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The Century-class starship is the culmination of decades of research and starship design. With the launch of the Excalibur-class, Starfleet Command believed they had found a replacement to the highly successful Galaxy-class. However, the Excalibur proved to be so resource intensive that Starfleet ended up devoting the resources to simply build more of the more aged Galaxy's. The Century was believed to be the much more compact, automated answer to the resource intensive Excalibur in the same fashion that the Intrepid-class was to the Galaxy.
The Century Development Project was to be capable of virtually any mission and to become notable vessels of exploration, representing the Federation in matters of diplomacy, as well as defending it in situations of combat. With the ever present dangers facing the Federation new defensive technologies were designed to along with the ships hull. One of the key components of its design was the high level of automation employed throughout the ship, requiring half the crew complement of the Sovereign-class starship for a ship nearly the same size.
The Century-class design pushed the envelope as far as possible when it came to computer power, shields, armament, and systems capabilities.
The Century Project began its development shortly after the development of the Intrepid-class platform was in its first year of service. With the overly ambitious and resource intensive Excalibur-class intended as a limited replacement for the Galaxy-class, it was realized that this was an unsustainable future for Starfleet's exploration. Much like the Intrepid design complemented the Galaxy design, Starfleet Command sought to find a complement to the Excalibur. Originally the Insignia-class was thought to be a possible suitor, however it's true multi-purpose role put it nearly in a class of it's own. Moreover, it also required an intensive amount of manned resources for a ship of it's size due to the very nature of its purpose.
During the opening months of the Dominion War, a design had been proposed and submitted to Starfleet. However, with the conflict with the Dominion in full swing, Starfleet opted for the more combat oriented designs such as the Defiant, Sovereign and Akira-classes. Starfleet decided to postpone the development of the design to possibly revisit at the conclusion of the war.
Following the war, with the push towards Starfleet's roots of exploration, the Century-class design began construction in mid-2377 with the keel laid down at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards. Included in the ships systems were the most modern of all technologies, many of which it shared with the Insignia class, including the second generation of bio-neural circuitry, holographic projectors throughout the entirety of the ship, ablative armor, the vetted class 9 warp drive also found on the Intrepid, Insignia and Prometheus-class, highly advanced automation systems for many of the ships systems which required less crew to control them, and an equally advanced vocal command interface which would allow a single person to command the ship if necessary. Construction of the vessel was slow and steady allowing room for trial and error to install and properly configure all the automated systems. Since no Starfleet vessel beforehand was geared towards such high automation, and many of the ships vital systems were tied into this method, precision was necessary to ensure the ship functioned without a critical error after launch.
What would have been a standard production time line for a prototype of the Century’s nature was significantly extended, due to needing to test and re-test these systems before being brought fully online. In late 2378, the ship’s computer came online, and in a matter of months had become self aware. With the assistance of the automation protocols in place, the rest of the construction and outfitting continued unabated. The high level of automation cut an estimated six months off the outfitting and construction process.
In mid-2379, the class’ namesake and prototype had finished construction and outfitting. The plaque was put in the place of honor, and a crew was selected for the shakedown cruise. With such lofty goals as had been put in place for this new class, the criterion for the cruise were extensive. In addition, the Admiralty wanted to ensure beyond a shadow of a doubt that the automation systems installed wouldn’t cause a cascade system wide failure.
The Century performed admirably, and exceeded all of the Admiralty’s expectations, though the full shakedown of the prototype took the better part of two years. In 2382, the USS Century was officially commissioned, and another Century class vessel, the USS Constitution, was put into production. Eventually by 2385, Starfleet Command was satisfied with the overall performance, automation and computer systems of their two Century-class vessels and ordered a batch of six starships to begin production in 2386 with others to follow.
- Role: Explorer
- Dimensions: 715 meters (L) x 282 meters (W) x 90 meters (H)
- Decks: 24
- Expected Duration: 100 years
- Time Between Resupply: 10 years
- Expected Refit Cycle: 20 years
- Total Crew: 780
- 175 Officers
- 555 Enlisted
- 50 Marines
- Number of Civilians: 20
- Thrusters: RCS Thrusters
- Sublight Speed: 0.25c
- Warp Speed
- Warp 8: Cruising Speed
- Warp 9: Maximum Warp
- Warp 9.975: Emergency Warp (for 24 hours)
- 4 Forward
- 4 Aft
- Shields: Regenerative Shielding System
- Shuttles: 16
- Runabouts: 2
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