                                          SMALL


FENDER METHOD:                                   MERGING


DOORS TYPE:                                           LATERAL SWING-OUT

REAR CAB ACCESS:                                NONE

DOORS AMOUNT RANKED:                    TWO/TWO

SEATS AMOUNT RANKED:                      TWO/TWO

WINDOW PANELS LONG:                        TWO POINT ZERO

TOP TYPE:                                                 PERMANENT CLOSED

WHEEL STEERING:                                   FRONT

WHEEL DRIVE:                                          REAR


RUDDERS AMOUNT:                                 TWO

PROPELLERS AMOUNT:                          TWO

PROGRESSION:                                        FOURTH

So there you have it; one particular car identified, if not shown exactly what it is. For that you refer to the photo...


For anyone interested, some additional information:

Name: Mercedes-Benz 180

or 180D

or 190

or 180a

or 190D

or 180b

or 180Db

or 190b

or 190Db

or 180c

or 180Dc

or 190c

or 190Dc

Type of Motor:  Conventional four pistons ranked, water cooled;

gasoline burner: (PETROL) 180, 190. 

Oil burner: (DIESEL) 180D, 190D

Motor Cylinder Displacement volume in centiliters:

For "180", "180D", "180b", "180Db" - - - - - - - is 180.

For "180a", "180c" - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - - - -  is 189.

For "190", "190D", "190b", "190Db", "190c" -  is 190.

For "180Dc", "190Dc" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - is 199.

Weight in pounds: 2,530 - 180


52 - 180

40 - 180D

75 - 190

65 - 180a

50 - 190D, 190Db

68 - 180b, 180c

43 - (180D from 1955), 180Db

80 - 190b, 190c

48 - 180Dc

55 - 190Dc

Maximum speed in miles per hour:

68 - 180D

78 - 190Dc

Cruising speed* in miles per hour:

68 - 180D

78 - 190Dc


Notations: The first “full envelope” Mercedes-Benz. *”Cruising speed” is the speed at which a vehicle can maintain indefinitely. This Daimler-Benz Mercedes-Benz 180, is my second favorite motor car. And the Guinness book of world records has cited a 180D as being the worlds most durable motor car, and at last report its mileage was - 1,184,880 miles.

Copyright © Gary Stevens 2021

Zero to sixty miles per hour in seconds: 29.9 - 180

Drag coefficient:

Miles per gallon:

27 - 180

40 - 180D

Power to weight ratio in pounds per horsepower: 48.653846 - 180

Production era: 1953 to 1962

So, according to Matt (and me), The Star Trek Starship IS the 17th progression. Hence the "17" in the 1701. Most people do not know this, mainly because The Star Trek People have totally ignored Matt's system, and perhaps you will never care, but for me, I am not ignoring it. The Star Trek People don't care anything about what Matt did or decided on, they chucked it out the window. All they care about is making money, that's the main reason why they do any Star Trek show. They don't care if it is wrong or doesn't make sense or it's not staying in line with what was previously done, all they care about is making a show that will make them money. And that's also why they have not made a full size replica of a starship somewhere on earth for people all over the world to come and take a tour though. Wouldn't you like to see a full size replica of The Enterprise and walk through it's corridors and visit the bridge? The Star Trek People will never let it happen. It all comes down to money; whether or not it will make them money: Which also shows their lack of faith in the importance of Star trek and their thinking that Star Trek has no importance other than making money for them. That's the only reason they go on with it and is the reason they make the decisions that they do.

