Following the disappointing Gage-class ships, Biraktes engineers decided to try again to submit a design for a deep-space explorer to Starfleet, this time building the vessel around a new warp drive package instead of vice versa. The result was the impressive Columbus-class explorers, which were among the first vessels to operate beyond Federation borders for extended periods. In an effort to reduce costs the design used many off-the-shelf components, even going so far as to duplicate the Drake-class command sphere and impulse engine package. The lead ship was launched in 2187 to widespread acclaim and acceptance, and the nineteen ships in this class pioneered the two-year deep-space mission, serving Starfleet for almost forty years. The last Columbus-class ships were decommissioned in 2225.
The U.S.S. Magellan (NCC-454) was commissioned in 2188 and served in Starfleet for almost thirty years, performing six two-year exploration missions and the first five-year mission (from 2204 to 2209); her career following her decommissioning, though, is what makes the ship so special. Scheduled to be scrapped, the Magellan was bought by a private investment group in 2231 and outfitted with the latest in technology, becoming one of the most famous private research ships in Federation history. The Magellan catalogued countless stellar and planetary phenomena over the next seventy years until she was lost in the Badlands region of the Bajor Sector.
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This page was created on September 1, 2000.
Last modified on February 10, 2005.