The newest generation of Federation fighters and researchers in Star Trek: Discovery work aboard the USS Discovery, years before the original Star Trek series begins in the timeline. Known for its spore drive system technology and its striking design, the USS Discovery is holding a lot of information aboard its reinforced walls.
However, there’s much more to this massive, innovative ship than meets the eye. Only a true fan knows about all of these Star Trek: Discovery ship secrets. How many do you know?
10 THE SHIP’S REGISTRATION IS NCC-1031 BECAUSE OF BRYAN FULLER’S LOVE FOR HALLOWEEN.
What’s the best way to come up with some numbers for a ship’s registration number? Incorporate an important date. Former showrunner Bryan Fuller specifically chose the 1031 part to represent his favorite holiday, Halloween.
Other ships that have been featured on the show have had registration numbers with more meaningful connections to the United States Navy, or real-life spaceships, but this time, Fuller wanted to tribute October 31st. He confirmed this at Comic-Con in 2016, the same year he debuted the first look at the ship. Read on to the next point for more information about that.
9 FANS GOT THE FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE SHIP AT SAN DIEGO COMIC CON IN 2016.
During a panel about Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, Fuller announced the name of the USS Discovery for the first time. He also played a never-before-seen video of the ship’s initial test flight. The final design ended up being a little different than what was announced here, and Fuller admitted it was a work in progress at the time.
Here’s another fun fact: that morning, Fuller had gone and served coffee and donuts to all the fans who were waiting in line. However, not everyone was impressed. This announcement received a lukewarm reception among fans, sparking criticism and controversy at the time.
8 THE FINAL DESIGN IS BASED ON DESIGNS FOR THE ENTERPRISE IN THE ABANDONED FILM PLANET OF THE TITANS.
Originally drawn by Ralph McQuarrie, the Enterprise designs were supposed to be used in Planet of the Titans in the 1970s, but the film never made it past the pre-production stages. McQuarrie had worked on Star Wars before being hired on to work on Planet of the Titans, and as a result, his drawings were often compared to the Star Wars Star Destroyer ship.
To be fair, they didn’t have a script to work with at that point, so he and production designer Ken Adam just used sketches and concepts. The final version of the ship was completed in December 2016.
7 THE SHIP’S MESS HALL CONTAINS IMAGES OF PREVIOUS SHIPS LOST IN THE FEDERATION-KLINGON WAR.
As most fans know, the Federation and Klingons had an intense showdown in 2256-57. This war is shown in season 1, episode 2, “Battle at the Binary Stars.” It's also known to be one of the most important battles in the Star Trek universe. If you look closely at the walls of the mess hall in episode 103, “Context is For Kings,” you can see memorial ship drawings.
There's the USS Shenzhou, which was abandoned after the war, and the USS Europa, which was destroyed in battle. According to lore, the Discovery was converted from a Crossfield-class science vessel to a full-on warship when this war broke out.
6 IT CAN TRAVEL 90 LIGHT YEARS IN 1.3 SECONDS.
The USS Discovery’s signature component is its spore drive propulsion system. That’s no secret to any fan, but just how fast it can actually go may surprise you. Traveling 90 light years in 1.3 seconds is no joke. For a vessel that can hold the 136-person crew and features at least 15 decks, that’s pretty impressive.
The spore drive system itself is made from harvested fungus, or mushrooms, that produce mycelium spores (real name: prototaxites stellaviatori). When installed and functioning properly, the spore drive is designed to allow the Discovery to jump across the mycelial network via the mycelial plane.
5 SECURITY ON THE SHIP IS INTENSE.
Since the USS Discovery was designated as a science vessel, and it includes that experimental spore drive system, it is the source of some seriously intense research. A lot of that research is top secret and fairly dangerous, so the ship is equipped with a seriously intense security system that goes beyond any Starfleet protocol requirements. It’s probably one of the most complex systems on any Star Trek ship.
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For example, the ship features breath print identification lock systems, armed security guards, many restricted access points, a complex compartmentalized system, and much more. When the war broke out, all of this research was used for black ops military purposes.
4 THE DISCOVERY SET IS ACTUALLY THE SAME SET THAT WAS USED FOR THE USS SHENZHOU AND THE USS GLENN.
This is something you can kind of just guess because it just makes sense for the production crew and the set designers. Why spend the extra money on a new set when you can just repurpose an already great set? That would be a waste. All they had to do was make a few little changes here and there, and voila! The USS Discovery!
The ship’s shuttle bay is also completely virtual and doesn’t actually exist at all. So, that’s made up by a green screen that the actors stand around. Talk about a great way to recycle in the entertainment industry.
3 EVENTUALLY, THE SHIP’S COMPUTER BECOMES SENTIENT AND NAMES HERSELF ZORA.
In the Short Treks episode “Calypso,” it’s revealed that the crew eventually abandons the ship some thousand years or so after 2410. After being ordered to stay put until the crew returned in the future, the ship’s advanced computer software begins to do what we all fear robots will do in the end: becomes self-aware and sentient.
She names herself Zora and has a fascination with the Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face. In “Calypso,” she is seen in avatar form when Craft boards the ship. I mean, she had to just sit there for a thousand years. You’d probably want to become a human, too, if that were you.
2 ITS MIRROR UNIVERSE COUNTERPART IS THE ISS DISCOVERY.
The ISS Discovery is basically the same design as the USS Discovery, but it’s missing the signature spore drive system. In season 1, episode 10, “Despite Yourself,” the USS Discovery ends up in the mirror universe. At this point, the crew of the USS Discovery determines that the ISS Discovery is a version of the vessel that has been stuck there.
These vessels seem to switch places and eventually cross back over to the prime universe. Its commander is Captain Sylvia Tilly, who had gained the position by killing her previous commander. When it returns to the prime universe, it is immediately destroyed in the Federation-Klingon war.
1 THERE ARE MANY REASONS BEHIND THE NAME “DISCOVERY.”
Despite what some may think, there isn’t one specific reason that Fuller decided to name the ship (and the series) Discovery. There are actually a few reasons, all of which have to do with space travel, of course. Firstly, there’s a Stanley Kubrick element: Fuller was influenced by the Discovery in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Secondly, there’s also NASA’s ship The Discovery. Thirdly, there’s the meaning of space exploration and discovery that is central to the theme of the show. Discovery is what unites audiences. It brings together all of the elements of the show, from the aliens to the technology and the different universes.