33 Compelling Sci-Fi SpaceShip Designs

There are tons of fictional spaceships that are so alluring that space lovers wish they can live in any one of those ships. Today, they are an integral part of sci-fi stories, and most of them have their own charm and personality.

Just like Rome isn’t built in a day, designing a spaceship takes very long time and it’s a lot of detail oriented process. Before the actual designing phase, designers take time to fully understand the story, role of ship and how to translate spaceship’s personality to the design. Today, we are presenting the captivating sci-fi spaceship designs that are built by artists with incredible skills and creative minds.

33. Normandy SR-2 – Mass Effect

Image source: wikia

The Normandy SR-2 is a spaceship that appears in 2185, and the successor of SR-1. It serves as the headquarters of the Lazarus Cell. The tantalus drive core stealth technology makes the ship fast as well as quiet, and can travel faster than light for longer than similar-sized vessels. Its sleek and pointy and crackles with energy when it initiates a mass relay jump.

32. Lander – Interstellar

The Lander is single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft designed to deliver supplies and shelters down to planetary surfaces. It has aerodynamic design, with a heat shield is located on its upper surface which helps it to protect the belly-mounted payload. Its reaction control system thrusters are fueled by nitrogen tetroxide and hydrazine.

31. Moya

Moya is a living sentient bio-mechanical spaceship, equipped with both biological and technological components. Like Leviathans, Moya has no weapons  and is capable of only one defensive maneuver, Starburst. She was captured by a Peacekeeper squad at a young age, but somehow managed to escape. She is capable of producing Leviathan-Gunship hybrids – Talyn is one of them.

30. USS Defiant

The USS Defiant is a 24th century Federation Defiant-class starship operated by Starfleet. It may have many flaws, but it has teeth with phase cannon and quantum torpedoes. The ship has a cloaking device and its ablative armor provides protection even when the shields fail.

29. Narada – Star Trek

Narada is a Romulan mining vessel which looks like a giant attack squid. It is capable to drill a hole into a planet’s core. From inside, spaceship is much like a ghost train and combination of log flume.
In year 2233, Narada emerged from a black hole, 50,000 miles from the edge of Klingon space, creating the alternate reality.

28. Klingon Bird-Of-Prey 

Klingon Bird-of-Prey served the Klingon Defense Forces from the late 23rd century to the late 24th century. It has served numerous mission roles, including that of raider, patrol, ship, scout and cruiser. It was outfitted with a cloaking device and two forward-firing wing-mounted disruptor cannons, two photon torpedo launchers and deflector shields.

27. Borg Cube

Image source: wikia

Borg Cube is heavily armed and protected by a number of defensive systems. They are built to remain operable even if up to 78 percent of the ship is destroyed. They are capable of the both wrap and transwrap velocities. When a Borg cube enters a transwarp conduit, it projects a structural integrity field ahead of itself to compensate for the high gravimetric shear.

26. Harvester Mothership – Independence Day

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The Harvester Mothership is commanded by Harvester Queen to attack Earth during the War of 2016. It was used to strip planets of their resources. It consisted powerful energy cannons which can be acred into several beams, shooting multiple targets simultaneously. It also had a powerful protective shield that could withstand a human-made energy cannon.

25. G’Quan Narn Heavy Cruiser

Most of the G’Quan-class cruisers were destroyed during the Narn-Centauri War by the Centauri Republic in 2259. The ship ran on 3 Versal Fusion engines and included some of the most destructible weapons like heavy X-Ray laser cannons, twin particle cannons and engine mine launchers. 

24. USS Enterprise NCC-1701

The NCC-1701 was a constitution-class vessel operated by Starfleet in the 23rd century. It’s a 725 meter long ship that includes photon torpedoes phasers, deflector shields, warp drive and impulse engines powered by matter or antimatter. It has numerous upgrades and two refits, and by the time it was destroyed, it had become the most celebrated starship of its time.

23. TIE Defender

The TIE Defender was an experimental Starfighter developed by Sienar Fleet Systems for the Imperial Navy of the Galactic Empire. It was armed with heavy cannons and missiles, hyperdrivedeflector shields and three wings were mounted around and aft section of the cockpit.

22. Ha’tak

The Ha’tak was designed by Goa’uld during the reign of the Goa’uld empire in the Milky Way Galaxy. It consists of golden tetrahedron built into the center of the vessel, hyperdrive, powerful shields, and 60 high power Staff cannons scattered around the whole body that can be used for ship to ship combat or orbital bombardment. Moreover, it can house a large compliment of Death Gliders for use as a fighter screen.

