Starbase 74

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The Enterprise-D approaching Starbase 74

Starbase 74 is the largest known orbital facility -- in fact, the largest structure of any kind -- built by the United Federation of Planets. It orbits the Federation planet Tarsas III.[1]


Starbase 74 is significantly larger than Earth Spacedock (seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock), even though the two structures have the same outward appearance. In fact, the proportions of Starbase 74 compared to the Enterprise-D seem to be similar to the proportions of Spacedock compared to the original Enterprise .

The figures (from non-Canon sources) indicate that Starbase 74 is approximately 3.36 times longer than Earth Spacedock and give it nearly forty times Spacedock's overall volume.

Earth Spacedock is described as approximately 3.6km in diameter and 4.6km tall[6]. Based on the size comparison using starships, Starbase 74 is approximately 12.1 kilometers in diameter and 15.5 km long (excluding the antenna towers at either end of the station, which would make the station over 18 km in overall length).

Graham Kennedy did a size comparison using the Spacedock doors for his Daystrom Institute Technical Library, giving a ratio of 2.3 to 1, which would give Starbase 74 a diameter of 8.8 kilometers and an overall height of 13.4 kilometers.[7]

In Debates

Trekkies sometimes argue that the large scale of Starbase 74 demonstrates that the Federation has the industrial capacity to build thousands of starships per year, even though the timeframe for the construction of Starbase 74 is unknown (albeit well within the 200-year history of the Federation).

Warsies counter-argue that, regardless of the time spent building it, many of the complex systems needed for a starship -- such as mass lightening systems, warp drive, impulse engines, and other systems needed for a vessel expected to travel between star systems under its own power -- are not necessary for a space station. Warp drives, in particular, comprise a large portion of a starship's overall volume. Consequently, the construction of a space station would be, in many ways, much simpler than the construction of a starship, even if the station is very large in comparison.

In reply, Trekkies argue that the stations still possess many systems in common, such as weapons, shields, limited forms of propulsion (such as thrusters), power plants, fuel storage, etc. The systems cited, however, generally do not have the same scaling issues as main engines.

Trekkies also note that the Federation built not one but at least four of these mammoth stations. Additional stations of this class include the following: [8]

  • Starbase 133 (TNG "Remember Me")
  • Lya Station Alpha (TNG "Ensign Ro")
  • Starbase 84 (TNG "Phantasms")

Also, a large space station of unconfirmed size was observed housing a Galaxy-class starship under construction at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards;[9] it's interior docking bay was virtually identical to Spacedock and Starbase 74.

See Also


  1. TNG "11001001"
  2. Star Trek Encyclopedia size comparison charts
  3. Star Trek Encyclopedia size comparison charts
  4. Star Trek the Next Generation U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints
  5. SciPubTech Cutaway poster
  6. ST3 ILM size charts
  7. Daystrom Institute Technical Library
  8. Visual FX for these stations reuses a significant amount of footage from "11001001", thus the scaling remains essentially the same between all four stations by default.
  9. TNG "Booby Trap"