Now lets do some simple calculations: According to Matt, the "17" in "1701" is the progression number, which means that there are 16 progressions ahead of a ship that has this number. Now a starship, if it was a real space ship -- and being produced like cars or airplanes are produced, would be made to be used for a certain amount of years until it was replaced with a newer ship. Now car manufactures can get away with coming out with a new car every 3 years. They don't do this with airplanes (every so and so years) for obvious reasons - airplanes are not like cars, people don't go out and buy an airplane the way they buy a car, and space ships would not be like cars either. Airplanes are made to last much longer mainly for safety reasons... and so space ships would be about the same. So let's say that a starship would be designed to be used for 30 years (not that it would break down after that). So let's say that would be 30 years x 16 progressions. That would equal 480 years of production runs of starships ahead of the starship with the number 1701: The Enterprise. And let's say the fictional Enterprise was made in the year 2245, that would mean that the first starship build would have been build in the year 1765! So the Star Trek People have definitely not been thinking these things through, and it seems no one else has been either! Furthermore, In a situation like this, in which there have been fleets of different progressions of starships for a long time, there's not going to be only one fleet of starships. There would be other older progressions of ships around, being used one way or another, or they could continue to be in use, and let's say there's 14 ships to most fleets. And there's another point to bring up; in watching Star Trek (1966 - 1969), the show would have us believe that the Enterprise that we see was the first starship, for there's no previous progressions of starships mentioned, and yet there was at least 12 starships in the fleet according to these first Star Trek people - the ones making the show. But that doesn't ring true according to reality; chances are, that with the first starship ever made, there would be only one, because it would be a very new thing; like the first car built, there was only one, and not a fleet of them. So to have 12 or more in a fleet, suggests that fleets of starships have been around for awhile. So there would be more than 14 starships in use, but not all would be the same progression. And what would be done with all those older ships, starships that would be too old to be used as a starship? Use them as a battleship? An odd thing I've been noticing more and more; that it seems like starships are being used more and more as battleships. A STARSHIP IS NOT A BATTLESHIP, it was not designed to be used as a battleship, that's what battleships are designed for. A starship is not a good ship to go into battle with: A starship has three main parts, and one of those parts is the primary hull, where the crew live, probably hundreds of people, and many of them have nothing to do with going into battle, and most of them are not fighting soldiers, so there's no need for them to be there, neither is there a need for the primary hull in which they live, if the starship is going to be used as a battleship. And so if the starship gets destroyed, there's a lot people who will die, who took no part in the battle. But there's the escape pods you say? Who in their sane mind would design and build a bunch of special escape pods for all those hundreds of people in a starship? To be lugging around all that extra mass that might never be used, no wonder they are making starships larger and larger. Let's compare this to a real sky bus, such as the 747 airplane; Now if escape pods were to be designed into this airplane, it would be rather silly wouldn't it? It would need to be much larger, more mass, more power, more fuel, and cost more to ride in, all for something that might never happen. Unless you were going to take the airplane into battle... Only adding parachutes for everyone who might be in the plane, would make the plane larger...and who would know how to use a parachute? If the plane is going to crash, which is very rare, most likely there's no escape anyway. With a starship, one would not want to risk all those people, using it as a battleship. And besides, the primary hull of a starship is a sort of an escape pod; it's a "lifeboat", to save the crew if a disaster were to happen. But being so large and way out front, is not a good place for it -- to go into battle... The best sort of battleship would be the max amount of power, max amount of weapons, the smallest amount of crew, in the smallest size. Seems to me, that if they want to keep going into battle, they should make a lot of battleships!

Now what about this "Constitution Class" starship nonsense? No one has thought this through either: The "01" in the "1701" identification number means that it is the first starship of it's group produced; the Flagship of the fleet. The Enterprise has this number, not the U. S. S. Constitution. The Constitution has a later number, so why would the Enterprise be named after a later ship? It makes no sense. No surprise to me. There's no logical order in Star Trek. And by the way, in my book the Constitution's number is 1710.

And all the classes there are now, and more and more classes. After a long enough time, no one is going to be able to keep track of all these classes, it's a mess now! And the numbers these guys put to their ships, where do they get these numbers?! They might as well use the hour, day, and month number of when they created the design. What difference would it make, their numbers don't tell us anything anyway? Matt had a system, and a good one. At least "1701" tells us what progression it is and more. Except that they've messed that all up now...

