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USS Ariel

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USS Ariel
Class: Survey ship
Owner: United Federation of Planets
Operator: Starfleet
Status: Abandoned (2269)

The USS Ariel was a Federation survey ship that was in service with Starfleet in the mid-23rd century. During the 2260s, it was manned by a crew of 6 scientists.

In 2269, the Ariel was on a survey mission to planet Lactra VII under the command of Lieutenant Commander Tom Markel. When a 3-person landing party went missing on the surface, Markel ignored Starfleet orders and beamed to the surface with his remaining crew, biologist Randi Bryce and navigator Nancy Randolph.

Six weeks later, the abandoned Ariel was found in orbit by the crew of USS Enterprise, who searched the ship and its log entries. An Enterprise landing party subsequently discovered and managed to free the crew from a Lactran zoo. (TAS: "The Eye of the Beholder")

The "USS" prefix was not on screen, but the crew were definitely with Starfleet, and therefore the Ariel is likely a Starfleet vessel. Oddly, her crew wore the same insignia as the Enterprise. For this starship, StarTrek.com uses the "SS" prefix.
She might have been named after Ariel, a moon of Uranus.

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