Categorized | SF QA

Star Trek : What does NCC-1701 serial number stand for?

startrek uss enterprise image original ncc 1701Q) Can you tell me what the serial numbers on the Starship Enterprise stand for? Many thanks.

A) It doesn’t stand for anything.

The Star Trek Encyclopedia states:

“NCC doesn’t stand for anything. It was devised by Matt Jefferies, art director of the first Star Trek series. Jefferies, who is a pilot, based NCC on 20th century aircraft registration codes. In such 20th century usage, an “N” first letter refers to an aircraft registered in the USA. A “C” second letter refers to a civil aircraft.

Jefferies added a second “C”, just because he thought it looked better. Think of it as being like the arbitrary three-letter code that’s part of automobile license plate numbers in many states.”

Great Scifi For Trekkers!

89 Comments For This Post

  1. phules99 Says:

    in the star trek 2009 movie with commentary, they question this also. at mark 1:51:47 (as an answer to the question brought up earlier in the commentary), they say that it was matt jeffries and: N= registered in united states, c = civil aircraft, c (2) = space, 1701 is the seventeenth design, first ship - they did not discuss the source of the information

  2. Robert L Borowski Says:

    Where did NCC-1701 ORIGINATE? In the Stephen Whitfield-Gene Roddenberry-authored book, The Making of Star Trek. Roddenberry indicated that the starting point was the fact that “NC” is one of the international aircraft registration codes assigned to aircraft registered in the United States; the second “C” was added for differentiation. The “1701″ was from the house across the street from where Mr. Roddenberry grew up.

  3. Coogan Says:

    in the star trek 2009 movie with commentary, they question this also. at mark 1:51:47 (as an answer to the question brought up earlier in the commentary), they say that it was matt jeffries and: N= registered in united states, c = civil aircraft, c (2) = space, 1701 is the seventeenth design, first ship - they did not discuss the source of the information

  4. Tom Mudie Says:

    I heard that NCC 1701 is a reference to Yale University. It was founded in 1701 in what was then called New Haven, Colony of Connecticut (pre American Revolution so Connecticut was not yet a state. Gene Roddenberry went to Columbia, another Ivy League school but has many ties to Yale (example a screening of The Cage). NCC 1701 is a tribute to Yale.

  5. New York Forum Says:

    1701 was the charter for Yale.
    Why didn’t they use 1640 since
    Yale’s roots can be traced back to then?

  6. Dean Says:

    NCC 1701 Navel Construction Contract

  7. Robert Says:

    N.C.C is the Star Trek Universe stands for Navel Construction Contract according to the star trek encyclopedia.

  8. beck Says:

    You are all wrong: New Constellation Class

  9. Izzz Says:

    National Construction Companies….the builders of the Enterprise. This info is from a promotional schematic of the layout, when the first Star Trek movie came out.

  10. Izzz Says:

    the promotional was a poster that showed a layout of the levels, propulsion, the builders, etc…..wish i would have kept the poster, cause it sure would be worth alot of money?

  11. Jim Says:

    Too many conflicting answers here, but all of them are plausible. This happens now and then, when trying to reconcile TOS, TNG, DS9, VOYAGER and the string of feature films based on Gene Roddenberry’s concept, and the little details that didn’t really mean anything in the first place. It all leads to one conclusion:
    No Clear Continuity.

  12. Jason Says:

    Naval Constitution Class

  13. Mike Says:

    NCC Are arbitrary letters, but according to the production team on the 2009 star trek, 1701 means 17th design 1st ship, the USS Enterprise being the first Constituion class vessel apparently.

  14. Bruce Tennant Says:

    The cc is Constitution Class I was told. The class of starship the original Enterprise was in

  15. Mario Dupuis Says:

    @ Bruce Tennant: All ship classes in Starfleet, excluding the prototypes, bear the NCC markings as their callsing numbering. That number is merelly an identification number just like those you need to identify any civilian aircraft, so they are easilly recognized by airports. Those are the “name” Under which they are shown on radar screens.

    In the case of Star Trek, all US ships are named with USS (United States Ships, or starship), all British have HMS before their name, just like today on naval ships. But their is nothing more to know about NCC than just being the standard starting sequence of a serial number. Their is no other meaning to that.

    Star Trek XI (2009) producers have no precedence in the canonicity of that detail. Whatever they say, are only takes from the trekkie community, just like Uhura’s first name, which is novel based, and considered non-cannon. But it’s not like they never stretched the canon in those J.J. Abrams movies, is it?

    If we really need to have a meaning for those 3 letters, Naval Construction Contract is the most logical one.

