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Spacecraft Registry
Special Project 1
Gagarin-class explorer
Arbitrary and Grissom.jpg
GCU Arbitrary (NCC-105) and USS Virgil Grissom (NCC-117) in a glamour shot over Luna.
Spacecraft Characteristics
Base HullCustom hull
Length133.01m / 436.4 ft.
Width228.3m / 749.1 ft. (wingspan)
Height20.7m / 67.85 ft.
Mass558,000 kg / 1,230,179 lbs.
Drive Type2x impulse engines
1x warp drive
Drive RatingPeak velocity 0.041c
Armament2x point-defence laser array
2x multi-mission launchers
Primary ManufacturerUtopia Planitia Shipyard (under license)
Starfleet Command
FactionSoviet Air Force
United Federation of Planets
Registry NumberVariable
Launched30 July 2013
PurposeMulti-mission cruiser
Primary Crew40 (standard operating)
10 (minimum req.)
350 (emergency evacuation)
Auxillary Vehicles4 iPods (Soviet)
2 shuttlepods (Starfleet)
1 Type-7 shuttle (Starfleet)
Operational StatusIn Production
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The Gagarin-class explorer (also known as VVS Special Project 1) is a deep-space vessel designed by the Soviet Air Force and built by the United Federation of Planets.


Special Project 1 was designed during a general bull session following the VVS expedition to Epsilon Indi. While the expedition had succeeded well beyond expectations, the limitations in Ptichka as a long-distance explorer were clear. The Central Committee spent several long nights working out what was best about Ptichka (maneuverability, landing capability, high-resolution sensors), what they needed (better capacity for survey gear/sample return) and what they wanted (enough room so nobody was walking over others when trying to get from the bunkroom to the head), crunched the numbers and put together a basic hull that fit those criteria. Then, realizing that a) they didn't have the manufacturing capability needed to build the hull, and b) contracting out to a 'Danelaw firm would easily run in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the Central Committee stuffed the plans into the big folder marked “Someday.”

Someday arrived in mid-2012, when the Committee approached Utopia Planitia Shipyard with an eye towards licensing Special Project 1 or selling the design outright. The Trekkies at the time were expanding their shipbuilding facilities as a forerunner to building the Archer-class – the design originally known as the NX-class, which was (at the time) stuck in development hell. Special Project 1 was similar to the Archers (if somewhat larger and more comfortable). Starfleet Command decided that, if nothing else, the Soviet design would make for good practice in large-vehicle construction and operation while the engineers continued working out the problems with the Archer. Starfleet licensed Special Project 1 and the engine technology from the VVS shortly after SOS-Con. The Soviets would get the first prototype and a discounted (to the point of symbolic) price for any cruisers built afterwards.

Despite the Boskone conflict putting a dent in construction schedules, the first Special Project 1 (now renamed the Gagarin-class) left the Utopia Planitia slipways on 30 July 2013. The prototype ship GCU Yuri Gagarin was accepted into the Soviet Deep Space Exploration Forces and flew on the 2013 Delta Pavonis expedition. The second ship off the line, USS Alan Shepard launched on 28 August 2013, and was assigned to extended duty in the Alpha Centauri A system.

Gagarin-class starships are currently under construction at Utopia Planitia. The production line is expected to continue running until 2030 at the earliest.


The original Soviet design for Special Project 1 was a blended-wing body aircraft 85 m long with a wingspan of 160 m. This design incorporated two decks, one outfitted with living quarters and one built for cargo or other mission-specific operations space. Utopia engineers refined the Special Project 1 design, extending the main hull length to 100 m and wingspan to 228 m, increasing the overall height of the hull to 20.7 m and adding three more decks through the centerline.

The most visible Trekkie design element on the Gagarin-class is of course the warp drive. The warp nacelle sits on a pylon on the aft fuselage directly above the main impulse engines. The nacelle extends 33 m past the aft fuselage, bringing the ship's total length to 133 m.

In a departure from Federation designs the Gagarin-class main bridge is smaller than usual, with only four stations - captain, helm, sensors/communications and engineering. This “mini-bridge” allows for both the traditional Starfleet bridge crew as well as the more abbreviated flight-deck crews common on Soviet ships.

A size comparison between four of the largest mundane aircraft created, the An-225, the Spruce Goose, the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380, versus the Gagarin-class.
The Gagarin-class is capable of landing on the surface and taking off again. However, the ship is so large that only a very small number of airfields on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system can accommodate one even in the short term.[1] Crew and cargo transfers are usually handled via docking with a facility (using the Fenspace-standard docking collar) or through smallcraft. The Gagarin smallcraft bay can handle four Soviet iPods, two Starfleet shuttlepods or one Type-7 shuttle depending on service or mission requirements.

Designed as a research craft first and a warship second (or fifth, depending), the Gagarin-class is not heavily armed. The class has a laser point-defense system based off a similar system used by USSR Ptichka during the Boskone war. Gagarins also have two missile launchers which can fire the Starfleet standard torpedo or NOMAD survey probes.