And they seem to call any ship, a "starship". There should be some order. There could be many different types of ships. I think only a starship should be called a starship, and should be identified with the letters "NCC", and that other types of ships, such as a battleship would have a different set of letters to identify it as a battleship, and so on. Then the ship nomenclatures would really start to mean something. And with the numbers, I don't see any need for any more than 14 ships to a fleet, especially with some older progressions of starships continuing to be in use. So the last ship of the 17th progression would have the nomenclature; NCC-1714, and that's as high as the number would go. The only way that I can think of that could put the number higher, would be, let's say a ship (or more than one) of the new fleet of ships got destroyed, and they wanted to build a replacement ship, and wanted to keep the same name, then they could keep the same name, but use the nomenclature NCC-1715, and so on. It would continue to have the Enterprise or whatever name, but it's nomenclature would show that it was a replacement ship. But the number would not go high, like seen on many ships.

Why are the Star Trek People so obsessed with the name Enterprise? Again it all comes down to money. They are afraid that if they went with another name, the fans might not like it as much, and so they wouldn't be getting as much money. If asked, they would probably say that the Fans want that name, and even Gene himself was not willing to go with a different name later on with a different ship. But I point out that in the beginning, Gene's starship was the Yorktown, and so it would have been the Yorktown name that the fans would have been crazy about,  and so they would go - Enterprise, what's that? But it was changed to Enterprise, and so they grow up to love the name Enterprise, and so that's the name they want. But there are many great names for starships, and by the way, in my book the Yorktown has the nomenclature NCC- 1702.

So if one is designing starships according to progressions, how would one go about it?

For me, it's all about cars, because these are a good example. But first you must adhere to the rules for progressions as talked about in my previous sections: So if you have the basic components for the starship in order to proceed to do other progressions of it, then it comes down to a matter of what will the shapes of each part be?

So this is a sort of dissection; The Star Trek Starship is made of a number of parts, some large, and many smaller, and cars are the same.

In the beginning of cars, they had almost nothing of what they have now: They had no rubber tires, no tops to keep the weather out, no bumpers, no headlights to see at night, no ignition key - anyone could hop in and take off with your car, no electric starter motor - you had to get out and crank it yourself - which sometimes broke your arm, and no steering wheel, as well as a lot of other things.

So they were very different than the way they are now, of course, but certain things have not changed with cars after the first Mercedes in 1901.

                             Replica of the first Mercedes (not Mercedes-Benz)

In 1901, Daimler, made the first car named Mercedes, and it was the first modern car. It had the radiator put out in front of the motor (not that it was the first), and the world of car makers followed in behind except for Renault. And it stayed this way for many years, until all the makes had thrown away the radiator shape at the front of the car except for Daimler-Benz and Rolls-Royce. (Then some years later, many of the makes started returning to it to some degree.)

Through the years, many things were added, and the design and the shape of the car were gradually changed. In the beginning, wheels were very large in diameter and very narrow. And the fenders, when they had them, were very tiny and narrow. After the first Mercedes, cars were given the same size wheels, front and rear, and cars were made lower and longer (like the Mercedes), and the fenders were made larger and larger, and more and more rounded, along with other parts of the car.

By the late twenties, as seen here below, fenders had been made much larger, but not very rounded yet, and the trunk was an actual carry around trunk, that was strapped onto a rack that was on the rear of the car; it had not yet been made as part of the car.








                           Replica of a Mercedes-Benz, 1928. (And not very accurate -                                                    the headlights would never be attached to the radiator!)

They had been making it all more and more rounded until about in the forties, the car got to it's max roundness, as seen here, although most cars were more rounded than this:


 Replica of the Mercedes-Benz medium sedan, early fifties.

(Daimler-Benz was behind on account of the war.)

