Star Trek: 10 Devices That Every Starfleet Ship Has

Starfleet has gone through many changes in it's life, but some things seem to always stay the same.

star trek impulse engines voyager

The look of all Starfleet ships can be traced back to the original U.S.S. Enterprise, designed by Matt Jefferies in the 60s. Gene Roddenberry, the show's creator, was looking for an out-of-the-box aesthetic that stood apart from the typical "rocket ship" designs of classic sci-fi.

The show's team put an exceptional amount of work into making the ship believable and giving every detail on it a clear purpose. In fact, they did so well with their design that Starfleet's ships have maintained that look for generations. Almost all ships have a primary hull, connected to a saucer section by a neck, with pylons coming out the sides of the primary hull to support the warp nacelles.

Aside from these similarities in appearance, the ships also share most of the same technology as the original Enterprise. While Voyager may look a bit sleeker than the Enterprise-D, they have in common almost every main system, as do all other ships in the fleet. So, today let's explore 10 devices that can be found on every single Starfleet ship!

10. Tractor Beams

star trek impulse engines voyager

Starfleet has come a long way since the days of Archer's Enterprise when, in order to tow materials, the ship would need to deploy a physical grappling hook. By the time of The Original Series, Starfleet had adopted the much more elegant "tractor beam."

A tractor beam works on the same principle as the ship's artificial gravity. It projects graviton particles that can hold an object in place using the force of gravity and either pull it in or push it away. Starfleet uses these devices to tow damaged vessels, move dangerous asteroids, land shuttlecraft safely, and hold fleeing vessels in place.

Every Federation ship is equipped with multiple tractor beam emitters. They can even be reconfigured for specialty tasks, such as producing earthquakes on a planet (as we see in the Next generation episode Devil's Due) or deflecting weapons (in the Deep Space Nine episode Way Of The Warrior). Tractor beams are generally only used at sub-warp speeds, as towing something too fast with a tractor beam usually causes strain on the ship.

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Marcia Fry is a writer for WhatCulture and an amateur filmmaker.