Class Quirks

  • We Are The Trek Collective: The computer-generated voice synthesizer on all Gagarin-class ships uses the distinctive tones of Majel Barrett. This applies to ships that ought to have a different voice as well as any (non-AI) computer hooked into the ship intranet for longer than 12 hours.
  • Slit-Screen Power (part 1): In FTL flight, the view outside the windows, external cameras, etc. is a shifting two-dimensional light show very similar to that seen in the last half-hour of "2001: A Space Odyssey."
  • Slit-Screen Power (part 2): Related to the first, engine performance can be improved by playing Pink Floyd's "Echoes" for the first twenty minutes of any flight. (The original track off "Meddle," not the short version from the "Best Of" album.)


The main Gagarin model is the Block I, which is as described above. The Block Ia model is a design change requested by the Soviet Air Force in order to use the vehicle as a mothership for the VVS flagship Ptichka and the MCU Columbia. The distinctive warp nacelle is replaced by two smaller nacelles integrated into the hull at the wingroots. Where the original support pylon was located, a cradle and umbilical rig designed for space shuttles is integrated into the airframe.

Block II vehicles are expected to come into service in 2016-18, as Utopia Planitia absorbs and improves upon the technology in the Whole Fenspace Catalog. The Block IIs are expected to be faster, more reliably quirk-free and easier to maintain than the Block Is. Starfleet may or may not authorize building a Block IIa variant for their own flagship, USS Enterprise (OV-201).

Vehicles of Note

See also: List of Gagarin-class ships

GCU Yuri Gagarin

Spacecraft Registry
GCU Yuri Gagarin
Spacecraft Characteristics
FactionSoviet Air Force
Registry NumberNX-100
Launched30 July 2013
PurposeDeep space exploration
Primary CrewMaj. Elena van Oorebeek (CDR)
4 operations
35 mission specialists
Other CrewYuri (NAV)
Kei (ENG1)
Mughi (SYSOP)
Operational StatusActive
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The Yuri Gagarin was the first Gagarin-class to be contracted and built. The ship was formally delivered to the Soviet Air Force on 1 August 2013 (it had been launched with great ceremony two days earlier). Yuri Gagarin underwent shakedown with a short circum-Uranian flight, then was remanded to the VVS staging area at L2 for outfitting for the 2013 Delta Pavonis mission.

On the Pavonis expedition Yuri Gagarin performed according to expectations. The ship acted as mothership for the expedition proper and as such did not undertake any planetfall operations. The science team onboard Yuri Gagarin was responsible for charting twenty small bodies in the outer system and producing high-resolution photographic maps of the major planetary bodies.

GCU Yuri Gagarin has undertaken solo missions to Proxima Centauri, Barnard's Star and Alpha Centauri B in the interim. Plans are currently underway for a survey of the Sirius system.

Known Vehicle Quirks

  • A House Divided: When the Gagarin was constructed, the expected AI ship avatar (a highly exuberant Russian man named Yuri) sparked in the navigation mainframe. However, not long after another AI sparked in the engineering mainframe. This AI, avataring as the infamous Kei from "Dirty Pair," took an immediate dislike to her companion in the navigation system, and vice versa. Planitia engineers were almost ready to scrap the Gagarin and start again when a third AI sparked, this time in the interwave router. The router AI called itself Mughi and devoted most of its time to making sure Yuri and Kei kept to their jobs and didn't try to kill each other (and by extension, the crew). The balance of power is uneasy, but stands.

GCU Laika

Spacecraft Registry
GCU Laika
Spacecraft Characteristics
FactionSoviet Air Force
Registry NumberNCC-104
Launched12 September 2015
PurposeDeep space exploration, support for Ptichka and Columbia
Primary CrewMaj. Aristarlarus Merquoni (CDR)
Other CrewLaika (NAV)
Operational StatusActive
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Laika was the first (and so far only) Block 1a configuration Gagarin-class constructed.

Plans are afoot for Laika and Columbia to visit the 51 Pegasi system sometime in 2016-17, making this the second-furthest voyage from Sol of any fen craft.

Known Vehicle Quirks

  • Good Dog: Laika's primary AI represents itself as a medium-sized dog of uncertain pedigree. Though Laika is much more intelligent than the average dog, her avatar will act like a dog unless otherwise instructed. Furthermore, Laika only barks.[2]
  • Moio Sudno Na Vozdušnoy Poduške Polno Ugrey: Laika will accept requests, commands or even simple conversation in both Fen-standard English or Russian. She's also a huge fan of the great Russian authors.

Known Crew Quirks

  • What's That, Lassie? Despite the fact that Laika only communicates in barks and growls, anybody who spends more than a few days aboard the GCU will begin to understand the language (see Ptichka, Known Vehicle Quirks). Bunkhouse rumor says that long-term crewmembers can now understand mundane dogs & other canines. The Soviet Air Force denies all culpability, of course.

SCSV Rinna Kazamatsuri

See main article: Rinna Kazamatsuri

Ordered in 2014 but not delivered until 2022, the Rinna Kazamatsuri has the distinction of being the Gagarin-class ship that spent the longest time ever in construction drydock.


  1. The Gagarin-class is 4.46 times as long and 5.65 times as wide as a C-130J Super Hercules, with 16.28 times the empty weight of that iconic heavy carrier.
  2. The reason Laika doesn't speak normal English is because dogs speaking English is often quite dumb. See for example the 2010 Marmaduke movie. Or don't; you're better off that way.


The Gagarin-class starships have appeared in the following stories:

Related Images