2249 – Canopus

The Canopus Class Research Cruisers were designed to carry out the first detailed survey work on the Sagittarian arm of the Galaxy. 24 Ships of the class were proposed, the design was lightly armed, but to compensate was equipped with state of the art FSI trinary shielding.

15 Ships were produced in this initial configuration, but only 12 actually entered full service with Galaxy Exploration Command, the final three ships were refitted while working up to the new Mk3 configuration. The Mk 1 served until 2258 when the last vessel was refitted and upgraded. Two ships of this mark are known to have been destroyed, while a third USS Capricornus vanished without trace in December 2255.

The intention had been to introduce the Mk2 in 2253, with upgraded FWE-2 Warp drives, but no additional weapons. However, events were to cause Starfleet to require a very different type of cruiser. The outbreak of the four years war led to the modification of the design to produce the Mk3, which mounted more powerful lasers in more mounts, as well as accelerator cannon. The high speed, and excellent shielding of the Canopus design making it an ideal long range reconnaissance cruiser. The prototype Mk2 was renamed USS Centurion, and entered service in 2253 as the first Mk3, and was followed by a further 5 new build ships. Three recently completed Mk1s were pulled back from working up and upgraded to the new standard. Three additional Mk1s were upgraded as they returned from their missions.

Mark 3 Canopus class vessels frequently operated on their own, deep inside enemy territory, the small profile of the design linked to classified ECM systems making them virtually impossible for the inferior Klingon sensors to detect. As a result of this high risk mission, 5 Mk3 ships of the 12 built or converted were lost during the war.

The 22nd and last production vessel USS Cavalier was completed as a Mk4 with Phasers and a single photon torpedo launcher. The ship commissioned just in time to catch the end of the war. All of the 13 surviving Mk1 and Mk3 ships were refitted to the Mk4 standard between 2257 and 2263, but 8 proposed new build Mk4s were cancelled as production of additional Constitution class ships was deemed preferable. Post war the class returned to its scientific mission profile, but the enhanced weapons were retained.

The class continued in service until 2286, although numbers were steadily reduced from 2275 onwards by a intense program of scrapping and sales. The reasons for this was a combination of the craft being too small to operate effectively in a long range exploration role or to be equipped with modern sensors, conversely they were too large and crew intensive to operate in a short range exploration role in a military configuration. Despite this, civilian research groups now own a number of Mk4s, as the removal of the weapons upon sale permitted a major reduction in crew complement and released the space for the fitment of modern sensors.

In 2290 it was realized that not a single ship had been retained for the Starfleet museum, as a result the former USS Canopus was repurchased at scrap prices in a very poor condition, and is now being restored to its former glory.

Class: VIII Year: 2249
Ship Source: Space Flight Chronology Ship Datasheet: Download PDF


Commissioned Ships

B1 – Built as Mk1, B3 – Built as Mk3, B4 – Built as Mk4, R3 – Refit to Mk3, R4 – Refit to Mk4, D – Destroyed, Sc – Scrapped, M – Missing

1570 Canopus

B1-2249, R4 2256, SOLD 2277

1580 Coriolanus

B1-2253, R4 2261, SC 2277

1590 Cambria

B3-2256, D2257

1571 Castor

B1-2249, R3 2253, R4 2257, SC 2275

1581 Corsair

B1-2253, R4 2257, SC 2280

1591 Cavalier

B4-2256, SOLD 2286

1572 Capella

B1-2250, R3 2253, D2255

1582 Ceres

B1-2253, R3 2253, R4 2257, SC 2278

1592 Camilla


1573 Capricornus

B1-2250, M 2255

1583 Centaurus

B1-2254, R3 2253, R4 2257, SC 2279

1593 Corinna


1574 Caledonia

B1-2251, R3 2253, D 2256

1584 Cambria

B1-2254, R3 2253, D 2256

1594 Calpurnia


1575 Cassiopeia

B1-2251, R4 2261 SC 2275

1585 Centurion

B3-2254, R4 2261, SOLD 2283

1595 Cameronian


1576 Calypso

B1-2251, D 2255

1586 Caledonia

B3-2255, R4 2263, SC 2285

1596 Cathay


1577 Catalina

B1-2252, R4 2258 SC 2275

1587 Cleopatra

B3-2255, D 2255

1597 Cabot


1578 Caribou

B1-2252, R4 2257 SC 2276

1588 Circe

B3-2255, R4 2262, SC 2280

1598 Courtier


1579 Clipper

B1-2252, D 2254

1589 Challenger

B3-2256, R4 2258, SOLD 2285

1599 Columbia




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