NCC (Star Trek)

From Academic Kids

This page relates to the Star Trek usage of NCC. For alternate meanings of NCC, see NCC (disambiguation)
Missing image
this Starship Enterprise from Star Trek:The Next Generation has the designation NCC 1701-D

NCC is a fictional designation for starships conceived within Star Trek. According to Star Trek chronology, the term was first used in the Original Series. It has been suggested that the prefix "NCC" was used by the creators of Star Trek analogously to the United States Navy's hull classification symbols, and was a combination of a ship prefix "NS" ("Nuclear Ship"), and the Soviet Union acronym "CCCP"1 to show that the two countries had to work together to establish Starfleet. Another more popular theory is that it derives from the 'NC' prefix used for United States airplanes - creator Gene Roddenberry and Enterprise designer Matt Jefferies (after whom the "Jeffries tube" was named) were pilots.

The official Star Trek Encyclopedia follows the last theory and says about it:

"NCC doesn't stand for anything. It was devisied by Matt Jefferies, art director of the first Star Trek series. Jefferies, who is a pilot, based NCC on 20th century aircraft registration codes. In such 20th century usage, an "N" first letter refers to an aircraft registered in the USA. A "C" second letter refers to a civil aircraft. Jeffereies added a second "C", just because he thought it looked better. Think of it as being like the arbitrary three-letter code that's part of automobile license plate numbers in many states."

According to non-canonical sources, "NCC" is in reference to the contract required to build a starship and to easily be able to identify parts from ships when salvaged. It is suggested that "NCC" is short for "Naval Construction Contract", this number is imprinted into every part laid into the ship, similar to the imprinting of Naval hull numbers into parts and systems on modern ships, (i.e. CVN-65 is stamped into every part on the USS Enterprise the US aircraft carrier).

Another non-canon but logical use for such a serial number would be as a "navigation contact code", embedded in continuously-broadcast subspace signals that would identify the vessel to other approaching ships. Given the typical distances between "nearby" spacecraft, this would probably be a more practical use of NCC numbers than an applied hull marking.


NX Classification

NX classifications are typically applied to ships that serve as pathfinders or prototype testbeds for new technologies. Once an NX vessel's design has matured, it will often be refitted for front-line duty and recommissioned with an NCC designation.

Such was the case with the USS Excelsior (NX-2000), a testbed for transwarp drive systems. Although the transwarp drive failed to achieve its intended goals, the ship's advanced hull design and systems engineering merited continued service. After a substantial refit, she was recommissioned as NCC-2000, and assigned to Capt. Hikaru Sulu for exploratory duties in Beta Quadrant.

The most notable use of the NX designator is Enterprise NX-01, the very first Warp 5-capable starship commissioned by Starfleet, and the centerpiece of Star Trek: Enterprise. However, in that series, NX has not yet become the designation for an experimental starship; here, it is simply the name of an existing ship class (in the show, starship classes are simply combinations of letters, such as NX-class starships, DY, Y and J-class freighters, and so on).


In the original series of Star Trek, the only registries seen were for ships either unseen, or seen to be of the same class as the Enterprise. The speculation by fans as the time was that 'NCC' was a hull code like the United States Navy's codes, which designates the basic types of vessel, and is then followed by a ship identifier number. 'NCC' was explained as 'cruiser' and 'NDD' suggested as a 'destroyer'.

This was blown out of the water by Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which featured the USS Reliant, a clearly inferior ship to the Enterprise, and still registered under NCC.

Later films and series showed that nearly all Starfleet ships used 'NCC', but a few, experimental ones used 'NX' (seen on the Excelsior, and Defiant).

This was confirmed in Enterprise with the registry 'NX-01' for the experimental ship of the title, and a second ship, Columbia, designated 'NX-02', but this was explained in a way which is at odds with chronologically later usage - NX is being used as a class name, and 'NX-01' means 'the first ship of the NX class'. It remains to be seen how or if these systems can be reconciled.

The Federation as of the mid-2370s has a number of identifiers based on the particular operator and purpose of a specific ship, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • NX: Experimental starship, Starfleet (example: USS Defiant NX-74205)
  • NCC: Commissioned starship, Starfleet (example: USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E)
  • NCV: Commissioned timeship, Starfleet (example: USS Relativity NCV-474439-G)
  • NDT: Multipurpose transport, Starfleet (example: USS Milan NDT-50863)
  • NFT: Personnel transport, Federation (example: SS Lakul NFT-7793)
  • NGL: Freighter, Federation (example: SS Odin NGL-12535)
  • NSP: Science vessel, Federation (example: SS T'Pau NSP-17938)
  • NAR: Research vessel, Federation (example: SS Vico NAR-18834)


  • Note 1: The acronym "CCCP" is in the Cyrillic alphabet. Transcribed to the Latin alphabet, it would read "SSSR". Therefore, a more logical result of this theory would be "NSS" rather than "NCC".

See also


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