Hey there, my sedentary friends! In the U.S. we’re all overeating and napping so the idea of warp engines is nauseating. With that in mind, do you want some more space station options? Of course you do! While the Sigma-class operational base is seen over and over again in the Star Trek series, the most iconic space station is easily Earth Spacedock.
First seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Earth Spacedock is an easily recognizable part of the Star Trek universe and appeared in the next three movies as well (and, possibly, in a Voyager episode). It’s easy to imagine how the “space top” design hanging above Earth could facilitate starships docking and it’s even easy to imagine living in since it resembles a big floating skyscraper with a mushroom top. The original intention for the space station would be that it was three miles from bottom to top, meaning that it would be easily recognizable and visible to Earth residences in the Star Trek universe.
Aside from the most famous version of this design, however, the Stardock design model was used in four episodes of The Next Generation for other space stations. In Ensign Ro the Enterprise-D visited Lya Station Alpha to get new personnel and new intelligence, and the ship also visited Starbase 74 in 11001001 when they were hijacked by Bynars and it’s mentioned again in Conspiracy as part of the suspicious reassignments. Starbase 84 appears in Heart of Glory and in Phantasms, in both cases for major engineering projects. In Remember Me the Enterprise-D visited another Stardock-class station, Starbase 133, to pick up a senior medical officer who was retiring from Starfleet.
The common theme here is that Stardock-class stations are important. They are the major hubs of Federation activity and they are big. If the dimensions given in Star Trek IV commentary are right, the design is almost three times as long as Deep Space Nine is wide and it’s solid all the way through. If you want a space station with a ton of people in it, positioned in an important location with plenty of ship traffic and colorful tourists, then a Stardock-class is a great choice.