The Constellation-Class starships were a class of ship used by the United Federation of Planets manufactured through the 2250s to the 2390s, and were often kept in service for many years after their reccomended decomission date.
This line of starship was designed personally by Alec Utopia of the Utopia Planitia Yards above San Francisco, on Earth. They were built to be the successors of the badly aging, but still useful, Constitution Class starships. With four nacelles capable of a pulling power over thirty times that of it's own weight, it could tow millions of tons of cargo at warp speeds of up to warp 6 in the 2250s, warp 8 in the 2260s run, and finally warp 9.98 during its final decade of manufacture during the 2390s.
The ship was easily identifiable by its four warp nacelles at the rear. It had a maximum crew content of 600 with room for approximately 400 extra passengers. It was slightly larger than the Constitution Class starships, and with far more crew ameneties and relaxation areas. The power systems were upgraded significantly from the Constitution Class in order to power the four nacelles and its superior phaser and torpedo arrays.
The Constellation Class starships were known to be rather sluggish at sublight speeds, reaching a maximum of warp factor 0.4 with its impulse engines on full. For instance, it would take an older Constitution Class starship to travel from Earth to Pluto about four hours at full impulse speed, whereas the Constellation Class would take about 13 hours. Despite these downfalls, they often had their bulky warp engines removed by after-market services and were used as sublight ferries across solar systems, due to their high cargo capacity.
The Constellation Class starships often had a technicolour paint job on the exterior metalwork. The reason for this has been revealed to be that Alex Utopia, the designer of the ships, had a flair for vibrant colours. This unusual paint job was actually beneficial on a number of occasions; ships sometimes had their own paint job in order to help the crews feel like an individual team, and to aid in identification purposes.
The bridge of a Constellation Class starship was often fairly small and cramped, despite the ships' large size.