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Space 9
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Size comp



Universe : Prime Timeline
Class Name : Spacedock
Type : Starbase manufacturing and support facility
Commissioned : 2274 - present
Dimensions : Diameter : 3,810 m
Height (main) : 4,648 m
Height (overall) : 5,795 m1
Decks : 1200
Mass : 58,000,000 metric tons
Crew : 15,000 Starfleet, typically 20,000 to 35,000 civilian
Armament : 370 x Type XII phaser arrays, total output 2,240,000 TeraWatts
24 x Type 2 burst fire photon torpedo tube
Defence Systems : High Capacity shield system, total capacity 2,240,000 TeraJoules
Light Duranium/Tritanium Single hull.
Low level Structural Integrity Field
Docking Facilities : Internal docking bay2 capable of holding up to thirty starships, depending on type
Fifteen hangar bays capable of holding up to three hundred shuttlecraft shuttlecraft
Warp Speeds
(TOS scale) :
Not capable of independent movement; attitude control and/or orbital adjustment only.
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : 44,800
Torpedo Firepower : 9,600
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 1,100
Shield Strength : 829.63
Hull Armour : 3.13
Speed : -
Combat Manoeuvrability : -
Overall Strength Index : 15,141
Diplomatic Capability : Three Grade 7 systems
Expected Hull Life : 150
Refit Cycle : Minor : 5 year
Standard : 5 years
Major : 30 years


For many years Starfleet depended on single-ship orbital platform facilities for the construction and maintenance of its starships. However, the rapid expansion of the Federation during the late twenty second and early twenty third centuries was fueling an increase in the size of Starfleet and the existing platforms were becoming unable to cope with the workload. By 2260 Starfleet was petitioning for a major new orbital facility to be built, and in 2263 it was decided to proceed with this project. The requirement was for a space station which would put all the refining, processing, manufacturing and assembly facilities required for manufacture and maintenance of starships into one place. When finished in 2274 the station was essentially a small city, dedicated to Starship production - cargo ships would bring raw materials in at one end of the line, starships would roll out at the other. This enabled Starfleet to eliminate much of the transportation requirements previously involved in starship construction; the resources saved by this centralisation covered the initial outlay for Spacedock within ten years.

Once it was realised that such efficiency savings could be achieved, it was decided to proceed with further stations in other major centers of Starship production. Starfleet has continued to add new Spacedock facilities to its inventory ever since, with the total now up to sixteen.

Over their lives these stations have seen many revolutionary changes; the advent of industrial scale replication in the twenty fourth century was a major revolution throughout the Federation and led to a major refurbishment of the manufacturing facilities on the Spacedocks. This freed up much internal volume, allowing a considerable increase in living standards for the crews. Many different sensor and weapon suites have been utilised on these stations over the years, the most recent being improvements to the shields and weapons to counter the Borg and Dominion threats. It was planned to equip all Spacedocks with quantum torpedoes in place of their photons, but the relatively limited number of such weapons available has made this unfeasible. Instead the Type IV photons have been replaced by Type VI models to give increased penetration power against heavy shielding.

During the last five years the Federation has seen a marked upswing in the level of threat directed toward it. As a result of this all Spacedock facilities have been working at maximum output in order to put as many new ships into the fleet as possible, as well as producing weapons for ground forces and other war materials. As such, these stations continue to form the backbone of the Federations war production capability.

Yellow text = Canon source Green text = Backstage source Cyan text = Novel White text = DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 Production drawing Drawing produced for Star Trek III.
2 Star Trek III : The Search for Spock
Source : Production drawing
Comment : Drawing produced for Star Trek III.
Film: Star Trek III : The Search for Spock


We know very little about Spacedock of course, so this entry is almost totally improvised. My assumption is that it started life as a huge orbital factory for building starships - the Utopia Planitia of its day. Today I imagine the advent of replicator tech has allowed it to be much refitted inside to give extra functions. Various statements in the show indicate that Starbases are pretty well fitted out places, so I imagine Spacedock has the best of everything.

The size of Spacedock is a matter of some conjecture. Mike Dicenso was kind enough to post me some production sketches which show the station as having a diameter of 12,500 feet and a height - excluding the towers/ariels on the top and bottom - of 15,250 feet. I have converted these to metres for the page; the overall height is calculated from the scale diagram used in the size comparison link.

Much debate concerning Spacedock concerns the size of Starbase 74. The same model was used for both stations, but the Enterprise-D easily fitted through the space doors of the latter station; yet Spacedocks doors only just took the original Enterprise, a much smaller ship. Many consider this latter point to be a nit in itself, since in ST III the significantly larger USS Excelsior followed the Enterprise out of Spacedock.

To calculate the exact size of the doors, I took three scans from Star Trek III. The first was of the Enterprise backing out of the space doors; this is by far the best shot in the film in terms of a close up, square on view. Perspective distorts the sizes slightly as the doors begin significantly further from the viewer than the ship does,
and end significantly closer. I measured in line with the saucer, and got the following sizes :

Saucer diameter (pixels) = 100
Door width (pixels) = 183
Ratio (door : saucer) = 1.83

Actual size of saucer = 140 metres.
So actual door width = 1.83 x 140 = 256.2 metres.

Just a few seconds later, we get a view of the Enterprise turning to move out into space as the Excelsior begins its pursuit. Since we are a good kilometre away at this point, the perspective changes are minimized - but the measurements have a greater degree of inaccuracy, since we are measuring smaller distances. There is a considerable degree of perspective distorting the shape of the doors, and I measured the width at the same height as the Enterprise saucer.

I capped two shots of this scene, to see if I got the same results at different points during the turn. These are the numbers I got :

Capture 1

Saucer diameter (pixels) = 44
Door width (pixels) = 91
Ratio (door : saucer) = 2.07

Actual size of saucer = 140 metres.
So actual door width = 2.07 x 140 = 289.5 metres.

Capture 2

Saucer diameter (pixels) = 43
Door width (pixels) = 93
Ratio (door : saucer) = 2.16

Actual size of saucer = 140 metres.
So actual door width = 2.16 x 140 = 302.8 metres.

Now I would tend to trust the first figure more than I would the other two, because we don't know just how far beyond the doors the ship backed before it began to turn - even a couple of hundred metres could affect the results significantly. The ever increasing sizes would support the ship still moving backwards as it turned, hence gradually appearing smaller.

So I would take a door width of 256 metres to be about as close as possible.

Now, regarding the Excelsior : according to Encyclopedia, this class is 467 metres long. But the DS9 TM gives a length of 511.25 metres for the Excelsior - both lengths are given next to side on images of the Enterprise-B subtype.

The Encyclopedia also gives a top image of the same type, and from this I worked out a beam of 184.8 metres from a 467 metre length, which rises to 202.3 metres with a 511.25 metre length. However, the DS9 TM specifically states that the beam is 195.64 metres.

I tend to dismiss the DS9 TM entry, as this section of the book is riddled with mistakes. However, the beam of the Excelsior is certainly somewhere in the 180 - 210 metre range, and a a 256 metre Spacedock door would be more than capable of handling the upper limit of this range, while fitting in with everything we see in ST III.

For details concerning Starbase 74, see the comments page of that stations entry.

Spacedock could be a totally unique design, but I think that's pretty unlikely. Given her size, I doubt more than fifteen or so Spacedocks have been built in all - especially with the much larger Starbase 74 type out there.

Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 17,070 Last updated : 18 May 2008