- For other uses, see Galaxy class.
The Federation galaxy ship was a series of Federation starships. These vessels were distinguished by Starfleet's intended purpose for them, which was to survive the limits of the Milky Way Galaxy and perform long term observation and exploration outside of the galaxy's borders.
The galaxy ship project began in the later 23rd century, with several vessels being crewed and made ready to begin their missions in the early 2270s. One vessel, the USS Magellanic Clouds (sometimes referred to as Magellan), was being readied for launch in 2270, under the command of a former USS Enterprise security chief, Commander Mandala Flynn. Several recent Starfleet Academy graduates were due to be assigned to her command, including Brian Silayna and Lieutenant Piper. (TOS - Fortunes of War novel: Dreadnought!)
By 2285, Flynn had been promoted to captain, with her mission underway. Rear Admiral James T. Kirk commented to Hikaru Sulu that if he had been a younger man at the outset of the galaxy ship program, he might have aspired for one of the vessels as well. By this point, Magellan had been joined by sister ships USS M-31 and USS Andromeda. It was widely reported that Magellan had arrived at the Andromeda Galaxy and observed a supernova there later in that year.
The galaxy ships were generally considered to be impressive in their use of technology, but were not considered to be ships-of-the-line due to their inability to defend themselves or offer deterrence in hostile confrontations. (TOS - Duty, Honor, Redemption novelizations: The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock)