The Bridge is the command center of a starship. Traditionally located on Deck 1 of most Starfleet vessels, the Bridge allows for direct supervision of all operations aboard the starship.

Design - Primary Bridge

The Primary Bridge is the default design style for the command center for a starship of its type. It is important to note that these descriptions match the standard model of the Bridge Layout depicted and may not match the preferences of individual Commanding Officers as each Primary Bridge design is configurable by the vessel's Commanding Officer.

Class 1 Bridge Layout


Due to the compact nature of most Class 1 vessels, the Bridge of such a vessel is similarly limited but still retains the same general layout as other Starfleet vessels with an increased emphasis on speed and efficiency. The center of the bridge featured space for only a single Command Station - typically the Captain's Chair - and complete supervision of all personnel on the Bridge. Directly between the Command Station and the Viewscreen was a single workstation that is traditionally assigned to serve as the vessel's Helm.

The port side of a Class 1 Bridge houses workspaces for two consoles that can be configured depending upon operational need. Traditionally the workstation closest to the viewscreen is assigned to the functions of Operations Management. The workstation next to this will commonly be assigned as a mission configurable workstation depending upon vessel need. On combat oriented craft this workstation may serve as a backup to Tactical. The starboard side serves as a mirror of the port. Typically the workstation nearest to the viewer on the starboard side would be assigned Tactical functions. Depending on the preference of a vessel's Captain the workstation next to this may be assigned as a supplemental Command Station for the Executive Officer (or, as on most Class 1 vessels, the workstation for the department the XO directly oversees) or as a mission configurable workstation.

Separated from the rest of the Bridge by the doors to Deck 1, the aft module of a Class 1 Bridge is highly configurable based upon the needs of the vessel. On some starships this area can serve as a small briefing area, a holocommunications system can be installed, or the area can be fitted with additional workstations to supplement the existing distribution. More recently some Captain's have requested that this small area be closed off and made into a small office for his/her usage so that he or she never strays far from the Bridge during a crisis.

Class 2 Bridge Layout


The current design of the Class 2 Bridge is slightly larger than its counterpart on a Class 1 vessel, yet still maintains the traditional layout familiar to all Starfleet vessels. The central area of the Bridge serves as the command module for this design and, by default, features a Command Station for the Captain only; however, some Captain's have chosen to incorporate an additional seat for the Executive Officer in this area to highlight the collaborative nature of command. Directly between this area and the Viewscreen is a freestanding, horseshoe shaped console that is assigned Helm functions. On some vessels the Commanding Officer's have recently decided to have twin workstations - similar to those in the forward section of a Class 4 Bridge - installed to increase efficiency in the Bridge design by allowing for additional supportive stations.

Separated from the command module by a railing, the aft module features three large workstations mounted to the aft bulkhead that are configurable based upon mission need. Commonly the station in the center of this area is assigned to the Operations Manager with the Tactical Officer being assigned to the console on the starboard side of this area. The remaining console on the port side is configured based upon the criteria of the vessel's mission. Large monitors are built into the bulkhead above these workstations and provide frequent updates on vessel status. Some Captain's are opting to have these workstations further divided so that six total consoles are in the aft module.

The port and starboard bulkheads provide entry to the Bridge. Separating these doors from the aft module are wall mounted, standing workstations that can be configured to a wide variety of functions as needed.

Class 3 Bridge Layout


The Main Bridge of a Class 3 starship is ovoid in shape and is built on a tiered structure with multiple workstations established throughout the structure. Access to the Bridge was provided through four entries located along the outer wall of the room. Two of these entryways were located along the aft bulkhead of the bridge and served to isolate the mission configurable stations there from the large kiosk stations that outlined the aft module. Consisting of multiple panels, these workstations traditionally housed the functions of Tactical (starboard) and Operations (port). Two additional entries were located next to these kiosks, further isolating them from the rest of the Bridge.

The Command Station of a Class 3 Starship was located in the center of the room and housed seating for the vessel's command crew. Based upon the preference of a vessel's Captain this spacious area could be used to house a single chair or multiples as needed. Seating for the Captain and First Officer is provided in the default design with a single workstation separating the two. A single configurable console was built in the railing behind the command module and separated it from the aft module.

Directly forward of the command module was a large, freestanding workstation that was typically assigned to serve as the Helm for a Class 3 vessel. Due to the sheer size of this workstation the Captain can elect to have the station divided into two distinct workstations, allowing for greater diversity in the allocation of Bridge functions. Flanking the viewscreen are two mission configurable workstations that can be assigned due to operational need.

Class 4 Bridge Layout


The Bridge of a Class 4 starship is among the largest in Starfleet. Featuring multiple workstations, varied configurations, and no less than four separate entryways - depending upon configuration - many Officers and Crew have found this design to be luxury in its finest. In the event of an emergency crew could survive up to 72 hours on a Class 4 Bridge while they awaited rescue.

