Launch date: February 2080
The first of her kind constructed, the Constellation also made history when she became the first ship to leave the earth-bound construction yard under her own power. Previous vessels relied on rocket-assist to achieve escape velocity, or were constructed in lunar facilities to ease construction efforts. After a two month shakedown cruise she was released for service in the Star Navy.
Her existence meant competition for fleet resources with the precious cruiser navy. Accordingly Captain Mitch Jackson suffered the indignity of many far-away assignments and short turn-around times between missions. For every success the Constellation reported however, the greater the appeal of the Constellation became.
Her first major assignment was supporting U.S. Star Marines on Thurston (Procyon III) when a local rebel army occupied the capital city. In a move plotted between the Star Marines and Captain Jackson, the Constellation de-orbited to support the troops on the ground with strikes from within the atmosphere. The Constellation got as low as 30,000 feet- visible from the ground.
The Constellation continues to serve with distinction in the U.S. Star Forces. Captain Jackson is still in command on his second tour of duty with the vessel.
Launch Date September 2080
There has only been one other Enterprise commissioned in the Star Forces services after a long letter-writing campaign by science fiction fans. Space Probe six was responsible for charting systems near the edge of the local bubble before being retired and converted to a museum ship. Numerous attempts were made to commission a star cruiser as the Enterprise, but those efforts waned over time as Cruisers never embarked on missions of exploration.
With the success of the Constellation, fans from even within the star services were interested in commissioning an Enterprise. The name was given to FF-2, and she was launched in a public spectacle attended by several living stars of the Star Trek phenomenon.
In spite of such grand fanfare the ship is seen as unlucky. She has been the subject of a dozen minor accidents and incidents, the most dramatic of which was failure of the Impeller drive that disabled the ship somewhere between Algibea and Phact. Had the Hornet not come to her rescue it would have been doubtful the crew would have lived to be rescued.
In spite of these mishaps the Enterprise has performed several prominent missions. The most dramatic of which was assisting the Wasp and Constellation in chasing down the notorious pirate Xen Uh, operating near Alkald.
Launch Date December 2080
The Knox experienced problems while under construction on the slipways- her power pods were delivered flawed. Several months were needed as power pods for FF-3 were fast-tracked to replace the defective units, resulting in a delay. She was completed in December and needed a two and a half shakedown cruise before she was approved for navy service.
While Constellation and Enterprise were already serving within many core systems, Knox was sent on outer patrol work. The ship’s first assignment was a well fare check to Andromedae to visit the colony there. That mission began the exodus from that failed colony.
Knox’s first captain was forced to retire after injuries sustained in an operation out of Eltanin. Her current captain, Anton Wricks, is largely seen as a political appointment within the space services. Wricks has several relations within the Admiralty, and two direct connections to U.S. Congressmen. Wricks passed the Star Forces academy with lackluster grades, so it is not clear why he was granted this frigate assignment. His appointment is the beginning of a troubling trend within the Star Forces of political appointments with no experience or merit to their posting.
The Knox has recently been pulled from patrol following an incident on the edge of human space. The details of the incident are classified, something of a first in the U.S. Star Forces service.
Launch Date: April 2081
Hornet began construction alongside her sister ship, the Wasp, within the same month. Both ships continued the tradition of being named after World war 2 U.S. Aircraft carriers, and were commissioned around the same time. Hornet even made a flyby of the historic CV-12 Hornet docked in San Francisco after being launched.
The Hornet has the distinction of receiving a lot of combat deployments. Her first action was breaking up a pirate ring operating out of Cebalarai, operating in concert with the Constellation and the H.M.S. Aldborough. Hornet claimed three starship kills in the engagement, beginning the ship’s reputation as a fighter.
Hornet was nearly destroyed twice. The first engagement against Chinese pirate Xen Uh in 2082. Captain Rachel Kalloway underestimated Xen Uh and was drawn into an ambush that killed Captain Kalloway and almost resulted in the loss of the ship. Hornet had to limp back to base under protection of the Burke and Knox before she would have another shot at Xen Uh in 2084.
The second incident was an engine imbalance which was caused by a faulty O-ring installed in the port power pod. The fault was detected as the ship was reaching cruising speed and the port power pod continued to escalate power production. To save the ship the chief engineer Anthony Koll and two of the crew performed an emergency EVA to jettison the faulty pod. The first EVA activity at super-luminal speeds successfully jettisoned the pod, which traveled for another ten minutes before the overload destroyed it. Hornet was able to limp back to base for repairs.
Currently the Hornet is standing down for an overhaul at Clavius base. While there the crew is training a new batch of recruits destined for the first block II frigates.
Launch date: April 2081
Wasp was launched two days after the Hornet cleared dock, beginning her shakedown at the same period. While the Hornet was immediately put into deployment, Wasp was retained in earth for half a year to train two new crews on frigate performance. She was put into service formally at the end of 2081, under Captain Rick Dawson.
Wasp’s early career was marked by inner-system deployments near or about Earth. Admiral Lawrence Tyles was responsible for this, feeling an unencumbered resource close to earth was useful for fleet duty. She was accordingly entangled in political incidents surrounding the United States Space Forces. She and Captain Dawson were central to preventing the Lunar Coup in 2084.
Wasp is the only one of the nine original frigates to be lost in the line of duty. On assignment from the FBI in 2084, she was ordered to stop the Russian freighter Landysh. The freighter had been armed, and after a short battle at visual distances the Wasp took several direct hits to the saucer. Internal fires raged beyond control, and the Wasp was forced to withdraw. Captain Dawson was forced to abandon his ship, sending his crew EVA while he manned the communications station. He died at the post before the U.S.S. Hornet could arrive to rescue the Wasp’s crew. Unable to tow the ship home, Captain Stannis destroyed the Hornet’s saucer section with torpedoes. Her pods, recovered by the Hornet, are being refurbished for use on a replacement Wasp.
