Possible Namesakes of Federation Starships

by Anthony Misztal

Ship naming in recent Star Trek is very political and therefore not a suited subject for an in-universe discussion.
This is an attempt to find namesakes for 54 Federation ships of classic Trek, whose official in-universe naming is indefinite or disputable - in some cases because the name is an in-joke in real life. Example: The 24th century Starfleet ship USS Frederickson would not be named for 20th century scenic artist Anthony Frederickson. A famous person of the name Frederickson may be the actual 24th century namesake.

Note that only ships are listed for which we could find suited namesakes. See Federation Ship Names A-K, L-Z for the complete listing of all names.


Alphabetical List

USS Ambassador Could be named after HMS Ambassador, a Second World War minesweeper; or Ambassador (clipper), a British tea clipper, one of the last composite ships.

Annotation It could reference the literal meaning of the word "ambassador" (formally a designated representative of a state, country, non-governmental or nonprofit organization, multilateral organization, political party or body politic that has been selected by the leading figure of such and credentialed with a personal letter of credence from the ruler, head of state, or organizational figurehead introducing the designated ambassador as their designated emissary or envoy for their diplomatic mission to those who shall receive the ambassador) to mean that this ship would in essence be an ambassador of sorts representing the UFP as this class was for the flagship of the Federation in the 2340's (i.e. Enterprise-C).

USS Arcos Could be named after the Taifa of Arcos, a medieval kingdom in what is now southern Spain; Arcos (San Blas), a ward in San Blas (Madrid); Arcos de la Frontera, a town in southern Spain; Arcos de las Salinas, a town in the province of Teruel, Aragón, Spain; Arcos (Anadia), a parish (freguesia) in Anadia Municipality, Portugal; Arcos (Braga), a parish in Braga, Portugal; Arcos, Minas Gerais, in Brazil.

ISS Avenger Could be named after Avenger-class escort carrier, a British aircraft carrier; HMS Avenger, ships in the Royal Navy; USS Avenger, ships in the US Navy; or Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship, a class of U.S. Navy mine countermeasure ships.

Annotation This may also be a reference to the non-canon Avenger Class starship (similar to the Miranda Class) shown in Ships of Starfleet: Volume One book (which was apparently used by Star Trek: The Next Generation production staff. They used one top schematic of a Miranda or Avenger class ship from the book to design the Soyuz-class USS Bozeman.)

USS Concorde May also be named after the HMS Concorde (1783), a sailing frigate of the Royal Navy.

SS Deirdre The ship could be named after the LÉ Deirdre (P20), a ship in the Irish Naval Service.

USS Donovan Could be named after the HMS Donovan, a minesweeper launched 1918, sold 1921; or the infantry landing ship Empire Battleaxe operated as HMS Donovan from 1944 to 1946.

Annotation In real life this ship could be named after Giovanni Donovan, model maker for "Star Trek Generations" and "Star Trek: First Contact".

USS Eagle May be named after HMS Eagle, the name of various British Royal Navy ships; USS Eagle, the name of various United States Navy ships.

Annotation Besides being named after the Lunar Lander Eagle, this ship may be named after the Eagle Transporter spacecraft from the TV show Space: 1999.

DEV Eagle Valley Could be named after many cities or towns in the United States or Canada.

Annotation It is possible that some member of the production staff of Star Trek may have lived in one of these cities at some point in their life.

USS Elkins Could be named for one of the many cities or towns of Elkins in the United States, Mount Elkins, East Antarctica, or Terence James Elkins (born 1936), American physicist.

Annotation These places or people could be an in-universe explanation instead of VFX supervisor Judy Elkins.

ITA Elmira Could be named for one of the many cities or towns in Canada or the United States.

Annotation It is possible that some member of the production staff of Star Trek may have lived in one of these cities at some point in their life.

USS Entente Could also be named after the Anglo-Russian Entente, 1907 between the United Kingdom and Russia.

Annotation Since the USS Entente was to possibly be a Federation-class dreadnought from the non-canon book Star Fleet Technical Manual, it would make sense to name this most powerful ship after the powerful allies of World War I (They were informally referenced as The Entente, The Triple Entente, The Entente Powers, and The Entente Forces).

USS Excalibur Most likely named after the HMS Excalibur, a ship in the Royal Navy, if not for the famous sword itself.

USS Fearless Could be named after the Fearless-class landing platform dock, a class of British Royal Navy amphibious warfare ships, HMS Fearless, various ships of the British Royal Navy, or the USS Fearless, various ships the United States Navy.