21. Mothership – Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

It’s been over 40 years, and it still does what it was designed to do – make us go Wow! The ship was designed by Ralph McQuarrie and built by Greg Jein. It appears to be 400 meters wide, and looks more like Cathedral at Christmas. The design was inspired by an oil refinery at night that Spielberg saw while in India.

20. SSD Executor

The Executor-class Star Dreadnough Executor was the personal flagship of Darth Vader. It’s a giant triangular spaceship (19,000 meter long), eclipsing everything in its shadow, and boasted over 5,000 turbo-lasers and ion cannons. There were 13 thrusters at the bottom end of the hull, responsible for moving the vessel. The center of the arrowhead shaped full was covered by a city-like big structure, while the underside consisted most of the engineering systems.

19. Thunderbird 3

Thunderbird 3 is a big, red space vehicle designed for space rescue and maintaining the system and crew of Thunderbird 5 (a geostationary orbital satellite used for monitoring distress signals and radio frequencies). This 562 ton space vehicle uses chemical rockets for lift-off, an ion drive for propulsion and chemical retro rocket for reverse thrust. It is powered by atomic fusion reactor and can reach at a top speed of 25,200 mph.

18. Serenity – Firefly

Serenity is the Firefly-class ship under the command of Malcolm Reynolds. It contains a wide range of components from modern day airline aircraft, including Boeing-style throttle quadrants in the engine room and shuttles, each engine is fitted with navigation indicator lights, Boeing-style control yokes and airliner gallery-style cubbyholes.

17. Prawn Mothership

The Prawns are spacefaring, sapient species of bipedal insectoids whose spaceship landed on Earth in 1982. When their leaders died, they became rudderless and in the absence of command and necessary supplies, their ship auto-navigated them to the nearest habitable planet to allow them to disembark and perform repairs. They all are bio-mechanical, and will only function with their DNA.
Moreover, Prawns are known for their battle-oriented power suits, weaponry, starships and environmental bio-suits.

16. Valdore Type

The Valdore Type was a Romulan warbird that featured numerous forward-mounted disruptor banks located on each wing. The wingspans were 900 meters wide, connected with impulse engines. It had one forward torpedo launcher which could fire four torpedoes for each recharge.

15. ISV Venture Star

The ISV Star is one of the ten vehicle fleet that provides commercial space transportation between Alpha Centauri and Earth. It was designed to carry payload of cargo and passengers. It can travel from Earth to Alpha Centauri A in 6.75 Earth years, and requires unobtanium for providing containment for antimatter-matter reactions.

14. Engineers Ship – Prometheus

The creepy, mysterious and cavernous-looking spaceship from Prometheus (2012) was actually an Engineers Ship. The design is not random, still looked iconic and wonderfully weird. It is in the shape of a pair of woman’s legs splayed apart. Metaphorically, the Mothership gives birth to the alien.

13. Star Destroyer

The Star Destroyer was powerful, dagger-shaped line of capital spaceships that were put into use by Galactic Republic and Empire, and First Order. Imperial class and its predecessor Venator class are some notable examples of Star Destroyer. They can obliterate entire star system with their heavy fire power and stamp out rebellions on hostile planets. They carry their own onboard weapons like ion cannons, turbo lasers and tractor beams.

12. Battlestar Pegasus

Pegasus is a Mercury-class Battlestar under the command of Admiral Helena Cain at the time of the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies. It has superior weapon, armor and flight decks as compared to Battlestar Galactica. It is armed with large anti-missile batteries and nuclear weapons. Also, it has flight simulators on board to facilitate the training of new pilots.

11. Starbug – Red Dwarf

Image source: davidsissonmodels

Starbug has crashed more times than Windows Vista and still keeps going. However, the spaceship received numerous upgrades – the new design featured the cockpit in the front section, gallery on the middle section bottom deck, big observation room on the middle section top deck, and the engine room over all three decks of the rear section. It was also armed with laser cannons, and super tachyon powered drives are mentioned at different points in the Red Dwarf television series.

10. USCSS Nostromo – Alien

Nostromo was constructed in 2101 as an interstellar cruiser and completely destroyed in 2122 when its reactor was set to self destruct by Ellen Ripley in an attempt to kill the lone Xenomorph.

