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The SS Conestoga was an Earth Discovery-class colony ship in service to UESPA in the late 21st century. Conestoga carried 200 colonists. (ENT episode: "Terra Nova", ST reference: Federation: The First 150 Years, ST video game: Legacy)
The Great ExperimentEdit
In the 2060s, the US American starship SS Valiant discovered a habitable planet with no intelligent life in the vicinity of 61 Cygni A, circa 11 lightyears from Earth. This inspired the chief minister of the Trade Council of Earth, Davida Rossi to launch the "Great Experiment", a project to establish Earth's first extrasolar colony.
Rossi negotiated protocols with the Trade Council, leading to the first planet-wide space program. The participation of every nation-state was required to complete it. The project led to the founding of New Berlin colony on Luna and led to the establishment of the Utopia Planitia base on Mars years later. Human outposts supplied resources and supply bases, an international team of scientists designed the colony ship and manufacturers were contracted to build it. Additional resources came from mining colonies setup in Sol's asteroid belt.
The colony ship, named SS Conestoga for 19th century colonization wagons used by Human settlers in the American West, was sent neither to 61 Cygni (home to the Tellarite civilization), nor to Sol's closed neighbor, Alpha Centauri. Alpha Centauri III suffered from frequent impact events and was still in the throes of a centuries-old impact winter. Instead, the United Earth Space Probe Agency chose Eta Cassiopeia III as the eventual destination. (ST reference: Star Charts, ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: A Choice of Futures)
Conestoga was launched in 2069 on a colonization mission to Terra Nova, a Class M planet located around 20 light years from Earth. Because of Conestoga's primitive warp drive, it took nine years for it to reach the Eta Cassiopeia star system, implying a top speed of warp 1.3. Once Conestoga reached the planet in 2078, the ship was dismantled in order to construct the initial dwellings of the colony. (ENT episode: "Terra Nova", ST reference: Star Charts)
Enraptured by the success, the Trade Council planned to send a second colony ship. The colonists, led by Captain Andrew Paul Mitchell and Mark Logan, refused. Eventually, Mitchell and Chief Minister Rossi lost their tempers. Five years after Conestoga's arrival, in 2083, an impact event irradiated the colony and forced the survivors underground. The colonists believed Earth had attacked Terra Nova, or sent the Vulcans to do that. On Earth, Rossi assumed Mitchell cut off communication on purpose. When the colony went silent, the project was deemed an epic disaster. (ST reference: Federation: The First 150 Years)
The project's apparent failure led to a refocus. To acquire extrasolar resources by trading, the Trade Council established the Earth Cargo Service (E.C.S.), utilizing the infrastructure developed for building Conestoga.
In 2099, Rossi's protocols for international cooperation to build Conestoga served as basis for the constitution upon which the United Earth government was founded. (ST reference: Federation: The First 150 Years)
The descendants of the Novan colonists were found by Earth Starfleet starship Enterprise (NX-01) in 2151. The Novans were treated for radiation sickness and relocated to a radiation-free location on Terra Nova. Captain Jonathan Archer and Novan leader Jamin reestablished a friendly relationship between Humans and Novans. (ENT episode: "Terra Nova")
The Conestoga spaceframe was successful to be reused. Earth Starfleet based the Discovery-class scout ship on Conestoga. Ships of this class served in the Earth-Romulan War. (ST video game: Legacy) Discovery-class starships were still in service in the mid-23rd century. (VAN novel: Harbinger)
- commanding officer
- chief medical officer