USS Firebrand Could be named after the HMS Firebrand, any of several vessels that the Royal Navy operated, or the CFAV Firebrand, a fireboat in the Canadian Armed Forces Maritime Command.

USS Frederickson Could be named after Frederickson, Washington, USA (instead of Anthony Frederickson).

USS Freedom Could be named after the USS Freedom, any of three US Navy ships.

USS Galaxy Possibly named after the USS Galaxy (IX-54), US Navy ship.

Annotation This could be the case besides naming the largest starship built by the UFP after the literal definition of the word Galaxy (to denote the size and possibly role of this type of starship - akin to Nebula class and Nova class).

USS Gallico May be named after either Elisha Gallico (died 1583), Palestinian Jewish Talmudist; or Paul Gallico (1897-1976), American novelist.

USS Horatio May also be named after Horatio, Arkansas; or Horatio, South Carolina in the United States.

USS Horizon May be named after the Horizon-class frigate, a multi-national collaboration to produce a new generation of anti-air warfare frigates; or the New Horizons, the first spacecraft expected to flyby and study the dwarf planet Pluto and its moons.

SS Kobayashi Maru Could be named after (or had its port in orbit above) Kobayashi, Miyazaki, city in Japan.

USS Lantree See below

Annotation Could be named, in real life, after John and Honey Lantree, group members of the British beat/pop group The Honeycombs. What significance that has to the production staff of Star Trek The Next Generation, who knows.

USS LaSalle May be named after the USS La Salle (AGF-3), or the USS La Salle (AP-102).

USS Liberator Could be named after the American freighter SS Liberator that sunk March 19th, 1942 due to a Nazi submarine torpedo strike in World War II; or the (SS) Liberator a United States Navy Cargo Ship (later transport).

Annotation When researching this name I found out the SS Liberator sunk off Cape Hatteras. This could somehow explain the naming of the SS Hatteras by the Star Trek production staff. Then again it could be a coincidence.

USS Malone Could be named after Edmond Malone, Irish Shakespearean scholar and editor of the works of William Shakespeare.

SS Merchantman Could be named after the ST Merchantman, a tug in service with United Towing Co Ltd from 1946 to 1962.

Annotation It is not very probable that this ship was the source of the name. It is most likely taken from the term Merchantman: any non-naval vessel, including tankers, freighters, or cargo ships, but not troopships.

USS Merced Could also be named after Merced, Nelson, Latino politician and activist.

USS Nash Could be named for one of the many cities in the United States or the United Kingdom. Or for the mathematician and Nobel laureate John Forbes Nash.

USS Nebula Most likely named after the word Nebula to denote the size and possibly role of this type of starship (akin to Galaxy and Nova class).

SS Norkova Possibly named after Pavla Norková, mayor of Brod nad Dyjí, Czech Republic.

USS Nova Most likely named after the word Nova to denote the size and possibly role of this type of starship (akin to Galaxy and Nebula class).

USS Peterson Could be named after the USS Peterson, two US Navy ships of that name.

(U)SS Raven Could be named after the HMS Raven, the name of 14 ships and a shore establishment of the British Royal Navy; or the USS Raven, the name of several United States Navy ships. (Although I doubt the Federation would name a science vessel after a historical military vessel.)

USS Reliant Could be named after the destroyer HMS Reliant, in service during World War II.

USS Renegade Could be named after the 19th century ship HMS Renegade.

USS Republic Could be named after the SS Republic of 1853, a ship lost in an 1865 hurricane with a large cargo of gold coins; SS Republic of 1872, a liner of the White Star Line; RMS Republic of 1903, the second White Star liner to bear the name, and the first ship ever to signal distress by wireless telegraphy, lost after colliding with the SS Florida.

USS Saber May be named after the HMS Sabre, three ships of the Royal Navy.

Annotation The class lead ship USS Saber may have been given this name to denote that this was more of a tactical (war) ship, although Starfleet doesn't officially acknowledge they have ships made for war (i.e. Defiant class).

USS Seaquest Could be named after the Sea Quest, a semi-submersible oil platform, or Seaquest State Park, a state park located in the northwest US state of Washington.

USS Seaview May be named after the city of the same name in either New Zealand, Australia, or England.

USS Sentinel Could be named after one of many mountain peaks around the world, or one of many towns in the United States.

Annotation Most likely this name came from Arthur C. Clarke's short story The Sentinel, which was the basis for the book and film "2001: A Space Odyssey".

USS Shiku Maru Possibly named after the Mogau Shiku, a group of caves in China that hold Buddhist statues and frescoes.

