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Up to date as of February 02, 2010

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The process of ship commissioning is the final stage in the beginning of life of a naval vessel or starship.

A ship's life begins during construction, a process that begins with the primary pieces of the vessel's structure being laid down, a term which originates from the time of ocean-going navy organizations, when the keel of a ship was literally "laid down" in a drydock to have the hull built around it.

After the superstructure is constructed, a vessel is launched. Once launched, the ship is removed from any dock structures to be tested, commonly referred to as a shakedown cruise. This is not always the final stage of the construction, as a vessel that is launched could still require major work to be done, but a launched vessel is usually competent to at least move under its own power.

Once a vessel is deemed to be qualified to be in service, it is commissioned. Although prototype designs may require periods of time for shakedown between their launch and commission, proven designs could be launched and commissioned almost simultaneously, as their performance would not be in question, excepting normal inspections and performance tests.

The commissioning process usually involves a ceremony or at least an observance of the ship being activated into service. If a government agency is in possession of a ship, their act of commissioning the vessel will generally include designations, such as names or numbers, and the listing of the ship into said agency's registry.

If a ship is taken out of active service lists, it is said to be decommissioned. This could be done for a variety of reasons, including changes to the ship's designation or registry, or work to be done on the physicality of the ship itself. At this point, the vessel's name and registry could be removed from lists of ships on duty, and the ship would not be considered in active commission.

A recommissioning would then be the process of taking a decommissioned vessel back into active service. Often, such a vessel would have new modifications made, or could simply have been renamed or even recrewed after a period of inactivity.

Notable commissions

The government of United Earth commissioned the Earth Starfleet space vessel Enterprise NX-01 hurriedly, as the vessel was ready for launch, but somewhat untested. Many of the ship's systems were tested during the first mission, and some secondary systems were not installed until later in the vessel's first years of service. (ENT episodes: "Broken Bow", "Silent Enemy", et al.)

The Federation Starfleet took advantage of an extended schedule for the beginning of its Constitution-class vessels. The first vessel authorized was the NX-1700, but as the project moved forward, another construction contract was filed for the second vessel, NCC-1701. The second vessel was completed in advance of the NX-1700, and was launched first, in 2243. Both vessels were in launch later in 2243, with the first construction bearing its NX-1700 registry, and 1701 construction being temporarily registered NX-0002. The ships were finally commissioned as Constitution and Enterprise, respectively, in 2245. (ST references: Star Trek Encyclopedia, Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual; TOS novel: Final Frontier; ST - Crew comic: "Shakedown")

The Federation Starfleet recommissioned an existing vessel, renamed and re-registered as the USS Enterprise-A in honor of the crew of the last voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). The vessel had previously borne the names Ti-Ho, Atlantis and Yorktown. (ST references: Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise; ST roleplay module: Federation Ship Recognition Manual)


This article uses material from the "Ship commissioning" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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