  16. Bettty Says:

    THANK YOU!! I just spent over an hour (while watching a Star Trek marathon) trying to find a site that would just tell me what NCC meant…it seems everyone but me already knows…I’m in the Airline business and understand WHY, but really wanted the “N” meaning…I feel. So much better…B)

  17. Chris Says:

    NCC was a made up registration….Aircraft in the US only use a N followed by numbers and then maybe letters (NxxxX as an example; some can be short like N2AY or other lengths like N3724W or N73708SW; the longer ones usually used on commercial aircraft but thats not always the truth) NC was used prior to 1950s in aircraft to show worthiness (the C meaning airworthy, NOT civil), NX was experimental and NL was Limited but those designations were done away with by 1950. The second C was just an add on to make it sound better….It DOES NOT mean anything related to space as mentioned above, etc. The closest thing that can be used is “Naval Construction Contract” but that again was a made up meaning. The Enterprise is supposed to be a ship of the Constitution Class…which means the 1701 would make it the second ship of the class (NCC 1700 is the USS Constitution and the lead ship of the class…..JJs crappy idea has put wrong info out….As a former pilot and Captain in the Civil Air Patrol as well as being a Trek fan since the original series run in the 1960s, anything JJ comes up with is wrong (The USS Kelvin is one instance: NO Starship had a 0 as the leading digit in its registry…the Kelvin should have been NCC-504, NOT NCC-0504..May 4 happens to be JackJass’s birthday). NCC-xxxx is a starship registry number…the first ship in the class (Name of the class) is usually a NX-xxxx first then after testing, etc is commissioned with a full NCC-xxxx registration. Regardless of JJ’s lack of knowledge, the Constitution Class started with the USS Constitution..not the Enterprise.

  18. Tc Says:

    How about NCC as the ” New Club Class”

  19. Kristina Says:

    It’s new constellation class. A designation for the engine and ship type. An NCC class ship has certain specs. That’s the meaning.

  20. DLynn Says:

    Memory Alpha ( goes with the Naval Construction Contract and references the technical manual and the blueprints from the 70s. (I ran into your thread because an suv with ncc-1701-c on the rear went by me on the highway and I couldn’t remember which one c was.)

  21. Numan Says:

    that an wonder full invention of 20th century

  22. Capt M .l cook usn Says:

    NCC in mean naval cruise class ship

  23. Capt M .l cook usn Says:

    Like uss means united. star. ship enterprise

  24. Super Dave Says:

    How can you call yourselves ‘Trekkies’ or ‘treckers’ and get this wrong ?? NCC (as per Gene Roddenberry HIMSELF in an interview, after ‘The Motion Pictuer’ premiered, Stated “NCC stands for ‘Naval Celestial Cruiser’.” Remember Starfleet is just that, a Fleet, naval in origin, but the Enterprise NCC - 1701 was an Exploration vessal.
    I know I will get some flack, and that’s cool, but I am a fan and enjoy exploring Star Trek trivia, and I pride myself on finding the correct answers to all I can in respect to Star Trek and trivia in general.
    So bring on the hate mail or thanks, your choice, but I am a fan and always will be, and I really enjoy J.J. Abrams take on Star Trek, albeit a alternate timeline, but hey, thats Star Trek. Live Long and Prosper.

  25. Commandercarey Says:

    To quote Roddenbery “NCC doesn’t stand for anything. It was devised by Matt Jefferies, art director of the first Star Trek series. Jefferies, who is a pilot, based NCC on 20th century aircraft registration codes. In such 20th century usage, an “N” first letter refers to an aircraft registered in the USA. A “C” second letter refers to a civil aircraft. Jefferies added a second “C”, just because he thought it looked better.
    It is also very similar to the way military Naval vessels are identified. US warships (and other nations’ Navies) use 2 or 3 letter abreviations preceding the hull number of the ship. For example: The USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65). The CVN identifies the ship as a nuclear powered carrier. The number 65 identifies it as the 65th carrier built.

  26. Wesley Says:

    William F. Boeing had a Douglas DC-5 named “Rover” as his personal aircraft in the 30’s. Its registration # was NC21701. Maybe I’m the only one who sees the resemblance between the DC-5’s engine nacelles and the Enterprise’s central hull. Replace the engine and NACA cowling with a deflector dish and amplification rings, and there you are.

  27. Perry Says:

    I’m told that 1701 was the time that the ship in “Forbidden Planet” came out of light speed. Gene Roddenberry was a huge fan of that icon of spacefaring scifi.

  28. Decahedron Says:

    1701 is military time, 1701 hundred hours, 17:01 - or 5:01 pm - quitting time at work, time to have some fun.

