Star Trek Video Highlights Clever Aspect of Enterprise's Design Fans May Have Overlooked

Star Trek: The Motion Picture was the film that brought Star Trek to the big screen for the first time. It is also often criticized as one of the weakest Star Trek movies, nearly derailing the franchise’s future before it was rescued by Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

But one thing The Motion Picture did give fans was the USS Enterprise refit design, often considered the best and most definitive take on the classic starship’s look.

A new video from YouTuber EC Henry, whose page is dedicated to content about Star Trek and Star Wars, highlights one of the subtler design aspects of Enterprise’s refit. While the Constitution-class ship in Star Trek: The Original Series had its warp nacelles perched on struts at a 90-degree angle to the body of the ship, the refit angles the struts backward.

The result is a ship that looks more aerodynamic. One might say that the change was made simply because it “looked cooler that way,” but EC Henry points out that there’s actually a practical reason for the change supported by scenes from The Motion Picture.

Having the Nacelle struts at a 90-degree angle meant that had to dig deep into the ship, limiting the amount of room that could be dedicated to the ship's aft cargo bay. Angling them back allows them to be attached to the ship at a higher, thicker point on the ship's hull, thus leaving room for a much larger cargo bay and even elevators for moving shuttles up from a lower bay to where the cargo bay door is. And the film does feature shots of Starfleet crewman working in this large cargo bay area with elevators.

Take a look at the video above for EC Henry’s full explanation.

While the Enterprise refit design debuted in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it actually originated with the designs of Matt Jefferies (the namesake of the the Jefferies tubes featured in later Starfleet starship designs) done for Star Trek: Phase II, the proposed television sequel to Star Trek: The Original Series that was abandoned in favor of taking the franchise to film. While the final design was also worked on by Richard Taylor and Andrew Probert, the angled nacelle struts were a part of Jefferies’ Phase II model.

Had you ever considered this aspect of the Enterprise refit design? Let us know what you think in the comments!


The Enterprise returns in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, premiering on CBS All Access on January 17, 2019.

[H/T] io9