A five-year mission was a standard mission duration for Federation starships in the 23rd century. For bigger, faster and more enhanced vessels, ships could perform exploratory missions farther outside Federation space, and not need to dock at a starbase so often.
During his career, Robert April commanded four five-year missions. The Enterprise's first one was under his command, and prior to that he conducted three missions in command of the USS Tiberius. (EV comic: "Flesh of My Flesh")
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