The Star Trek universe is a celebration of humanity. For that reason, many human names have served as eponyms for the ships, planets and technologies of the future. In many cases, these namesakes denote a person’s special contributions to the Star Trek universe. However, they also include individuals who have contributed to the arts or sciences. In a few cases, they even include people who specifically didn’t work on Star Trek.
For this week’s Trek Tuesday, here are 10 instances of Star Trek names with real-life inspirations. These are just a few of the possibilities, so be sure to let us know if we’ve included your favorite.
The Jeffries Tube
These service access passageways are essential in the maintenance and upkeep of Starfleet vessels. They are named after Matt Jeffries, art director for Star Trek: The Original Series and designer of the original USS Enterprise. While the name “Jeffries Tube” was included in TOS-era designs, it didn’t appear in the series. That had to wait for Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s season 3’s “The Hunted” to be mentioned on-screen.
However, there is also an in-universe explanation for the name “Jeffries Tube.” On Star Trek: Enterprise, an off-screen character named “W.M. Jeffries” is introduced. This character is the in-universe designer of the NX-class ships, including the titular Enterprise.
Sha Ka Ree
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier introduces Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), the half-brother of Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Sybok seeks a planet called Sha Ka Ree. He claims this world, mentioned in Vulcan mythology, is home to none other than god.
According to legend, this planet’s name comes from an actor who turned down the role of Sybok. That actor was Sean Connery. If you say “Sha Ka Ree” out loud, you might hear how similar it sounds to his name.
On Star Trek: Discovery, Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is a scientist who specializes in the ship’s singular spore drive. Using the mycellium network, the spore drive can quickly travel anywhere in the galaxy.
Stamets is named for the real-world mycologist Paul Stamets. The mycellium network was based on his work. According to Stamets, he has been a Star Trek fan since age 12.
In Discovery season 3’s “Die Trying,” the USS Discovery visits the Federation Headquarters of the 32nd century. There, they behold multiple docked starships. These include the USS Nog, an Eisenberg-class starship.
The personality of Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) may be a mix of McMahan and Newsome’s creative efforts. However, the name comes directly from the former. McMahan has revealed that Star Trek‘s Beckett Mariner is named after his sister, Beckett Mariner McMahan.
USS Titan Shuttlecraft
The shuttlecraft on the Enterprise(s) have traditionally been named after scientists like Galileo (see Star Trek: Prodigy‘s “All the World’s a Stage“) and Copernicus. But in Lower Decks season 2’s “Kayshon, His Eyes Open,” we learn that the shuttles on the USS Titan are all named for a theme, as well.
Presumably, thanks to Captain William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes), the shuttlecraft on the Titan are named after famous Jazz musicians. Included among the ships are the Coltrane, Gillespie and Monk.
In Lower Decks season 3’s “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus,” the bridge crew of the USS Cerritos must join D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) and Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) on a mission to capture the Chrono-gami.
This journey includes a visit to the planet Tatasciore IX. “A favorite of black market weapons dealers,” observes Shax (Fred Tatasciore), leaning on the fourth wall. In fact, Tatasciore plays many roles on Lower Decks, including one-time characters and recurring supporting roles like Admiral Vassery (see especially “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place“).
USS Van Citters
That isn’t the only namesake that appears in Lower Decks season 3. Another appears in the finale, “The Stars at Night.” In this episode, the Texas class ships begin to lay waste to a starbase. Fortunately, the USS Van Citters arrives at just the right time, helping stave off the attack until more help can arrive.
The Van Citters is named for John Van Citters, Vice President of Star Trek Brand Development at Paramount.
As you may recall, Wersching played an alternate timeline Borg Queen throughout Picard season 2. The Wersching was named for her after she passed away between the airing of Picard seasons 2 and 3.
In the Lower Decks season 3 finale, “Old Friends, New Planets,” another ship named for a late contributor to the Trek Franchise appears. In order to escape from Nick Locarno (Robert Duncan McNeill), Mariner steals a ship called the USS Passaro.
As confirmed by McMahan in an interview, the Passaro is named for digital artist Fabio Passaro. Passaro made many contributions to the franchise and Lower Decks in particular. After he passed away in October 2022, the Passaro was named for his memory. Further, the ship’s registry number, NCC-52670, pays homage to Passaro’s date of birth, May 26, 1970.
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