John Eaves, who designed the “sovereign” Enterprise-E for Star Trek: First Contact, revisited part of the ship for his contribution to the 2011 Ships of the Line calendar. Eaves gave fans a look inside the main shuttlebay of the ship — a design, he writes at his blog, that was inspired by a visit to the aircraft carrier USS Midway in San Diego.
Eaves had seen the aircraft storage area of the ship, which was “almost the entire length of the flight deck above,” he recalled, “and one incredible site to behold. I was imagining the ‘E’ bays looking like this in my head, but didn’t really think about rendering the concept until the calendar art was in the works.”
The shuttlebay was never seen on screen, although in Nemesis, we got a closeup view of the outside of it when the Argo departs the Enterprise.
In Eaves’ drawing, it’s returning to the ship. Conventional shuttles are stationed to the right (including one named Galileo) while a fighter group that, according to Eaves, was added to the ship’s arsenal after the Nemesis refit, can be seen on the left.
“The hanging shuttles were a fun way to fill space and add another layer of detail,” he decided.
Eaves told Star Trek: The Magazine in 2003 that he had derived the location of the control tower on top of the shuttlebay from the original Enterprise. “I remembered that on the original Star Trek series, they had these observation windows inside the shuttlebay,” he said, “so that you could look at the shuttles from another deck.”
I decided the deck on the ‘E’ could also serve this double purpose — that once you’re inside the shuttlebay, the roof concaves up so that you can have windows looking inside and outside the ship as well.
Sources for this story include: John Eaves, “The Enterprise-E Shuttle Bay from the SOTL Calendar,” Eavesdropping with Johnny, May 5, 2011, and “Designing the Enterprise-E,” Star Trek: The Magazine 3, #11 (March 2003)