|Length: 511.25 meters|
|Beam: 195.64 meters|
|Draft: 86.76 meters|
|Mass: 2,350,000 metric tons|
|Crew Capacity: 750 officers and crew|
|Armaments: 12 dual phaser banks, 4 photon torpedo launchers (original design)|
|Defenses: Deflector shields|
Exclesior-Class starships have first been built in the 2280s. They are a type of Federation vessel designed for long-term space exploration. The prototype, the USS Excelsior, NCC-2000, had been initially desinged with a transwarp drive.
The Excelsior-Class spaceframe was the most advanced and stable design in Starfleet during the late 23rd century. It replaced the highly successful but aging Constitution-Class. The new design of the Excelsior was to exceed its predecessor's standards of duration, speed, and firepower. Therefore, Starfleet approved the the construction of a ship equipped with transwarp propulsion. The prototype, USS Exclesior, NCC-2000, was built to test a new, more powerful and efficient drive system, dubbed "transwarp" by the engineers. (NOTE: This is not the same technology as transwarp as used by the Borg)
The subsequant "redrawing" of the warp drive factor tables (and increase in drive efficency) were the direct results of the Excelsior Transwarp Experiment . Over the next 80 years, the Excelsior has gone through three major refits. Some of the modifications made to the vessel included a different bridge and shuttlebay structure. Several variations of the Excelsior-Class vessels continued to serve Starfleet up to the Dominion War.
During the engagements with the Dominion and the Borg, the volume of Excelsior-Class vessels have been greatly worn down. Some ships of this class have been refitted and rearmed to successfully match the firepower of a Defiant-Class escort. Despite any problems, the Excelsior-Class has remained in service to Starfleet for almost a century after its original design and construction. By the late 24th century a large number of vessels were still in use, due to the high adaptability and soundness of its basic design.
The main bridge of the Excelsior-Class vessel is located on top of the primary hull and supervises and coordinates all mission operations and department acitivities. Similar to many Starfleet ship designs, the Main Bridge is a dockable module, meaning that the bridge layout can differ greatly from ship to ship. Later Exelsior-Classes include a large master system display monitor for Engineering against the aft wall of the bridge, a feature shared with the USS Enterprise-B.
The shuttlebay of the Excelsior-Class vessel is located on the dorsal stern of the secondary hull and houses several shuttles of different types, including type-7 shuttlecrafts.
Construction and VariantEdit
A new variant of the Excelsior class was added some years later by modifying the basic hull design (the so-called Refit-II); one of the newer configuration Excelsiors became the USS Enterprise-B. Excelsior-Class vessels of even later design continued incorporating the latest technology, but returned to the original hull form.
Most Excelsior models have been updated to a Soverign generation warp drive. as well as dilithium recompositing and recrystallization technology. This recrystallization process, however, proved much less efficient than the theta-matrix compositor used in the later Galaxy-Class vessels.
The original Excelsior-Class was outfitted with 12 dual phaser emplacements and four photon torpedo launchers. However, since the ship continued to be constucted over a very long time, the power and capabilities of its weaponry steadily increased. Some advanced modifications included the installation of faster firing and more powerful quantum torpedoes, more powerful and accurate phasers, and other improvements to make the vessels more competitive with later designs. Only few of those modifications were visible from the outside, since the changes were made using the already existing design features.
The first design of the Excelsior-Class was put in place on the original USS Excelsior. This contained the "transwarp" drive as well as increased internal volume.
The Refit-II configuration was used for the USS Enterprise-B. This contained a completely redesigned impulse engine assembly and other hull reconfigurations. The engine model was replaced with a new line model that was also being used in the Constitution-Class Refit of the time.
The next refit configuration is referred to Refit-I.A, and was used in all subsequent models of the Excelsior-class following the USS Enterprise-B. This included a more up-to-date engine configuration (*Galaxy* era engines) and upgraded firepower and defensive systems.
The USS Lexington-C is the only ship of the line belonging to the Refit-III configuration. Designed by Cameron Sanantonio et al at Starfleet's Engineering School, the Refit-III contains many experimental designs, harking back to the original USS Excelsior. Some of the major modifications include installation of five warp cores, improved phaser and torpedo systems, ablative armor sheeting, an expanded Shuttledeck, two Engineering Decks (a primary and secondary), expanded Cargo Bays with docking facilities for science "yachts," and a reduced crew compliment. (For more details, see the USS Lexington article.)
Current Excelsior-Class VesselsEdit
It's common Trek lore that the Excelsior's Transwarp drive was a failure... however, this has never been mentioned in Trek cannon. Instead, what we see is that the warp factor curve was redrawn between the *Star Trek* movie series and *Star Trek: The Next Generation*. Trek apocrypha holds that the "quantum leap" in drive efficiency took place in the design phase of the Galaxy-Class. However, it's more logical that the "Transwarp" experiment of the Excelsior is where the drive efficiency took place, and that all ships of the line after the Excelsior incorporated Excelsior's Next Generation Drive systems, not the other way around.
The Excelsior was an admitted experiment. Nothing in *Star Trek: The Next Generation* hints that the Galaxy-Class drive system was in any way experimental, even though it's a few magnitudes faster than other warp drives seen on screen.
Due to this, the USS Lexington Engineering Department takes the position that the Excelsior "Transwarp Experiment" was not a failure.