Ascender was a fast, compact scout/research vessel. Laid down in the late 2230s, shortly before the larger Constitution Class explorers, she made use of the new PB-32 warp nacelles. The design began with a standard saucer, onto which a hull superstructure was built up, including a deflector/sensor on the bow, and a dorsal shuttlecraft hangar.
In this image, Ascender studies a planetoid so young it's still molten and coalescing
Time Period: Before Star Trek, the original series.
The crew of the Ascender can claim credit for the discovery of a semi-stable wormhole whose Alpha Quadrant terminus travels a gravitational balance point between the two larger stars in the Kanardus system. The far terminus dances about in the Beta Quadrant, usually staying open just long enough for a ship to take a position fix, make a scan for later study, and duck back into the open wormhole to return to the starting point. Only a few sorties exited in unexplored regions, and the excercise was ended after a dozen uninspiring missions.
The forward pylons and underslung nacelles were also an interesting experiment at the time, earning the ship its uncomplimentary nickname,f "Ass-Ender."
Ascender is joined by USS Masao to scan a newly charted planet in a system near Klingon space.
Ascender and her sisters are not fighting ships, and Starfleet policy was to assign a combat-capable ship to escort science vessels in potentially hostile areas.
While it may seem as if the ship had two bridge structures, only the forward dome houses the bridge. The aft dome, located at the center point of the saucer, houses only a planetary sensor suite.
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