User:CrimsonTacit/Sandbox/Vesta Class

From Bravo Fleet

The Vesta-class explorer is an advanced, long-range explorer designed to investigate points of interest in deep space. This class is also a technological testbed for advanced sensor and propulsion systems and is currently the fastest production-model starship in Starfleet service. Sharing a design lineage with both the Intrepid and Sovereign classes, the Vesta combines speed with the latest exploratory systems to round out Starfleet's explorer inventory. As of the 25th century, only a handful of these complex and temperamental vessels have been launched.

Science and Exploration

The purpose of the Vesta-class starship is to serve as a long-range scientific and exploration platform capable of reaching anomalies, potential first contacts, and other points of interest faster than any other vessel. As compared to other explorers which are often given more general orders to survey a sector or other area of space, Vesta-class ships typically are sent out to examine something specific that has caught Starfleet's attention. Given their high top speed, they will often plot the shortest possible course to their objective(s), rather than spending time on a broader survey—Vesta class ships are best at deep and concentrated expeditions, rather than broad and open-ended ones.

To enhance her exploratory abilities, the Vesta's large small craft facilities—two shuttle bays and a runabout pad—on the stern support a half-dozen runabouts or scout vessels which are used to perform secondary missions along the ship's route. Mission teams can be dropped off to explore and then will either join the mothership at its final destination or get picked up on its return trip.

All Vesta-class starships have state-of-the art scientific labs, sensors, and probes. Unlike the Ross or Odyssey, they don't dedicate a significant amount of space to non-mission-critical labs for visiting science teams. The two docking ports on the bow of the ship can be used to launch large probes and the Vesta has the facilities to produce specialized scientific observation drones.

Computer systems aboard the Vesta us the latest version of hybrid bioneural-isolinear circuitry currently in production, making her one of the most capable spaceborne computing platforms in service. In practice, a significant amount of this computing power is devoted to her advanced navigational sensors, which help the ship perform effectively at her extremely high top speeds. Starfleet’s goal with this system is to eventually solve the computational imitations that have prevented the full development of slipstream technology. These sensors are extremely maintenance intensive, both in terms of person-hours spent on calibrations and diagnostics, but also in specialized components that are either energy-intensive to replicate or which must be sourced from production facilities in the Federation’s core.


Like all explorers, the Vesta is intended to engage in first contact missions. As such, she has a comfortable suite of diplomatic quarters and facilities, capable of adaptation to any K, L, or M-class environment. While occasionally used for other diplomatic missions, the Vesta is not as suitable for multiparty talks as dedicated emissaries like the Obena or the larger Odyssey. Her high top speed makes her perfect for use as a diplomatic courier, as the Vesta can get an ambassador anywhere they need to go much more quickly than any other Federation ship, but this is a secondary duty for the class.


Nearly everything onboard the Vesta is still highly experimental, which means that it’s an extremely maintenance-intensive ship. Engineering crews here are kept busy making sure that the bleeding-edge technology at work here is kept in running order. This is especially true of her advanced Class-10 warp drive system, as she is the first vessel to employ it outside of prototyping stages. With a top speed of Warp 9.9925, she is twelve percent faster than 9.99 standard held by other modern vessels. Maintenance and operational protocols for the Vesta are still maturing, so the ship can be considered temperamental and even fragile from an engineering perspective, meaning that many diagnostics and other tasks must still be performed manually. It is expected that these issues will be solved within the next five to ten years as Starfleet gains more experience with the design, as has been the case with other starship classes.

The ship is quite long at 672 meters long, though comparatively narrow at just 192 meters wide, giving her a very slender appearance, especially on profile. This narrow forward profile is necessary to maintain very high speeds. While it does have distinct primary and secondary hulls, these two structures are joined completely, as with the Intrepid-class. The main and secondary deflector dishes are both oversized compared to peer classes, as part of Starfleet's hope that this vessel could one day host a functional slipstream drive, should the Federation ever gain reliable access to benamite ore. To that end, there are two large equipment bays on the ventral surface of the ship with retractable duranium shutters to allow for the easy replacement of engine components, including experimental prototypes.


As her duties often take them to distant parts of the Federation and beyond its borders, the Vesta was defined to be able to protect itself. Compared to the Sovereign, extensive torpedo armaments were scaled back in favor of exploratory systems, but she matches the Odyssey with two forward and two aft burst-fire torpedo launchers of the same design capable of firing salvos of up to fifteen warheads at a time. Also like the Odyssey, her forward firepower is supplemented by a pair of pulse phaser cannons, which are located within the planetary sensor dome housing on the underside of the primary hull. Eight phaser arrays are located around the ship to provide comprehensive phaser coverage. Shield coverage is equivalent to that of the Sovereign.

The Vesta is not intended for purely tactical missions, as her capabilities are geared towards extricating herself from dangerous situations. While not a glass cannon, a ship of this class is not often going to stick around to slug it out with an adversary, as she is capable of outrunning almost anything that she encounters. Her high-power sensor suite allows for precision targeting and for the collection of reconnaissance data, and her best use in a large-scale combat situation would be to provide this information to other vessels.

