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Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)
USS Voyager registry

The USS Voyager's registry number on its primary hull

A registry was a place to record or register information. One such registry is the Vulcan Genome Registry. (ENT: "The Forge")

Vessels were often registered by agency. They may record a vessel's name, registry number, history, and basic ship information. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")

Ship registries were used as early as the 19th century. In 1893, after overhearing a time-lost Data mentioning a starship, Samuel Clemens asked, "What registry is that!?" (TNG: "Time's Arrow")

Throughout the 20th century, both civil and military aircraft were registered. In addition to registration, military aircraft were given serial numbers. One of these registry abbreviations, first used by American civil aviation, would later appear on Earth shuttles and starships. This was the abbreviation NC. An example of a NC registry was NC 18602 (the California Clipper). (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday", VOY: "The 37's", ENT: "Broken Bow")

In the 23rd and 24th century, Starfleet vessels were able to check both historical registries from Earth and Vulcan as well as the Starfleet Registry. (TOS: "Space Seed", "The Ultimate Computer"; TNG: "Unification I")

Between 2254 and 2364, registry numbers skyrocketed from the NCC-1701 of the USS Enterprise to the NCC-87270 of the USS Ticonderoga.

The SS Botany Bay was not listed in any registry, although this might have been a result of the lack of unfragmented records in that era. (TOS: "Space Seed")

Registry numbers and prefixes

In some governments and agencies, a ship entered into a registry received a prefix that was placed before the vessel's name. This prefix was used to easily identify the vessel as belonging to that agency.

A registry prefix should not be confused with a ship's prefix code.

Vessel prefixes include:

Prefix Stands for Agency / Government Example
CGM unknown unknown (2370) CGM Gh'aster
CSS Confederate States Ship Confederate States of America (1800s) CSS Virginia
DEV unknown unknown (2183) DEV Eagle Valley
ECS Earth Cargo Service/Ship Earth Cargo Service (21022153) ECS Horizon
FGMS unknown unknown (2370) FGMS Gyt'aerat
FMS unknown unknown (2370) FMS Geldonero
GCS unknown unknown (2370) GCS Recio
GHD unknown unknown (2370) GHD Per'ot
HMS His/Her Majesty's Ship Royal Navy (17052135) HMS Clement
IKS Imperial Klingon Ship Klingon Empire (22682375) IKS Rotarran
IRW Imperial Romulan Warbird Romulan Star Empire (2369) IRW Khazara
ISS Imperial Starship Terran Empire ISS Avenger
Terran Resistance Forces ISS Defiant
ITA unknown unknown (2370) ITA Elmira
PWB Praetorial Warbird Romulan Star Empire (2375) PWB Tomal
RMS Royal Mail Ship Royal Mail (18402007) RMS Titanic
SS unknown unknown (19962187) SS Conestoga
Starship UN (2123) SS Mariposa
American Continent Institute (2236) SS Columbia
Merchant Service (22612262) SS Beagle
United Federation of Planets (22672370) SS Santa Maria
Starfleet (2364) SS Tsiolkovsky
USGS unknown unknown (2370) USGS Powell
USS United States Ship United States of America (1800s2130s) USS Monitor
United Starship Starfleet (2161–present) USS Defiant
VK unknown Russian (21052160) VK Velikan

† With Earth's national prefixes (British HMS and Russian VK) still in use up to the founding of the Federation, it is probable that USS still meant United States Ship in the same time-frame, but we only have one example to look at.

Items listed in a registry generally had a number or code to help identify the specific entry.

Registry numbers can be changed, as seems to be the case of the USS Yamato. The reason for this practice is unknown.

In some registries, the registry number was preceded by an abbreviation as well:

Registry Prefix Agency / Government Example
B unknown (2368) B-24-CLN
BCD Iyaaran (2369) BCD-31775
BDR United Federation of Planets (2360) SS Santa Maria (BDR-529)
C unknown (2370) C-57-D
C1 unknown (21st century) Bonaventure (C1-21)
CAR unknown (2370) CAR 54-Q
CV United States of America (1940s) USS Enterprise (CV-6)
CVN United States of America (1986) USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
ECS Earth Cargo Service (2151) ECS Fortunate (ECS-2801)
GS unknown (2370) GS 12
H Starfleet (2373) H-47
NAR UN (2123) SS Mariposa (NAR-7678)
United Federation of Planets (22932368) SS Vico (NAR-18834)
NC Starfleet (2154) NC-05
United Federation of Planets (2269) Aurora (NC-17740)
NCC Starfleet (21672379) Raging Queen (NCC-42284)
NCV Starfleet (2800s) USS Relativity (NCV-474439-G)
NFT El Aurian (2293) SS Robert Fox (NFT-1327)
NGA Federation (2328) SS Augyn (NGA-24858)
NSP Vulcan National Merchant Fleet (2364) T'Pau (NSP-17938)
NX Starfleet (21432375) Enterprise (NX-01)
OV NASA (19762000s) OV-165
VS Federation registered (Vulcan, 2270s) Surak (VS 5047 61192259584-5)
XCV unknown (pre-2143) USS Enterprise (XCV 330)
YLT Yridian (2369) YLT-3609

Aside from the registry prefixes, Starfleet has also used letters after the main registry prefix to further define specific types of craft. This was seen in the freighter USS Huron, with its registry of NCC-F1513 and the Template:ShipType ships with the registry NCC-G1465. (TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles", "The Pirates of Orion") In some ships the letter was after the number such as the registry NCC-221B of the USS Sherlock Holmes. (TNG: "Conspiracy")

The first Earth ship to have warp drive installed, Bonaventure, had an anomalous arrangement of the registry numbers, 10281NCC. (TAS: "The Time Trap") So did USS Nash, with the registry NCC-2010-5. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

Shuttlecraft assigned to starbases and other installations were given registries indicating their origin. Such vessels were the da Vinci SB4-0314⁄2 from Starbase 4 and the Picasso SB11-1201⁄1 from Starbase 11. (TOS: "Court Martial", "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield") The shuttlecraft Verne assigned to Relay Station 47 was simply given the registry RS-47. (TNG: "Aquiel")

An escape pod of the USS Enterprise in the alternate reality was numbered 313-C. (Star Trek)

Starfleet would sometimes use sequential lettering after a registry number was repeated to honor a former vessel. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Examples of this include:

Starship Registry number Dates
USS Dauntless NX-01-A 2374
USS Enterprise-A NCC-1701-A 22862293
USS Enterprise-B NCC-1701-B 2293
USS Enterprise-C NCC-1701-C 2344
USS Enterprise-D NCC-1701-D 23632371
USS Enterprise-E NCC-1701-E 23722379
USS Enterprise-J NCC-1701-J 26th century
USS Relativity NCV-474439-G 29th century
USS Yamato NCC-1305-E 2365

Appendices

Background information

The most famous registry number, of course, is NCC-1701 of the original USS Enterprise. It was chosen by Matt Jefferies, who was a pilot before joining the Star Trek staff, and based the registry number on 20th century aircraft registration codes. In the early 20th century, the letter "N" indicated a United States origin, and the letter "C" indicated a civilian aircraft. Jefferies arbitrarily added a second "C" for aesthetics. In a sketch [1] of the Enterprise, drawn by Jefferies, he states the numbers "1701" stand for the 17th cruiser design, serial number #1. Also, upon choosing the Enterprise's registry number, Jeffries decided that the number should be easily readable, so he was careful to avoid numbers that could be confusing, such as 3, 6 and 8. (Star Trek Magazine, issue 162, p. 25)

According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual, the registry prefix NXP was used for study models, also called pathfinders, in the development phase of a starship class. For the Template:ShipClass escort, the pathfinder was designated NXP-2365WP/T.

According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, the registry prefix for the SS Odin was NGL.

Based on usage – VK Yuri Gagarin and VK Velikan – it is probable that the VK prefix was used on Russian starships in Star Trek. In the real world, the Russians do not use prefixes for their ship names. V.K. however might be an homage to Tom Clancy. In the book The Hunt for Red October, the primary Alfa-class attack sub is named V.K. Konovalov, in honor of Vladimir Konstantinovich Konovalov.

Apocrypha

According to the novels of Diane Duane and Peter Morwood, Klingon starships use a "KL" registry number prefix. Diane Duane's Rihannsu novels give the prefix ChR for Romulan starships.

According to the Star Trek: Ships of the Line (2009) calendar (for the month of December), the registry prefix X was used for static test models. An example was the X-17B which was used for evaluating the performance of a refitted Template:ShipClass heavy cruiser in the mid-2260's.


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