It operated as a commercial hauler, transporting automated ore and oil refineries between Earth and outer colonies. Running at full power, the engines generated a high impulse thrust of total 131,660 kN. The two Rolls-Royce N66 Cyclone thrust engines with bipolar vectoring for midline lift function developed 65,830 metric tons of thrust, each, using water for reaction mass.

9. UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship

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The UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship was designed to be dropped from the belly of the most USCM spaceship while they are in orbit. They could be used to transport marines directly in the field, but mostly they carry M577 Armored Personnel Carrier. Cheyenne has the ability to take off and land vertically from unprepared sites, and it also has many variable weapons hardpoints and a fixed internal cannon.

8. USG Ishimura

The Ishimura is designed for smelting and mining entire planet and moons. Built in 2446, it is the first ship capable for the “scan and catch technique” for harvesting mineral-rich asteroids using huge gravity tethers. Ishimura could be locked onto asteroids and pull them into her massive collection baby for smelting. Apart from this, it also functioned as a medical research vessel, where various research into virology, genetics and toxins was conducted.

7. Event Horizon

The Event Horizon spaceship is built to test an experimental gravity drive. The drive creates an artificial black hole and uses it to connect two points in spacetime, decreasing travel time over astronomical distances. What it does is it creates a dimensional gateway and allows us to jump instantaneously from one point of the universe to another light years away.

6. Romulan Warbird

Image source: wikia

Romulan Warbird was one of the largest and most powerful mainstays of the Romulan Star Empire during the late half of the 24th century. It was classified as a battle cruiser by Starfleet. It used forced quantum singularity as a power source and the latest in Romulan cloaking technology. These warbirds were roughly twice the size of Federation Galaxy-class starship with a lower overall maximum speed. The primary directed energy weapons was located in its “head”, which consisted of a disruptor array, capable of firing both pulses and beams.

Read: 33 Breathtaking Pictures of OuterSpace You’ve Never Seen Before

5. Phoenix-Class Colony Ship

Phoenix-Class Colony Ship carry vehicles, troops, supplies as support for ground forces, and the resources essential to build bases. With 2.5 kilometer length, it is the largest known UNSC ships in the organization’s naval history. It is specially designed to transport thousands of colonists from Earth, and terraforming equipment to change the existing biosphere to become compatible with human habitation.

4. Heart of Gold – The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

Heart of the Gold was the first spaceship to make use of the infinite improbability drive – a small golden box at the heart of the ship – hence its name. It can go anywhere instantly, but may alter the reality in doing so. This is the most unpredictable ship with all forms of bizarre occurrences whenever the drive is used. The pilot might find themselves turned into a bowl of petunias.

3. Prometheus

The USCSS Prometheus was the most advanced and expensive faster-than-light starship ever constructed. It was billed as an official US Commercial Starship in 2091. It has 4 nuclear powered ion plasma engines manufactured by Weyland Corp. It is equipped with all advanced equipment like hypersleep chamber, individual crew eject pod, intergalactic comm antennas, antibiotic injections and more.

Read: 25+ Most Amazing Things Found In Space

2. Dark Aster

“Aster” is a Greek word for “star”. So the literal translation of the ship’s name is “Dark Star”. The Dark Aster was 3 mile-long Kree warship under the command of Ronan the Accuser, which he used to travel the galaxy and take care of threats with. He used this giant ship to attack Xander.

1. Millennium Falcon

Read: 14 Unique Early Experimental Flying Planes

The Millennium Falcon’s shape was defined by a pair of front-facing mandibles, side mounted cockpit, and two convex saucers welded together. The Girodyne SRB42 sublight engines were modified by adding SLAM overdrive that rerouted energy for acceleration bursts. The spaceship could fly at a maximum speed of 650 miles per hour in atmosphere and 3,000 G in space. It included one dorsal and one ventral CES AG-2G quad laser cannons with enhanced laser actuators and gas feeds, giving them maximum range and damage.

Written by
Varun Kumar

I am a professional technology and business research analyst with more than a decade of experience in the field. My main areas of expertise include software technologies, business strategies, competitive analysis, and staying up-to-date with market trends.

I hold a Master's degree in computer science from GGSIPU University. If you'd like to learn more about my latest projects and insights, please don't hesitate to reach out to me via email at [email protected].

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  • Anthony Picott says:

    More space warships?