Every Way Archer’s Enterprise Is Different From Kirk & Picard’s

Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) commanded the first starship called Enterprise in Star Trek, and much of its design and functionality was a precursor to the Enterprise ships led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). As a prequel set in the mid-22nd century, Star Trek: Enterprise (originally titled simply Enterprise) allowed the franchise to retcon much of the starship’s familiar technology and tropes originated

Star Trek: Enterprise retconned the NX-01 Enterprise as the first starship of that name. Since it launched in 2151 before the founding of the United Federation of Planets, the NX-01 Enterprise was the flagship of United Earth’s Starfleet, and it was the first Terran vessel to explore deep space. Captain Archer’s historic voyage laid the groundwork for the formation of what would formally become the United Federation of Planets in 2261. As a prequel, Star Trek: Enterprise also followed the basic formula of Star Trek: The Original Series so that T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) became the first Vulcan First Officer of an Earth starship, predating Spock (Leonard Nimoy) by a century. The NX-01 Enterprise itself introduced the precursor of what would become standard and famous features of Kirk and Picard’s 23rd and 24th-century Enterprises.

Related: Why Enterprise’s Trip & T’Pol Romance Was So Controversial (But Still Good)


6/6 Archer’s Enterprise Was Smaller Than Kirk’s & Picard’s

NX-01 Enterprise Horizon

Captain Archer’s NX-01 Enterprise had a crew complement of only 83, made up almost entirely of humans except for T’Pol, who held the dual role of Science Officer and First Officer, and Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley), the ship’s Denobulan physician. Archer’s crew complement grew when the MACO space marines came aboard in Star Trek: Enterprise season 3. The NX-01 was far smaller than Captain Kirk’s deep space heavy cruiser, the Constitution-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701, which had a crew that numbered 433. And Kirk’s crew size was double the number of the Enterprise under its previous commander, Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

In the 24th century of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard’s Galaxy-class Enterprise-D boasted a crew of over 1,000, which includes Starfleet Officers, their families, and other multi-species personnel. The NX-01 was also the first flagship of Starfleet, establishing the legacy that Picard’s Enterprise-D held in the 24th century. Pike and Kirk’s Enterprise was later retconned to be Starfleet’s flagship in the 23rd century, just as the Enterprise in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies was the flagship of the Federation in the Kelvin Timeline.

5/6 Archer’s Enterprise’s Top Speed Was Warp 5

NX-01 Enterprise Warp 5 Engine

The NX-01 Enterprise boasted Starfleet’s first Warp 5 engine designed by Captain Archer’s father, Henry Archer, which was based upon the original warp engine built by Dr. Zephram Cochrane (James Cromwell) in Star Trek: First Contact. Cochrane’s historic first warp space flight achieved the speed of light, but it was still too slow for meaningful deep space travel. Dr. Archer’s Warp 5 engine made deep space exploration possible for humans, and it was a milestone achievement for its era.

However, Warp 5 is still incredibly slow compared to the later Enterprise ships. A century after the NX-01, Captain Kirk’s Constitution-class Enterprise had a top speed of Warp 8. The maximum warp of Captain Picard’s Enterprise-D was 9.8. The upper limits of warp could be exceeded for short periods of time, but the later Enterprises could simply blow the doors off of Captain Archer’s NX-01 were they ever to theoretically race.

Related: Every Time Star Trek Brought Back Kirk’s Enterprise Bridge

4/6 Archer’s Enterprise Had Different Weapons & Defenses

NX-01 Enterprise Damagd

Kirk and Picard’s Enterprises had very similar and iconic weapons, such as phasers, photon torpedoes, and deflector shields for defense. To hammer home how new Starfleet and the NX-01’s technology was in the 22nd century, Star Trek: Enterprise gave Captain Archer’s ship weapons and defenses that were primitive precursors to Kirk’s and Picard’s. The NX-01 used unreliable and substantially weaker spacial torpedoes at first, which were replaced by photonic torpedoes (the harbinger of photon torpedoes) at the end of Star Trek: Enterprise season 2. The NX-01 also had phase cannons, the predecessor to phasers.

Meanwhile, United Earth’s Starfleet completely lacked deflector shield technology in the mid-22nd century (even though their allies, the Vulcans, already had deflector shields). Instead, the NX-01 used polarized hull plating, which would harden the Enterprise’s hull to defend against attacks. Unfortunately, polarized hull plating proved to be an insufficient defense, but it was the best theEnterprise era’s United Earth had at the time. The NX-01 also didn’t have tractor-beam technology. Instead, it utilized a device called the Grappler to latch onto other starships and objects in space.

3/6 NX-01 Enterprise Had A Decontamination Chamber

Star Trek Enterprise Decontamination

Perhaps the most notable feature Captain Archer’s NX-01 had that Kirk and Picard’s Enterprises lacked was the decontamination chamber. In Star Trek: Enterprise‘s early era of space exploration, the NX-01’s crew had to utilize a special gel and spend ample time in decontamination after returning from away missions. Enterprise’s infamous decontamination scenes were also purposely designed to give the prequel a sexier edge that the prior Star Trek shows lacked since they involved Archer and his crew stripping to their undergarments and rubbing decontamination gel on each other. Kirk and Picard’s transporters instantly provide decontamination, making the NX-01’s chamber unnecessary.

2/6 Shuttlepods Were Safer Than NX-01 Enterprise’s Transporters

NX-01 Shuttlepod

Captain Archer’s NX-01 Enterprise lacked the huge hangar bays that were standard in Kirk and Picard’s Enterprises. Instead, the NX-01 used shuttlepods that docked from the bottom of the saucer section. Although the NX-01 had a functioning transporter, the crew was wary of using them for biomatter, and especially of beaming people in and out of the ship. Instead, the shuttlepods were the preferred mode of transport to and from planets.

Related: Why Star Trek Should Resurrect Trip (& Ignore Enterprise’s Finale)

1/6 Life Aboard Archer’s Enterprise Was Different From Later Star Treks

NX-01 Enterprise Mess Hall

Kirk’s Enterprise boasted far more amenities for life in deep space than Captain Archer’s NX-01. Captain Archer’s NX-01 had protein resequencers, which were precursors to Star Trek’s miraculous food replicators, but Archer’s Enterprise carried real food aboard. The Captain and crew’s meals were also prepared by a chef, who was never seen in Star Trek: Enterprise. A chef, who was similarly never seen, was also occasionally mentioned in Star Trek: The Original Series and the Star Trek movies, and the Enterprise-A even had a galley in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Compared to the NX-01, or even Kirk’s NCC-1701, Picard’s Enterprise-D was a practically massive floating city in space that housed the population of a small town. The Enterprise-D also had holodecks, which Kirk and Archer’s starships lacked. The NX-01 Enterprise was more akin to living aboard a submarine in space; its interior was more utilitarian, although Captain Archer’s Enterprise had amenities like a gymnasium, and the crew often held movie nights. When its chronological context is taken into consideration, NX-01 in Star Trek: Enterprise was the foundation for what would become the larger and more powerful versions of the Starship Enterprise.

Next: Strange New Worlds Makes Pike’s Enterprise Like Picard’s In 1 Big Way

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