Horizon
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In accordance with Federation and Starfleet General Codes, the following objectives have been established for the Horizon Class Starship:

* To bring the latest advancements in Federation exploration, scientific, tactical, and defensive technologies into service.
* To explore the farthest reaches of Federation territory and far beyond known space.
* To explore previously dangerous interstellar anomalies while providing a safe environment for the crew.
* To safeguard Federation law, culture, tradition, and citizens within Federation territory and beyond.
* To provide top-of-the-line defense for the ship, crew, and surrounding areas against the modern day major threats.
* To act autonomous far from Federation support for an extended period.

Length: 545.5 meters
Width: 221.4 meters
Height: 56 meters
Weight: 2,136,566 metric tons
Cargo Capacity: 43,307.24 metric tons
Decks: 15

Hull: A Nickel/Titanium (NiTi) alloy skeletal structure supports the Duranium/Tritanium composite hull. A thick NiTi reinforced ablative armor skin covers 96% of the hull (excluding bussard collectors, warp grills, etc). Authors note: NiTi is the modern day “smart” alloy capable of reforming its original shape under heat.

Since its birth, the Federation had been committed to a mission of exploration and to “boldly go where no one had gone before.” (Kirk/Picard) This period of focused exploration brought several explorer ships such as the pre-federation NX class, the Orbeth class, and the modern Nova class. While some classes had been designed for multi-role vessels like the Constitution class, Starfleet lacked a solely designed warship.

Starting with Starfleet’s first confirmed contact with the Borg in 2365, and continuing with the Dominion War, Cardassian conflict, and Romulan/Reman conflict, the Federation entered a period of hostilities with several local Alpha and Beta quadrant super powers. This period forced the Federation’s original mission of exploration to give way to new warships such as the Defiant and Prometheus class warships.

Also during this time, Starfleet gained new insight in long term autonomous voyages through uncharted space. Through the experiences of the Intrepid class U.S.S. Voyager, and the Nova class U.S.S. Equinox, both in the Delta Quadrant, Starfleet learned of the possible hostilities and hazards of both the Delta Quadrant, and in exploring uncharted space.

After the Dominion war; the wrap up of the Romulan/Reman coup; and the safe arrival of the U.S.S. Voyager from the Delta Quadrant, the Federation once again has the focus of exploration in mind. With the insight gained from the experience of hostilities all over the galaxy, the Starfleet Design Council has found need for a ship capable of executing new exploration and scientific discoveries, while simultaneously securing the tactical and defense advantage in potential hostile situations.

General Overview:

The Horizon class was originally designed with the anticipation of the Dominion War progressing far into the 2380’s. Like the Defiant and Prometheus class ships before, the Horizon was meant to be a pure warship focused on combating a variety of hostile enemies. Almost a year after the Dominion War however, the Federation’s focus slowly turned towards exploration once more. The requirement of new exploration vessels, as well as the extra security Starfleet wanted out of caution, caused a redesign of the Horizon class.
The vessel is designed on the principle that uncharted space has proven to be dangerous and hostile in the Federation’s history. The Horizon class is designed to explore these dangerous areas through the use of tactical technologies typically used in war time. These technologies serve a duel function: they enable the ship to deal with hostile encounters with races far from Federation space, and they enable the ship to engage in dangerous surveys such as the survey of a red gas nebula. This vessel is truly meant for the “wild frontier”.

Construction History:

Several months after the end of the Dominion War, Starfleet Command was once again setting its eye on the future: specifically the future of the fleet. Since entire fleets had been mostly, if not totally destroyed during major conflicts, the Federation was left with several gaps in defensive, offensive, and explorative capabilities. This prompted Starfleet Command to issue new requests to all major fleet yards for new ships and new classes. While most of Starfleet Command believed the main focus should be on the defensive nature of the fleet, a few others pressed for new explorative capabilities in the fleet as well. This small minority received their clearance to proceed nearly six months after the war.

The task of designing a new heavy explorer was given to the Skunk Works of the Advanced Starship Design Bureau (ASDB). With a history of designing the latest in war technology – named after the original Lockheed Skunk Works from Earth – this assignment was a new direction for the Skunk Works. Over the next two years, the ASDB branch developed Project 342XJ: a supplement to the older Galaxy/Nebula classes – many of which were lost or damaged during the war. By the completion of the final draft design, the only thing left was the official naming of the project: Horizon.

By 2378, the Horizon Project had moved from the design stage to the prototype stage. At the time, Starfleet was still focused on reconstructing the fleet, which meant fleet yard space was tight. The production scheduled was delayed three months before a stardock at the San Francisco Fleet yards above Earth was available. The keel of the U.S.S. Horizon was finally laid down on September 6, 2378. The next two and half years marked the slow construction of the Horizon.

During the construction phase, both the primary construction and design teams faced several challenges. During the first month, a shortage of processed-grade duranium forced the design team to seek alternative material sources for the ship’s structural skeleton. Their solution came in the form of a Nickel/Titanium alloy – materials both readily available at the time – that forms a “smart” metal developed in the 21st century. Typically used in the construction of long range cargo ships, the new alloy offered an unexpected boon in the structural design since it was designed to reform its shape.

The second major challenge occurred one year and two months before the ship’s initial completion. Originally the ship was designed to make use of the Mercurion Inova APD-01 warpcore found on the Intrepid class starship. The ASDB designers had picked the APD-01 for the swirl chamber, allowing for greater structural integrity and power output. By the time the warpcore installation was supposed to occur, construction teams soon realized that the bracings that held the core in place were incompatible with the NiTi skeleton (which relied on a slight curved structure instead of a rectangular structure). This discovery quickly prompted Mercurion Inova Inc. to modify their latest swirl chamber reactor, the APD-06, to fit with in the given space of the Horizon class, as well as to be compatible with the NiTi skeleton. Three months after the delay, the new warpcore was finally installed.

Like other class pathfinders before her, the Horizon pathfinder delayed official commissioning upon completion. The commissioning ceremony wouldn’t take place until 2382, two years after completion. In the mean time, the new pathfinder would become the test bed for several new technologies designed in both tactical and exploration categories. The ships shakedown cruise would also take place during this time frame.

On stardate 59694.8, nearly six years after the initial design request, the U.S.S. Horizon was finally commissioned into full service. Full production of the Horizon class came into full swing two months later with the keel of the U.S.S. Threshold being laid at Antares Fleet Yards. Currently, projections estimate twelve more Horizon class ships to be completed within the next six years.

The U.S.S. Horizon has been stationed in the Gamma Quadrant as part of the Megiddo Fleet

*The Horizon Photo and Class was Created by Lt. Jackson Concade of the Megiddo Project, all credit is due to him for this class."

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