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Travel Pod

Size Comp
Universe : Prime Timeline
Affiliation : Federation
Class Name : Travel Pod1
Type : Interorbial personnel transport
Unit Run : 2,982 built in total. 31 have been lost in all. 2,951 have been retired from service.
Commissioned : 2270 - 2285, remained in service until 2315
Dimensions : Length : 4.99 m2
Beam : 3.2 m
Height : 3.12 m3
Decks : 11
Mass : 2.85 metric tons
Crew : 1, plus 8 passengers
Armament : No beam weapons
Defence Systems : Light Monotanium Single hull.
Low level Structural Integrity Field
Impulse only : Max Impulse Speed : 0.01 x c
Atmospheric Cruise (Mach) : 2
Atmospheric Max (Mach) : 4
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : -
Torpedo Firepower : -
Weapon Range and Accuracy : -
Shield Strength : -
Hull Armour : 0.31
Speed : -
Combat Manoeuvrability : 22,680
Overall Strength Index : 28
Diplomatic Capability : 1
Expected Hull Life : 30
Refit Cycle : Minor : 3 year
Standard : 3 years
Major : 0 years


The travel pod was designed to complement the orbital shuttle produced in the 2270's. Where the orbital shuttle was designed to operate both in space and a planetary atmosphere, the travel pod was confined purely to space. The bulky shape was designed to maximize internal volume, with no attempt to give it any aerodynamic qualities. Even in space, the orbital shuttle was a far more capable design; while designed primarily for inter-orbital trips, the orbital shuttle could cope with short interplanetary trips. But the travel pod was designed to be a purely short range affair, even to the extent that there was no seating provided for the crew or passengers!1

The travel pod design is simplicity itself; essentially a large box with an entry hatch at the rear, simple flight controls at the forward end and an artificial gravity generator under the floor. There is a largeviewport in the front1 made of transparent aluminium, and navigation is handled by a simple laser radar unit. Propulsion is provided by microthrusters, with a delta vee of only 10 kms-1 at the maximum acceleration of 5 ms-2.

The travel pod was extremely easy to construct - six could be built for the resources of one orbital shuttle - and even easier to maintain. Minor systems refit was required only once every three years, with a standard refit every fifteen years; major refits where not required at all within the 30 year lifespan of the hull. It was inevitable that this design would be constructed in great numbers, and during the fifteen year construction run almost two thousand where completed - at its peak, construction stood at forty units a month. Many of these where sold to foreign governments - the simplicity of the technology minimized Prime Directive considerations and made the travel pod an attractive design for those who wanted a low capability, minimum cost design.

By 2285 Starfleet had the 1,200 travel pods it needed and announced that it would make no new orders. Some thought was given to continuing production on an export only basis, but without Starfleets support production would become much less profitable, and it was decided to terminate all production later in the year. The last travel pod was launched in a small ceremony in July 2285 and assigned to Earths Spacedock facility.

In service these little craft proved exceptionally popular, with the lack of computer assisted control and other such frills leading crew to regard them as a 'real pilot's craft'. Many did complain bitterly about the lack of seating, but Starfleet refused to give in to the demand for a modification program, pointing out that the average journey length for a travel pod trip was less than ten minutes.

The travel pod began its retirement in 2300; the last of the Starfleet craft retired in 2315, and although many of the export models where pressed on past their due retirement dates, the last of these was out of service by 2325.

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 Star Trek : The Motion Picture
2 Star Trek Encyclopedia Calculated from the scale diagram on page 443, assuming a 24 foot Type 1.
3 Star Trek Encyclopedia
Film: Star Trek : The Motion Picture
Book : Star Trek Encyclopedia
Comment : Calculated from the scale diagram on page 443, assuming a 24 foot Type 1.
Book : Star Trek Encyclopedia


The travel pod is the craft which took Kirk and Scotty to the Enterprise in Star Trek : The Motion Picture. Pretty much everything in the specs pages is based on my own impressions of the design - a box with thrusters on it, used for the shortest trips within space only. The performance figures for acceleration and delta vee are pure speculation, but seem to be fairly resonable for the sort of missions the travel pod would perform.
© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 45,686 Last updated : 29 Mar 2014