Shipboard Life

Vesta-class starships are sleek, modern, and cutting-edge. For a scientist or for an engineer, they're a dream posting, as there is always something to keep you busy. A posting here means access to some of the latest and best equipment in Starfleet, much to the envy of other classes. Command of such a class is also a sought-after assignment, as they are few and number. While their missions might be shorter, these ships are sent to areas which Starfleet is interested in examining quickly and effectively with little external support, so they have to be prepared for anything. As such, this leads to a sense among Vesta crews that they are elite units, leading to both positive displays of comradeship as well as sometimes exclusionary and cliquish practices which make it difficult for new crewmembers to integrate.

Crew quarters aboard a Vesta are equivalent to those aboard a Sovereign, as they are one of the last designs introduced before Starfleet's turn towards though more communal facilities like on the Constitution III or Duderstadt. While ensigns and below have at least one roommate, lieutenants and above have a suite of their own. There are multiple holodecks and holosuites, as well as an arboretum, large forward lounge, and physical fitness facilities, but the narrow frame of the Vesta means less room for other more specialized facilities such as concert halls or promenades like you would find on a Ross or Odyssey. Medical facilities are well-equipped to care for the needs of the ship's crew, but aren't ideal for large-scale medical missions—though these facilities can be supplemented through the conversion of cargo bays, shuttle bays, and holosuites for medical purposes. Ship-wide holography is available for EMH or LMH programs, as well as for crew recreation.

Class History

When the starship Voyager returned in 2378, the premier explorer class was the Sovereign, a long, lean vessel built for an era of conflict. Even as early as the 2370s, Starfleet Science felt that the Sovereign would never truly supplant the Galaxy in terms of scientific capabilities, as she traded too much space and too many labs for tactical systems. As part of several projects begun in the late 2370s to capitalize on Voyager's discoveries, Starfleet commissioned Project Vesta to both address this concern by creating a vessel based on the Sovereign with additional scientific utility and to serve as a testbed for new propulsion systems, particularly quantum slipstream drive.

Design of the new class formally began in 2379, but the processed was stalled during the 2380s due to resources being diverted to the Federation's attempted evacuation of Romulus. Thankfully, the project was housed at the Beta Antares shipyards, so it was not impacted directly when Utopia Planitia was destroyed in 2385, but Starfleet's inward turn following that event led to dwindling resources for what was explicitly a deep space vessel. Vesta herself was not launched until 2393 and then only with the basic framework of slipstream drive installed, as Starfleet had been unable to secure enough benamite ore for the system or solved the essential computational and sensor problems with navigating at such high speeds. Throughout a four-year shakedown and prototyping process, the slipstream drive element was quietly shelved in favor of fine-tuning the new class-ten warp drive. This was considered to be a success in its own right, though, as a Vesta-class ship is twelve percent faster than any other ship in the fleet.

In 2396, additional Vesta-class starships were ordered, even as refinement on the design continued. Vesta herself was commissioned in 2397, with the first production model units launching that same year. The ship remains an experimental class and technological testbed—with the eventual hope that she may still one day be capable of fielding a faster-than-warp engine. Thus far, Starfleet is pleased with the class in service, as it holds a middle niche between the massive Odyssey and the newer, smaller Constitution III—a fast, smart, and efficient compromise between the competing design ethos of "more is more" versus a return to 23rd-century crew sizes.

In Play

  • Vesta-class starships are rare, sought-after commands. They're unlikely to be encountered as background ships in your missions, and their captains would need to be experienced explorers themselves.
  • Pulse phaser cannons do not make this a warship—they supplement more modest torpedo armaments compared to the Sovereign.
  • Quantum Slipstream Drive does not work, as the Federation does not have access to the material (benamite) that's necessary to sustain a slipstream field. While this class was intended to prototype it, that feature has not been achieved—just like how the Excelsior was meant to be a transwarp prototype. The engineering bays mentioned above could be fitted with the equipment if this resource shortage were solved, but that would be a fleet canon decision and members aren't allowed to introduce this technology.
  • The Vesta (designed by Mark Rademaker) has long been a feature of Star Trek fandom due to its popularity in the Star Trek: Destiny series (by David Mack) and remains one of the few non-canon starship classes that is available in Bravo Fleet in recognition of its popularity. The latest version of this article was created to account for its role in a post-Picard world, as it needs to complement both the Odyssey and Constitution III which debuted in Season 3 of Picard. To do this, we have envisioned it as being the representative of what we're labeling the Antares School of starship design, which (in its most basic form) is the reaction to the early losses of two of the original six Galaxy-class explorers by creating smaller, leaner vessels which could accomplish similar missions with a fraction of the crew complement. This lineage begins with the Nova and Intrepid, followed shortly by the Sovereign, and then culminates here in the Vesta (with the Inquiry being another branch of this family.) The Odyssey is a continuation of the Utopia Planitia school of design (rounder shapes, bigger ships, and 'more is more') while the Constitution III is a resurgence of the 23rd century San Francisco school, which emphasizes more classic lines and a crew sweet spot of around 500. In sum: the Vesta, Odyssey, and Constitution III are contemporaries (or at least all are still in production) with similar missions, but they accomplish those missions in different ways.