An aquashuttle, aqua-shuttle or amphishuttle was a type of auxiliary vehicle customized for submersible undersea operation as well as spaceflight. Such craft were developed by the Federation, Gorn Alliance, Klingon Empire and Monean Maritime Sovereignty.
History and specifics
Some Starfleet aquashuttles were armed with a phaser cannon to defend against threatening undersea lifeforms. Sensor arrays were optimized for undersea data collection. (FASA RPG module: Cadet's Orientation Sourcebook)
Some class F shuttlecraft were capable of short-range underwater activity. In the 2260s, the Federation starship USS Enterprise's Galileo (II) and Shuttlecraft NCC-1701/8 briefly submerged to rescue the crew of a surveyor and two Tekkorians from the class O planet Tekkor. (TOS comic: "Under the Sea")
In 2310, the USS Hermes was assigned at least two amphibious shuttles for its mission to Pacifica, including the two-person Nautilus. Captain Nyota Uhura allowed Carol Marcus and Gillian Taylor to pilot the Nautilus and search for Harpo, who'd gone missing. The vessel was outfitted with sea probes and flood lights. (TOS - Strange New Worlds II short story: "The Hero of My Own Life")
In the 2350s, a streamlined, compact type of aquashuttle was assigned to Starfleet Academy. The vessel featured one deck, had a wide forward observation port, an airlock on the starboard side, port and starboard running lights, two aft engines, and stabilizing fins. When transferring to an underwater location, air pressure was automatically equalized to the destination while the airlock cycled. During a trip back to the surface, pressure was slowly reduced to avoid the bends. Lockers contained three helmeted skinsuits with fins that retained body heat, as well as a safety line and belt winch.
In 2353, for the class Introduction to Planetary Exploration, eight cadets including Geordi LaForge took one of these shuttles on a field trip to Atlantis station, a research base in the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel also descended deep in the ocean to visit the lower portion of the station. This particular shuttle was not outfitted with specialized sensor arrays. (TNG - SA novella: Atlantis Station)
In 2375, immersion shielding and thruster modifications quickly made the Delta Flyer seaworthy. Its structural integrity field allowed for a trip 600 kilometers deep into the core of The Waters. Kathryn Janeway noted that similar modifications could be made to USS Voyager, but would take a week to complete. (VOY episode: "Thirty Days")
In the 2380s, some of Starfleet's four-person type-11 shuttlecraft were capable of being refitted for multi-mission profiles. Reconfiguring them as aquashuttles entailed lowering and reconfiguring the warp nacelles to act as pontoons. Stabilizing fins, linear induction thrusters, searchlights, undersea sensor arrays and tractor beam emitters would also be added, along with structural integrity field generators.
Modifications to the Delta Flyer allowed it to withstand a pressure of more than 59,500 atmospheres. Monean research vessels could descend to a pressure of 9,900 atmospheres. (Pressure at Depth Calculator)
- Gorn Alliance
- G-2-class (23rd century)
- Klingon Empire
- J-2-class (23rd century)
- Monean Maritime Sovereignty
- Monean research vessel (24th century)
- Delta Flyer (with modifications)
- Ellington II
- Aquashuttle NCC-1701/5A
- VOY episode: "Thirty Days"
- TAS episode & Log Five novelization: The Ambergris Element
- TOS novel: Deep Domain
- TNG - SA novella: Atlantis Station
- TTN novel: Over a Torrent Sea
- TOS - Strange New Worlds II short story: "The Hero of My Own Life"