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In the 22nd century, NX class starships utilized a launch bay to launch shuttlepods. Aboard these class of ships, the bay could be found on the ventral hull but was unable to hold an atmosphere during launch and recovery; therefore, the bay needed repressurization after every time the bay doors were opened. NX class starships also had a grappler to assist in launching and recovery of shuttlepods. (ENT: "Cold Front", "Divergence")
In the 24th century, larger Federation Starfleet vessels used shuttlebays instead of launch bays. Smaller ships, such as Defiant-class starships, had a launch bays housing shuttlepods and shuttlecraft. Aboard the USS Defiant, the launch bay stored Type-18 shuttlepods and Type-10 shuttlecraft. (DS9: "The Sound of Her Voice")
After her refit in 2372, the USS Cantabrian carried two Titania-class scout ships, and these were housed in two separate launch bays on the ventral side of the saucer section. (Star Trek: The Cantabrian Expeditions: "Catalyst, Part One")
Deep Space 9 crewmembers Worf and Ezri Dax, being held as Dominion/Cardassian prisoners on Cardassia Prime, escaped from Dominion Headquarters on Cardassia Prime aboard a Cardassian patrol ship in a launch bay in 2375. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows")