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|Armaments:|| type VIII phasers|
Runabouts of the Yellowstone class, an upgraded version of the Danube-class runabout, were named after well-known Earth parks. The Yellowstone class was equipped with tetryon plasma warp nacelles and designed for a variety of mission profiles. The prototype vessel of this class was the USS Yellowstone (NX-74751), designed by the Starfleet Engineering Corps and constructed in 2371. The class originally had a key design flaw: a dilithium fracture problem. Several weeks were spent on resolving the problem, which was resolved with new plasma flow equations.
As an upgraded version of the Danube-class runabout, the interior of the Yellowstone class was visually identical to that of the Danube class as it appeared after the class refit, though a number of its systems were upgraded (i.e. the computer was equipped with bio-neural circuitry).
Ideally, a runabout was piloted by two persons although one pilot would suffice. The pilots' consoles faced forward upon two large portholes. The cockpit had stations for up to four crewmembers. The two large portholes were equipped with retractable blast shutters. Small square viewscreens mounted within the forward corners of the cabin were used for visual communication and ship status displays.
The rear of the craft could be configured as a large crew cabin complete with sleeping and dining areas for extended travel, as was done with the USS Banff. With minor work this area could also be used as a cargo bay.
In the center of the craft, between the two wing pylons, a series of replaceable modules could be connected. These modules could be swapped to suit mission requirements. Examples of available modules included science laboratories and photon or quantum torpedo bays.
The runabout was equipped with at least one manual escape hatch, located near the front side of the vehicle. A small Jefferies tube was also present, immediately underneath the warp core running along the spine of the vessel.
The innovative feature that made the Yellowstone class possible was its compact, high-performance warp propulsion system with its tetryon warp plasma. The Yellowstone class was designed to have a cruising speed of warp 7, and a maximum of warp 9.
Like the Danube class, the Yellowstone-class modular platform allowed easy configuration for a multitude of missions. Two such modules were the mission module and sensor pod. The runabout could carry four different sizes of mission modules.
For defense, the runabout was armed with type VIII phasers and micro-torpedoes. In addition, a specialized mission module could allow the runabout to carry full-sized photon or quantum torpedoes. The microtorpedo launcher assembly was accessible via a hatch on the floor of the forward cabin.