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USS Altair (prototype)

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The USS Altair was an experimental Federation starship in the late 24th century. It was designed to be highly maneuverable at warp speeds, but suffered from unacceptably low power efficiency. It was this design flaw that kept the Altair from going into full-scale production. At some point in the Altair's service it rendezvoused with the USS Enterprise-D. (ST reference: Ships of the Line)

In 2382, the vessel was still an experimental ship. The vessel had to stop at Mars due to engine problems. Esperanza Piñiero and Raisa Shostakova were passengers on the vessel and they were late to meeting with the President. (ST - Typhon Pact novel: Rough Beasts of Empire)



Future Enterprise concept

A proposed Enterprise-J using the Altair as the engineering hull.

The Altair design originates from one of the proposals developed by Mike Okuda and Doug Drexler for the design of the USS Voyager; Okuda suggested basing the ship's basic geometry on "those V shaped television antennae you see on automobiles" and Drexler worked that design from that. The design didn't make it for Voyager and some years later was rejected again as a potential design for the Enterprise (NX-01). Another two years later the design was worked into engineering hull of one of the proposed designs for the USS Enterprise-J, although this design was not used for the final Enterprise-J model.[1][2]

Finally in 2006 the Enterprise-J concept engineering hull version of the design was used in the image "Sea Trial, Duty", in the 2007 Ships of the Line calendar. Later in 2006 that same image was reprinted in the Ships of the Line book, with a description by Okuda identifying it as the experimental Starship Altair. Okuda named it in honour of NASA's planned next-generation lunar lander, and Drexler has subsequently dubbed the vessel a member of the Altair-class.[3][4]

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