This shuttle and warp sled combination appeared only once, in 1979’s The Motion Picture. Spock uses it to intercept the Enterprise after abandoning his Kolinahr training on Vulcan.
About this creation
There has been some question as to whether this is a Starfleet or Vulcan design, since the vessel sports both English and Vulcan markings. Also, Chekov doesn’t sound too sure what it is. However, we clearly see similar shuttles (sans warp sled) in the Enterprise hangar bay, suggesting that they are the replacement for the original series' F class.
The shuttle sports a standard docking port. The sled attachment, which is about 40m long, gives the ship a much greater range, filling a niche later occupied by the Danube-class runabout.
We are never shown the interior of this shuttle, so I designed it in keeping with the travelpod from the same era. It comfortably seats six passengers with a crew of two, and sports a proper airlock for the docking port.
The shuttle features a food replicator on the starboard side and an LCARS station to port.
There are side hatches and an upper escape hatch for planetary egress.
Sublight engines are accessible from the interior. On the starboard side this happens to be in the bathroom, which also contains water storage and recycling.
The port side features a docking control station, as well as an EVA suit and equipment locker.
Hatches on each side of the cockpit lead to tool storage and equipment access. Under the forward heat shield is a full complement of sensors, a navigational deflector, and air purifiers.
The sled itself is fully automated. Each nacelle contains its own deuterium and anti-deuterium supplies, with a small fusion reactor and impulse engine aft.
The ventral surface has a series of clamps which attach to the warp sled.
TMP takes place in 2273, two and a half years after Kirk’s famous five-year mission has ended. Legend has it that the Enterprise was the only Constitution-class ship of the original 13 to survive intact with its original crew.
Vulcan’s primary star is 40 Eridani, approximately 16.5 light-years from Earth, which gives us an idea of the warp sled’s range. With a maximum cruising speed of Warp 4 (according to the shuttle’s designer Andrew Probert), the journey would have taken 94 days (according to the TOS warp factor scale). Now this is certainly possible because no mention is made of how long Spock has been travelling. Of course it is also possible that he hitched a ride on some other, faster ship for part of the journey. Either way, when he walks onto the bridge he has that pained look common to travellers at airports and bus terminals. One of life’s little mysteries!