In 2285, the USS Enterprise returned to Spacedock after ending Khan's plan to kill Admiral James T. Kirk for revenge. There, the Enterprise was to be decommissioned. Kirk, with the help of Captain Scott, Commander Uhura, Commander Hikaru Sulu and Commander Pavel Chekov, stole the Enterprise to rescue Spock's body from the Genesis Planet. The USS Excelsior attempted to give chase, but had been sabotaged by Captain Scott, and "stalled" when it attempted to jump to transwarp. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
In 2286, an unknown probe disabled the entire starbase when the probe reached Earth orbit. The shutdown happened before any vessels within, including the Excelsior, could be launched, resulting in the shutdown of all vessels inside. When Kirk and his crew had resolved the crisis, he was demoted to captain, but was offered command of the USS Enterprise-A, which was waiting at Earth Spacedock. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
The Enterprise-A remained at Spacedock while Captain Scott worked to resolve design flaws made apparent after the ship's maiden voyage. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
The Enterprise-A was kept at Spacedock prior to its ill-fated trip to escort Klingon Chancellor Gorkon to a peace conference on Earth in 2293. Kirk ordered an undocking at impulse speed, despite the fact that regulations specified thrusters only. While Lieutenant Valeris, the ship's helmsman, initially questioned the captain's order, she successfully performed the departure and later admitted she "always wanted to try that."
- It was not made clear whether this was intended to be the same Spacedock as seen in the films, as the Star Trek Encyclopedia speculates. The only view of the station was of a set of doors, themselves stock footage of the Dyson Sphere doors from TNG: "Relics".
Earth Spacedock was designed by David Carson and Nilo Rodis and first seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The model was built at Industrial Light & Magic. It has been suggested, by Mike Okuda among others, that the Spacedock facility is over three miles in height.
The interior of Spacedock was represented by a large set. The original from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock was destroyed after the end of filming. The production crew for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home had to rebuild the entire set from scratch.
Footage of Earth Spacedock was re-used more than once in Star Trek: The Next Generation with the USS Enterprise-D superimposed over the motion-picture Enterprise:
- TNG: "11001001" as Starbase 74
- TNG: "Remember Me" as Starbase 133
- TNG: "Ensign Ro" as Lya Station Alpha
- TNG: "Phantasms" as Starbase 84
It is probable, though unconfirmed, that this facility is either identical with, or a part of, the never-mentioned-but-all-but-mandated-to-exist Starbase 1.
In an alternate timeline in Star Trek: Armada, the Borg either destroy or assimilate spacedock.