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Since the days of the early sailing vessels and other similar expeditions on many planets, the naming of ships has been an important part of many races and cultures' histories.

The naming of ships was often held in high esteem, with the quality of a ship's name seen as a factor of a vessel's success. Lieutenant Piper of Proxima Beta once mused about the mistake of naming the USS Star Empire. She considered the name to be somewhat ignoble, preferring more virtuous names such as Majestic, Embassy, Valiant, and Ramage. (TOS - Fortunes of War novel: Dreadnought!)

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Name prefix

Usually a vessel's given name is preceded by a statement of origination, which was often shortened into some sort of abbreviated prefix.


  • SS - "Steam Ship" or "Space Ship"
  • M/V - "Merchant Vessel"
  • R/V - "Research Vessel"
  • USS - "United States Ship"
  • HMS - "Her Majesty's Ship" or "His Majesty's Ship"
  • NAR - Earth Civilian spacefaring vessel
  • VK - "Voenny Korabl" (Russian for "Military Ship")


  • SS - "Sea Ship" or "Space Ship"
  • USS - "United (Earth) Star Ship" or "United (Earth) Space Ship"
  • NAR - Earth Civilian spacefaring vessel

Terran Empire (mirror universe)

  • ISS - "Imperial Star Ship"


  • IKS - Imperial Klingon Ship


  • IRW - "Imperial Romulan Warbird"
  • PWB
  • RSE - "Romulan Star Empire" (mirror)


  • OSS - "Orion Syndicate Ship"


  • IGV - "Imperial Guard Vessel"

Vulcan Confederate

  • VS - "Vulcan Ship"
  • SS - "Science Ship" or "Star Ship"

See also

Similar or identical prefices are assigned to a ship's registry.