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  31. Vetter Says:

    As I was beginning to read this, the thought of Nebula Class Cruiser came to mind. However, that was just a random thought. I’ll stick with Roddenberry’s answer. Great stuff folks!

  32. RonW Says:

    Can’t be Constitution Class as other classes of ships have NCC as part of their registration number.

  33. Himeko-chan Says:

    If you go really really way way way way back to the original content of star trek. Gene got a lot of his stuff from actual fact. And it was his tribute to the wars. He had a facination with the Navy. So as far as I remember from cast interviews, and interviews and articles, this seems more like the actual meaning of NCC: : N= registered in united states, c = civil aircraft, c (2) = space. The number on the other hand I have no solid info on. I went to a con a long time ago with the original cast (some of them) and they spoke a little about how Gene liked the Navy as well. I am pretty sure it was World War II to be exact.

  34. Himeko-chan Says:

    OH I just found this fyi:

    4. The Origin of NCC-1701
    How did the famous USS Enterprise get its registration number NCC-1701 is the stuff of legend. There are conflicting stories, including one where 1701 is a tribute to Roddenberry’s childhood neighbor’s house number or that Jefferies got it from the registration number of his airplane.

    Here’s Matt Jefferies’ explanation when he was asked during a BBC Interview:

    NC, by international agreement, stood for all United States commercial vehicles. Russia had wound up with four Cs, CC CC. It’d been pretty much a common opinion that any major effort in space would be two expensive for any one country, so I mixed the US and the Russian and came up with NCC.

    The one seven zero part - I needed a number that would be instantly identifiable, and three, six, eight and nine are too easily confused. I don’t think anyone’ll confuse a one and a seven, or the zero. So the one seven stood for the seventeenth basic ship design in the Federation, and the zero one would have been serial number one, the first bird.

  35. stew Says:

    Well, i would go along with the notion that the number of the Enterprise was set around a plane, (though i thought it was Rodenberys Cessna)

    as for the 1701,
    as Scotty said in Relics (TNG) when entering the holodeck, show me my bridge, no A,B,C, orrrbloody D

  36. joe Says:

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  37. Yale Landsberg Says:

    NCC does very much stand for something — now! See for what and for why? And then Stop Complaining and Start Running!

  38. Balboa Says:

    NCC means Nautical Class Cruiser!

  39. CaddoPuma Says:

    People should really read ALL previous comments before posting their opinions based on guestimation, speculation, and/or shoddy research. It would eliminate a LOT of repeated posts of false information as well as a LOT of senseless heated debates which violated the core principle taught by the entire ST superseries: “Peaceful collaboration ultimately conquers violent competition.”

  40. JoeKlingon Says:

    I believe the big argument here can be explained like this. In practical, real, life, it means nothing to anyone except the designer Matt Jefferies. He was a pilot and assigned the call letters and numbers as such. In Star Trek Canon, however, it must mean something. Therefore, in 1980, when asked about it, Roddenberry gave the canonical answer of, “Naval Celestial Cruiser”.

  41. JoeKlingon Says:

    With that said, even Roddenberry seems to be trumped by “The Making of Star Trek” by Stephen E. Whitfield, who says it means Naval Construction Contract.

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  47. Steve finefrock Says:

    A PBS special years ago stated naval construction contract, with the number 1701 being the house street number of the series art director, as Gene’s honorific. I’m not remotely a Trekkie but do have verrrry good memory for such clever bits.

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  50. GARRY Says:

    NCC stands for NEW Construction Contract. NOT Naval! Starfleet is NOT Military!!

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  55. James Brunt Says:

    The 17 does not refer to the class as the USS POTEMKIN was a Constitution Class NCC-1657 & the USS Constellatin was NCC-1017

  56. ANARKILL Says:

    * N=5
    * C=3
    * C=3

    NCC = 11

    * 1+7+0+1= 9

    > 11/9

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  58. Farley n oklahoma Says:

    It. Is. !ifficult to believe NCC is for constitution class. Main reason is that @ok of the follow in suffex Letter call signs are not nessarily Constitution Class ships
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  59. Spurrell Says:

    NCC= Naval construction contract/code
    1701= the number address of the house the Rodenberry’s were living in at the time when he completed the first star trek novel, later turned script. Star trek encyclopedia HB, STAR TREK OMNIPEDIA Pc. Roddenberry a former US NAVY OFFICER, when asked about it, during an interview on Cbs for the 25th anniversary…”all naval vessels have a call sign or letters for radar, identification, and communication purposes. The Enterprise, the pride of the fleet, should be no different.

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    Where does the 1701 come from????

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