Launch Date: Janurary 2082
Named for Arleigh Burke and the series of destroyers laid down in his name. Burke was the first of the Constellation class to have slight modifications from successive series through improvement of the ship’s avionics and a MKIIb astrogator installed. Her laser battery was also directly linked to the active radar array ringing the saucer dome, though this experimental fitting was only performed on the Burke with limited success. When she was launched in October 81 she was escorted by her sister ships, the Constellation and Enterprise.
Burke’s early career is marked by many inner colony stops, occasionally assisting the Wasp, but more often being dispatched further afield. Her MKIIB astrogator proved to be troublesome, and she had to return to port in May of 2083 for a replacement. While there she was also given a launch/landing platform for the specially built “Applewood” type space launch. Burke and the Joshua are the only units of the original nine frigates to be configured for using this vehicle.
Burke has undertaken several special-forces insertion missions along the fringes of settled space using this space launch to insert special operations teams on covert missions. Twice the launch was needed for colony support, and one encounter with a space pirate vessel saw the launch being used as an ambush decoy. While the parasite craft has proven useful, as of 2085 the Admiralty has no plans to refit other Constellation class ships with this specific vehicle. A proposal is open on the Block II Constellations to include another designed parasite vehicle that is tailored for specific mission profiles, but as of yet the Space Forces have not moved forward on that proposal.
Launch Date: May 2082
More than a year after the Constellation’s launch, the Star Frigates were performing well above expectations. The flexibility given to the U.S. Space forces was well worth the investment. However, not all parts of the U.S. Government felt this way, for Congress and some leading admirals in the space forces still desired to create bigger and larger warships for deterrent patrols in the Sol system. With six ships built, congress was beginning to consider halting the Constellation program, and reallocate funds to the already over-budget Andromeda-class battlecruiser.
In an effort to save the Constellation program the Space Forces created a publicity campaign to extol the virtues of the Star Frigate and advocate for its use in peaceful exploration missions. As part of this campaign, a poll was created to name the next star frigate before it was laid down. The overwhelmingly positive response decreed this frigate would be the Grissom, named after astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom. It was also decided based on the success of this campaign to give the Grissom a distinct paint scheme referencing Grissom’s liberty bell 7 spacecraft.
The Grissom was constructed using the same modules and equipment as the Burke as a pathfinder project to develop the Block II Constellation specifications. Like the Burke, Grissom reported issues with their Astrogator MKIIB in the first months of launch. The complicated interface frequently froze the device, forcing their engineering teams to manually restart the equipment. Two successive software patches were unable to resolve the issue and she returned to port in September to have her Astrogator replaced by the one destined for FF-8.
Grissom’s first operational run was replacing the Constellation on outer patrol duty, where FF-1 was due for a rest and overhaul to bring it up to speed with the other, newer frigates. In this the Grissom performed admirably in place of the Constellation in many of the same missions. Twice she engaged in running star battles with pirate forces, and twice she coordinated with frigates of other nations to resolve standoffs between settlers.
Grissom’s noteworthy accomplishment to date is a standoff against the German cruiser Emden at Kochab. The cruiser would not disclose its reasons for investigating the planet, which had several American settlements on the surface. Eventually the situation resolved peacefully, but for a tense few days the Grissom was running combat drills with the cruiser as a virtual target.
Launch Date: August 2082
Named for the late Admiral Marcy Joshua, one of the leading architects behind the formation of the United States Space Forces. The Constellation class was the realization of her own desires to have a far-reaching space forces arm, and she delivered a passionate speech on the eve of the ship’s launch. Joshua was launched in late 2082 with a large audience in attendance.
Joshua was the second ship to be fitted differently from the Constellation’s original specifications by incorporating a launch-landing platform for an Applewood type spacecraft. The Applewood’s capabilities were too limited for the cruisers they were intended for, but the admiralty felt they may have some use employed on Frigates. The third Applewood vehicle constructed was assigned to the Joshua.
The first eight months of Joshua’s service was limited to systems close to Earth to practice operations with the Applewood. In February of that year the Joshua conducted a series of launch/landing exercises to familiarize the crew with the vehicle. By May she was performing operations in close systems, and by the end of the year she was operating on the fringe.
For the first two years Joshua was given over to special forces insertion missions, rescue assignments, and satellite maintenance. The flexibility offered by the Applewood, and the launch/landing platform for workshop EVA activities meant the ship drew some assignments typically tasked for specialist utility vehicles. Josha thus has seen the fewest combat assignments of the original nine frigates as of 2085.
Launch Date: February 2083
The last of the original contracted frigates, Anton was the last ship to include new technologies for trial in possible block II ships. She included the previous improvements in the base design from the Burke and Grissom but did not include the support equipment for an Applewood launch. Instead her torpedo launcher was decreased from four tubes to two, and the additional space was given over to special satellite deployment equipment and a larger EVA compartment for deep space missions.
Following her shakedown Anton was fitted with a large deep-space radio antenna and dispatched on her first special assignment. With her observation antenna and a veteran crew assigned, Anton was dispatched to the boundaries of the local interstellar boundary. Penetrating the dust clouds and entering Loop III, the Anton conducted long-range studies of the loop for five months before returning through the outer dust barrier and returning to Earth.
Following her return to Earth in late 2083 her antenna rig was removed and she was put into service. She relieved the Enterprise when that ship encountered engine trouble near Algedi, and continued her patrol. Her second most notable contribution to date is the dramatic rescue of the crew of the S.S. Dowry, an independent passenger liner. Anton performed three trips from the stricken freighter to rescue the crew, and remained on station to monitor the ship until a corporate tug arrived.