But going into the fifties and sixties, they were proceeding to take all the roundness away, making cars longer, lower, straighter, and flatter. Until by the end of the sixties, they were making cars about as straight and flat as could be, illustrated by this Block Sledge:

The odd thing I find about the car industry, is that they all mostly follow each other with the shaping of their cars. Why do they do that? I can think of two reasons; one is that if they jumped too far ahead with the design and shape of the car, people might see it as too different, and not buy it. The other is, that if they kept going ahead too far, then at some point, they'd run out of ways that they could think of to change it. And this was very important for a lot of the car makers, more so in the United States, but was not so for Mercedes-Benz. But in the States, especially after World War II, it was very important for them to come out with a new car to buy. Every 3 years they would bring out a new car. In a lot of ways, these cars were new only superficially, so the emphasis was on the "new". Not so with Mercedes-Benz. And most people liked it this way, otherwise they wouldn't have been buying the junk, and would be looking for a longer lasting bit of quality. And furthermore, it was because these cars were junky and not well designed and not very attractive; their attractiveness being mostly in the fact that they were new, that as soon as they became not new, people wanted something else; they wanted something new. But to be entirely fair, they did not want to buy from our enemies, after all, we had won the war, America was great, we could do anything, darkness symbolized evil, and white was the symbol of purity and goodness, and so anything that could be refined and bludgeoned, to make it white, particularly bread and sugar, was. And anyone who was not "white", was seen as not as good, which strangely, was a similar view of Hitler's. So few people noticed that they were making cars that were junky and unsafe. And another aspect of it was that people tend love the things they grow up with, so if they grow up with unquality, then that's what they love, because they don't know any different. So this is the way it went; every 3 years, a new car to buy: A newer version of the same car. In the case of Daimler-Benz, they went for more years between progressions and put much more thought into them.

The point is, however often they changed, they did change.

The result being, and the fact that they followed each other, means that for people who know cars quite well, in most cases, can look at any car, and know about what year it was made. 

This is the odd thing I find with car progressions - they mostly follow each other all through the years. And it's not only with cars, it's with almost everything made - including The Star Trek Starship!

So if you are following me with all of this, the obvious conclusion is, that if The Star Trek Starship had not been designed in 1964, but a different year; a different era, then it would have been a different design, a different shape, only because of that fact!
My Progressions Map

So take a good look at my progressions map.


And you might notice the shape and design of The Star Trek Starship is closest on my map to the car pictured at the bottom left - 1961, the one closest to 1964, or vice versa.

                                          Replica of The Star Trek Starship.

So if The Star Trek Starship had been designed earlier, it's basic dimensions would have been shorter, taller, and more rounded. If it had been designed later, it would have been less rounded, less tall, but probably not any longer because it would be more compact.


So, if it had been designed in any other era, it would have been a different design, a different shape, and so we would have had a different iconic shape, all through the years, instead of the one we have now, and that's only because of when it would have been designed: That's progressions!

This is the way I work.

So given all this information about progressions, and the fact for example that in most cases, a car can be recognized as a car, regardless of the way it was designed, you might begin to see that a Star Trek Starship progression, DOES NOT need to have a saucer shape at the front, and 2 long sleek nacelles out behind, to resemble The Enterprise.

But now I must inform you that if, or when a person goes about to design something in order to try to fit it into a certain era, that is not the current era, then all the aspects of progressions that I have been talking about go flying out the window, because he or she is simply taking a guess at what it would be, and so it will be close or not close depending on if it was a good job or not. If it is a good informed and well thought through and studied job, which is what I'm trying to do, then it should be fairly close to accurate. If not, it could be very much a mess... So, let's take some of the fairly recent starship designs starting with The Abrams Movie Starship and going on with the starships of Star Trek Discovery and beyond? Not to be shown here, but I've taken a look, and I can say that they are a strange combination of "past" and "future" elements put together into one ship, which shows me that the designer(s) are only taking a guess, or doing whatever they feel like doing with not much thought put into them. So there's no point to me wasting my time to analyze these "mutations" of starships. I need my time to create great starship designs, not waste my time talking about bad ones.