Discovery December: Crossfield

Wrapping up my contributions to Discovery December is the Crossfield-class spaceframe. This class was commissioned in part to test an experimental “Spore Drive” and two ships were built to test different implementations of the drive, the U.S.S. Glen and the U.S.S. Discovery, the latter being the primary ship of Star Trek Discovery.

Like all the blogs this month, there’s a lot more extrapolation and *ahem* fan wanking in terms of the backstory and capabilities and future of the Crossfield-class. In the show they mention that the U.S.S. Discovery was “built from the ground up to be a testbed for the experimental spore drive”, this does not mean the class itself was designed solely for the spore drive, especially as the show also mentions it is “capable of accommodating three hundred discrete scientific missions”, which seems unnecessary if the entire class was solely meant to test a new drive system. This suggests the Crossfield-class was designed as a mobile set of scientific laboratories, and the spore drive aspects were effectively a refit built into two starships. However, the ship has to be more than a mobile lab, otherwise its role could be filled by a space station (like Regula 1). As such, Crossfield-class starships have to also be responsible for testing new technologies, likely in the field. Other starships of the class could be tasked with testing new weapons, sensor systems, types of transporter, and the like.

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