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The Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual  
Book Cover
Author Franz Joseph Schnaubelt
Country United States
Language English
Subject(s) Star Trek:TOS
Genre(s) Fiction
Publisher Ballantine Books
Publication date 1975
Media type Print
ISBN 0345340744
OCLC Number 14393425

The Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual (ISBN 0345340744, Ballantine Books 1975, reprinted 1986, 1996, 2006) is a fiction reference book by Franz Joseph Schnaubelt about the workings of Starfleet, a military, exploratory, and diplomatic organization featured in the television series Star Trek.

Although it is fiction, the book is presented as a collection of factual documents describing the 23rd-century Starfleet and United Federation of Planets, sent from the future to the 20th century.


The book provides some detail on the workings of technology used in the original series, including its ships, phasers, tricorders, universal translators, and medical equipment, and even diagrams for a working communicator built using 20th-century electronics. It also contains plans for 3-dimensional chess, and lays out some basic game rules.


In 1973, Schnaubelt and his daughter joined a San Diego Trek appreciation society called STAR, the members of which spent time making their own Trek props and costumes. Using his aerospace design talents, he began making technical drawings of phasers and tricorders. He quickly amassed a large collection and sent copies to a very impressed Roddenberry, whose wife Majel Barrett's company Lincoln Enterprises was producing Trek memorabilia at the time. Though he considered the franchise dead, Roddenberry encouraged Joseph to seek Barrett's help in creating a manual, a project blessed with privileged access to original props and carpenter's blueprints.

The book, published by Ballantine, took the number-one spot on the New York Times trade paperback list, breaking the existing record for profitability. Its success hinted at the brand's great potential, and within a year of its publication Paramount and Roddenberry contracted to begin work on a Star Trek movie.

Use as reference material

The book was culled for background imagery in the first three Trek films. Elements from the manual that appear on screen include:

  • its listings of starship names, adapted for opening-scene backgrounds at the communications outpost in Star Trek: The Motion Picture;
  • its starship-class schematics, seen in background bridge displays in the Kobayashi Maru test in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; and
  • its Enterprise plans, used in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in a monitor display when the seal on Spock's living quarters is broken.


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