Produced since the early 23rd century, the Icarus class represents one of the most important advances in the history of Starfleet: with the introduction of this class, for the first time starships with the nowadays omnipresent saucer design were used beside the early classes of the 22nd century, which were remarkable for their their spheroid primary section (e.g. the Daedalus, Federation and Seleya classes), as well as the very first Earth warp ships, which lead the first wave of space exploration and were transferred to Starfleet after the foundation of the Federation in 2161 due to a lack of faster-than-light ships.The new design proved so successful that within few decades, it replaced the old classes. However, the series production of the Icarus class, the connecting link between the Daedalus class and the legendary original Constitution class, which sealed the lead of the saucer-starships in the 2240s, was preceded by a lengthy prototype phase with many setbacks, first making a success of the class quite improbable. Basic outlines for a saucer-shaped (rather than spheroid) primary hull already existed since the first days of the still young Starfleet, however, concrete models weren't developent until the 2284 founded Advanced Starship Design Bureaus (ASDB) of Starfleet took charge of the project. Simulations showed early that the warp field geometry of the new design would considerably differ from the matrixes used up to then and had to be much more complex to realize the desired maximum FTL speed boost predicted by the subspace physicians for a smaller vertical dimension of the primary section. The research moved forward quickly, so that already five years later, the theoretical groundwork and the schematizations for a planned successor of the out-of-date Daedalus class could be finished and the construction of a prototype could be started. Since this warp ship, named "Icarus", was intended to be not much larger than the former Starfleet classes and should be solely equipped with already successfully tested experimental technologies. Therfore, the new vessel was estimated to be completed shortly before the decided putting out of service of the Daedalus class in the year 2196, so that within one decade, the new class could compensate the lack of fast starships at this time, resulting from the quick expansion of the Federation to regions far away from Earth, and from the more and more frequent foundation of new colonies. Unfortunately, the Icarus prototype proved to be more worthy of its name than originally thought: the first space-worthy version completed in 2194 after 4 years construction nearly faced destruction, which would have meant a delay of at least one decade for the whole project, when during the first test flight with speeds above warp 4 (new scale) phase variances in the warp field geometry occured that nearly led to the tearing up of the ship due to the resulting gravimetric shears. A rework of the subspace field coil arrangement and the general nacelle design from the scratch finally brought the breakthrough, so that in 2199, four years after the schedule, the prototype could be put into service, named USS Icarus. The early construction of additional space frames for later series vessels, which were not influenced by the revisions, and the accelerated start of construction even before the completion of the modified prototype, however, made it possible that already in 2201 the second produced Icarus class vessel was put into service. While because of the limited number of adapted construction locations, at the beginning a large-scale producton wasn't possible, since 2210, after the accelerated completion of additional dry docks optimized for construction of the new ships in the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards over Mars, the triumphal march of the saucer design in general and the Icarus class in particular wasn't delayed any longer.
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