In service for such a long period, and built in such large numbers, it is difficult to pin down any one definitive set of statistics for all Excelsiors, and it is impractical to try to list every single little change and minor refit. Instead, presented here are three of the most significant Excelsior configurations: The original USS Excelsior NX-2000 layout; the biggest redesign of the Excelsior hull shape, first seen in the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B; and the most advanced refit known to the public, first tested on USS Lakota NCC-42768. A large number of late-build Excelsiors still use the slightly smaller original hull shape (incorporating new technology into it), though the expanded Enterprise-B hull shape became more common over time. Many systems remained easily interchangeable between both hull shapes into the 2370s.
|Original configuration||Enterprise-B refit*||Lakota refit|
|Major changes||Expanded secondary hull, additional impulse propulsion, and saucer separation capability||Enhanced sensors, defences and weaponry, including quantum torpedo launchers|
|Normal crew capacity||612||750||770|
|Phasers||Dual-mounted Type VIII banks at 9 locations||Dual-mounted Type VIII banks at 9 locations||Dual-mounted Type IX banks at 9 locations|
|Torpedoes||4 forward Photon launchers, 2 aft Photon launchers||4 forward Photon launchers, 2 aft Photon launchers||4 forward Quantum launchers, 2 aft Quantum launchers|
* The USS Stargazer is modelled on an Enterprise-B refit and includes saucer separation capability
*Good luck finding consistent and definitive size and scale information. For those who want to dive deeply into how the numbers got so confused, here is an excellent starting point: www.ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/excelsior-size.htm
The capability to separate the saucer section from the secondary hull improves crew survivability. While this had been considered as part of the Excelsior design long before the first hull began construction, it was not initially put into practice, and there remains a mix of Excelsiors that have this option installed and ones that don’t.
Crew sizes can vary across a large range, depending on mission requirements. A well maintained vessel could be flown by just half a dozen bridge crew for short periods, before maintenance requirements grew out of hand. Complex, long-duration exploration missions require a variety of specialists and support crew, usually numbering in the hundreds. In emergencies, a few thousand people might be crammed into every available space for short-term evacuations, but this places a serious strain on the ship’s resources and blocks most normal operations.
 NX-2000 was originally built with an unusually large bridge module, but by the time it had been permanently commissioned as NCC-2000, this had been replaced with a smaller bridge modelled on late-refit Constitution class bridges.
This became standard for subsequent Excelsior Class Starships.
Contributed by CAPT. C Sham