Annotation In Japanese Shiku is a verb that means "to spread out, lay".

USS Sovereign May be named after the HMS Sovereign, the name of more than one English warship or British Royal Navy ship; Sovereign of the Seas, also known as HMS Sovereign, an English warship launched in 1637 and in service until 1696, renamed Royal Sovereign in 1660; USS Sovereign, the name of more than one United States Navy ship.

Annotation It could be possible that the word Sovereign was chosen to denote the fact that this class of starship would control or lead areas of exploration as a sovereign in the historical sense would control or lead authority over areas controlled by the parent nation.

USS Spector Possibly named after the US Navy ship USS Spector (AM-306); or Norman Spector, former Canadian Ambassador to Israel.

USS Springfield Most likely named after the USS Springfield (SSN-761) a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine commissioned in 1993 and currently in active service; USS Springfield (CL-66), was a light cruiser commissioned in 1944, and later converted to a guided-missile cruiser serving until 1974. USS Springfield (1862) was a stern-wheel steamboat in use during the American Civil War; USS Springfield (ID-2575), was a steamboat chartered during 1918 and 1919.

USS Stargazer Possibly named after the aircraft Stargazer, which is a modified Lockheed L-1011 airliner converted to launch Pegasus rockets into orbit for scientific study.

Annotation Unfortunately this aircraft didn't start operating until 1994 which meant that the production staff of Star Trek didn't get the name from it. It is interesting to note that a portion of Gene Roddenberry's ashes were placed aboard a Pegasus Rocket on the Stargazer aircraft and launched into orbit in 1997. Of course, it may also take directly from the word "stargazer" which means an astronomer and references to the starship's star mapping missions.

USS Strata This name may reference the word "stratosphere".

USS Trial Possibly named for the HMS Trial, which was involved in the search for Prince Charles Edward Stuart after his defeat at Culloden and was also the first posting of Adam Duncan, Viscount Duncan of Camperdown, who later defeated the Dutch fleet off Camperdown in 1797, considered one of the most significant actions in naval history.

Annotation If I remember correctly the Trial was a Miranda class starship made from an AMT Reliant kit for some battle scene in DS9. I believe Doug Drexler mentioned on his blog Drex Files that the name "Trial" came from rearranging the letters of "Reliant" in the kit decals. Its registry is NCC-1948 on the model.

USS Trinculo Possibly named after the 19th century ship HMS Trinculo, one of the natural satellites of Uranus, or the crater of the same name on Miranda which is also a satellite of Uranus.

USS Valdemar Possibly named after the Royal Danish Navy ship HDMS Valdemar Sejr, which in turn is named for Valdemar II, the noted medieval Danish king.

USS Valkyrie Possibly named after Project Valkyrie, which is a theoretical spacecraft that could accelerate up to 92% the speed of light and and decelerate afterward, carrying a small human crew to another star system.

Annotation Who's to say that this spacecraft didn't exist in the Star Trek universe and actually was operational? Maybe it was a precursor to Zefram Cochrane's Phoenix in some fashion? This ship may also be named after the VF-1 Valkyrie fighter aircraft featured in the Macross anime series.

USS Venture Possibly named after the HMCS Venture, a Royal Canadian Navy training vessel; or the Sea Venture, a 17th-century English sailing ship which was a highly unusual vessel for her day.

Annotation The Sea Venture wrecked in Bermuda and is widely thought to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare's The Tempest. This would be another Shakespearean link in the Star Trek universe. It could also be named after the SS Venture, a ship registered in Surabaya, chartered by film director Carl Denham to travel to Skull Island in both King Kong (1933 film) and King Kong (2005 film). It also was an InGen owned ship, featured in "Jurassic Park: The Lost World", used to transport a Tyrannosaurus from Isla Sorna to San Diego. Another reason this ship may have received this name is for the literal meaning of the word: a major undertaking, synonymous with adventure.

USS Wolcott Most likely named after Oliver Wolcott, one of the signers of the United States Declaration of Independence.

USS Zhukov Possibly named after Mikhail Zhukov (born 1917), a Soviet scientist in the field of aerodynamics and low temperature plasma.

Annotation This person would make a better candidate than the Soviet military officer.

USS Zodiac Possibly named after the astronomical meaning of the word Zodiac: the ring of constellations that lines the ecliptic, which is the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year; the HMS Zodiac (R 54) Z class Destroyer, or Zodiac (schooner), a historic schooner homeported in Seattle, Washington, USA.


Back to Starship Articles index

View as gallery