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The Oberth class was a type of Federation starship in service from the 23rd through 25th centuries. Originally a Starfleet design, the class saw extensive civilian use as well. Small and versatile, Oberth-class ships could be outfitted for a variety of mission profiles, and were predominantly used as scouts, science vessels, cutters, transports, and other types of support craft. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek: The Next Generation; Star Trek Generations; Star Trek: Outpost, et. al)

Introduced circa 2250, the Oberth design proved successful and spawned a number of sub-classes, including the larger Gagarin and Glenn classes introduced in the 2270s, the larger-still Sagan class in the 2340s, and the Grissom class in the 2410s. (Star Trek: Starfleet Academy; FASA: Starship Tactical Combat Simulator; LUG: Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 1: The Ships of Starfleet; Decipher: Narrator's Guide; Jackill's: Gagarin-Class Research Vessel; Star Trek Online)

By the middle of the 24th century, newer vessels like the Korolev class began to supplant the century-old Oberths in scientific roles, though the Federation continued to construct Oberth-class starships into the 2360s, mostly of the larger Sagan-class design, introduced in 2341. While some remained on scientific duty, many were either reassigned various support roles, such as tugs. Others were decommissioned from Starfleet service and sold or donated to civilian organizations or even private individuals. By the 2370s, Nova-class ships had replaced the Oberth family as Starfleet's primary research and science platform, with the Luna class taking the long-range science role in the 2380s. (LUG: Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 1: The Ships of Starfleet; Decipher: Narrator's Guide; Star Trek: Outpost; Star Trek: Titan)

Though still in service during the Dominion War, Oberth-class ships were not deployed to the front lines, as they were never designed for combat. Between 2375 and 2395, most of the Oberths were decommissioned and only a handful remained active in the fleet after the turn of the century. (DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight"; Decipher: Starfleet Operations Manual; LUG: Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 1: The Ships of Starfleet)

Specifications

Oberth class profile.jpg
SS Tsiolkovsky.jpg

Oberth-class vessels had a variety of configurations. The length of an Oberth could be as small as 120 meters (Mk I) or 150/160 meters (Mk II/Gagarin), up to 180 meters (Sagan Mk I) to 220 meters (Glenn), and around 300 meters (Sagan Mk II) in its largest configuration. The standard crew compliment was around 80 to 100, but ships could function with a minimal crew of 5, and the larger versions could accommodate 220. The smaller variants had 7 to 13 decks, while the larger ones had between 16 and 24 decks. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; TNG: "The Naked Now", "Hero Worship", "Realm of Fear", "The Pegasus"; Starfleet Dynamics; Jackill's Star Fleet Reference Manual: Ships of the Fleet, Volume 2; Glenn Class Fleet Survey Vessel; FASA: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual)

Notable ships

One of the most notable of all Oberth-class vessels was the USS Grissom, commissioned in 2270, and destroyed by a "rogue" Klingon bird-of-prey while conducting a survey of the Genesis Planet in 2285. There was ultimately only one survivor of the incident. Grissom's memory would be honored by her namesake class of the early 25th century. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek Online)

Known vessels

Various configurations

Clarke class

Gagarin class

Sagan class

Background

  • The class was originally unnamed in its first appearance as the Grissom; it wasn't until TNG: "The Naked Now" that it received the Oberth designation via dedication plaques and okudagrams. FASA, DC Comics, and pre-TNG fanworks gave the class other names, such as Gagarin and Sagan.
  • ILM Production charts for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock show the Grissom as 120m (395ft) in length, roughly the same size as the film's bird-of-prey. This is inconsistent with the deck heights, windows, and interior sets (which were reuses of the Enterprise sets). Subsequent appearances visually "upscaled" the ship, as was often done with smaller vessels, while maintaining the "official" size on infographics. The only time the ship is seen at 120m in scale with other starships is in the final shots of Star Trek Generations.
  • Though not a perfect solution, Star Trek: Pendragon has adopted the alternate names for the Oberth as sub-classes, allowing for the size differences.
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External links