In 2116 the Unified Earth government and Jupiter Orbital Command established the first elements of Jupiter Station, still a major center for research and development in the late 24th century. The first assignment given to these researchers was to create a faster warp engine capable of the extended journeys between stars, something which young team leader Dr. Henry Archer was particularly suited for. A vital member of Zefram Cochrane's 'Brain Trust' in the closing years of the scientist's life, Dr. Archer was a talented engineer and a natural subspace theoretical physicist, making him the perfect choice to create a better warp engine. Unfortunately, his team's progress was hindered by a lack of cooperation from Vulcan scientists and engineers, a fact which limited human warp technology for almost a century and caused friction between humanity and the Vulcans over their 'interference'.
Advances were made, though, however slowly they came. In 2130, Archer's team developed the tandem-coil nacelle, an effort to increase subapace field density by placing two sets of warp coils next to each other in a single nacelle housing. It was hoped that this arrangement would increase both efficiency and speed, which estimates placed somewhere in the range of a sustained Warp 3.5. The first (and only) vessels to receive this engine were the four ships of the Endurance-class, the most powerful spacegoing vessels built by Earth at the time. Departing from the traditional boxiness of Earth ships, these vessels were flat and relatively sleek, even if their single nacelle protruding from the rear gave them the appearance of a horseshoe crab or frying pan. In an effort to help ensure crew safety in the event of an emergency, the nacelle contained both sets of warp coils along with the fusion reactors themselves; the entire nacelle could be ejected in an emergency and the main hull could maneuver on impulse power to a safe distance. Three massive sets of explosive bolts mounted at the front and sides of the nacelle ensured complete separation, although extensive hull damage would be caused. Of the four Endurance-class ships, none are known to remain intact; one was destroyed in a full-power test of her warp engines, and the other three had been decommissioned by 2168 and sold as scrap.
The U.E.D.F. Constant (EDF-33) was the third vessel constructed in this class, completed in May of 2132 at the UE San Francisco Orbital Shipyards. The Constant served as the testbed for Dr. Archer's concepts for the Warp 5 engine, a development which allowed humanity its first real chance to explore the galaxy by reducing travel times between stars to weeks rather than months or years. Following the launch of Starfleet's first vessel in 2151 (U.S.S. Enterprise, NX-01), the Constant remained as part of the UEDF instead of being transferred to Starfleet control. The Constant was decommissioned in 2164.
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This page was created on May 15, 2002.
Last modified on February 10, 2005.