Exploring the frontier, expanding knowledge and learning about the unknown for the United Federation of Planets.
The scientific arm of Starfleet is the most famous. Names such as Christopher Pike, James T. Kirk, Emma Roberts, Hikaru Sulu and John Harriman have all helped to make the scientific part of Starfleet legendary. Starships such as the Enterprise, Hood and Excelsior have made the headlines on many occasions, whilst others such as the Constellation, Exeter, Copernicus and Grissom have all paid the ultimate price for knowledge.
Whilst these people and starships have made the headlines, other work by Starfleet Sciences is far less public. For most who graduate from Starfleet Academy as science officers and crew, they will be assigned to the stations and small science vessels of Starfleet. Whilst the adverts attracting teenagers into the Academy show Excelsior, Constellation, Constitution and Cardenas classes of starship as the magnet "to boldly go...", the truth is that Magee, Oberth, Malachowski and Hermes class starships are the most likely assignments. The missions are following up the work already performed by the crews of Sulu and Harriman to investigate in detail the ice giants, gas giants, asteroids and many planets that have already been discovered and named. This is detailed investigations to flesh out the initial findings. Whilst the Enterprise, Hood, Lexington, Investigator, Stargazer and Excelsior have already placed their names on the reports and records, it is the science and survey starships that will do the donkey work of analysis of pre-first contact assessment and scanning proto-planets for primordeal goo.
Under the mandate to study and learn, Starfleet Intelligence has assets to scan and listen in on transmissions and activities of other races. Archer, Strider, Kestrel and Phantom class scouts are amongst the assets for intelligence gathering. Hermes, Magee, Oberth and Monoceros class scouts are the principal pathfinders for scientific studies. Cardenas and Constellation class is the deep space cruiser design with refit Constitution and the new Renaissance class cruisers are the backbone of exploration missions. Malachowski and Miranda class light cruisers make up the workhorse majority for the legwork of scientific studies and re-supply of the myriad of scientific research stations of the Federation. Hoover and Shepard class cruisers command and co-ordinate larger scientific studies. Whilst there are legacy ships from the time of Lorca and Pike, there are new ships coming on line, like Stargazer, that will soon become legends in their own rights.