The forward section of the Bridge features a large Viewscreen that is flanked by two, mission configurable workstations that are traditionally assigned the functions of Flight Control and Operations. More recently, many Captains have been choosing to forgo this separation and are having a single workstation placed in this area which allowed for two operators to work from it or a single pilot. Behind this area is the command module which is one of the first Bridge designs to have multiple Command Stations.

Separating this area from the rest of the Bridge is a large, horseshoe shaped railing that houses two mission configurable workstations by default. Typically, the Captain will elect for this workstation to monitor Tactical functions but, in the instances that a single Flight Control station is installed in the forward section, Operations may also be housed in this railing. The aft module features five workstations that can be customized based upon mission profile. Operators could choose to stand at these workstations or built in seating is available and can be removed from behind the wall panel

The port and starboard walls were unique in that they were designed with customization in mind. The default bridge layout incorporates storage lockers and status indicators in this area; however, some Captains have opted to have additional workstation modules installed in these areas to allow for increased customization and efficiency for their crews.

Class 5 Bridge Layout


The largest Bridge design currently in use by Starfleet, the Class 5 Bridge provides primary operational control over Starfleet's largest Capital Ships. Featuring advanced interfaces, luxury furnishings, and multiple redundancies this design is considered by Starfleet's Corps of Engineers to be the ideal melding of form and function.

Like its counterparts, the central area of the Bridge serves as the command module for the vessel and provides Command Stations for the Captain and two others typically. Unlike other command modules, the workstation for the Captain is raised from the others in the module and is adjacent to freestanding mission configurable workstations. Commonly the workstation to the Captain's right is assigned to oversee the Tactical Department. Directly ahead of the command module were two, identical workstations that were commonly assigned as Helm and Operations stations.

The aft module of the Bridge was highly configurable and, traditionally, housed a single workstation with most Captain's choosing to install a Master Situation workstation in this area. More recently some Captains have chosen to have this workstation broken into as many as three customizable consoles. On either side of this area were exits to the surrounding deck. Additional exits, commonly to turbolifts, further separated this area from the port and starboard modules of the Bridge. Highly configurable based upon operational priorities for a given mission, some Captain's have chosen to assign the modules to external and internal functions and assigned workstation configurations accordingly.

Two additional exits to the surrounding deck were available at the front of the Bridge adjacent to the large, fully holographic viewscreen.

Design - Secondary Bridge

The Secondary Bridge is an alternative design style for the command center for a starship regardless of type. It is important to note that these descriptions match the standard model of the Bridge Layout depicted and may not match the preferences of individual Commanding Officers as each Secondary Bridge design is configurable by the vessel's Commanding Officer.

Module 1 Bridge Layout


The Module 1 Bridge Layout has been a staple design of the Federation Starfleet since its inception in the 23rd Century. This spacious design allows for ease of movement between stations and was designed with efficiency in mind to allow the Captain of the ship a perfect vantage from which to supervise the vessel's operations.

The command section is located in the center of the room and is mission configurable with the Captain's needs in mind. In the default form a single chair is provided for the Commanding Officer in the exact center of the section that was equidistant from all Bridge workstations in direct view of the viewscreen. Some Captains have opted instead for a collaborative command area that offers seating for one or two additional officers alongside the Captain. The advantage of this design is that the Captain could be immediately updated on the condition of the vessel, its crew, and orders given. This circular area is normally isolated from the rest of the Bridge by a railing which could also incorporate additional workstations built into if based upon the Captain's preferences.

Directly in front of the command section is a large console that could be divided into sections or left as one large workstation for the ship's helmsman. In the typical configuration one of these workstations is assigned as the Helm and the other is normally assigned to serve as Operations, but these functions can be assigned based upon the needs of the Commanding Officer. Both officers share an unobstructed view of the main viewscreen, as does the commanding officer. Some Captain's of larger vessels, such as the Enterprise Class have added additional stations to the area lining the command area to serve other functions.

The remaining stations were located along the entire raised perimeter of the bridge and their usage was dependent upon mission protocols. Directly behind the Captain's Chair was the Master Situation Display which provided detailed information on the status of the vessel. Depending on mission type the remaining workstations could be configured as needed to meet the criteria of the assignment at hand. In the default configuration the consoles adjacent to the Master Situation Display were the Science and Tactical stations to starboard and port respectively with two smaller workstations adjacent to these. Further forward still, on either side of the main view screen, were two more large stations with smaller attached workstations, which also faced away from the center of the bridge. Commonly the starboard workstation is assigned to Engineering functions while the port console would be dedicated to Mission Operations. The smaller support workstations did not commonly have dedicated functions. Mounted into the room's forward bulkhead was the main viewscreen.

Entry to the bridge was provided via doors located on the port and starboard sides of the upper level. Commonly one of these doors provides access to the remaining crew spaces of the deck and the other to a turbolift; however, this is also dependent upon the Captain's preferences and may be configured as needed to provide two turbolifts or simply access to the Deck.

Module 2 Bridge Layout


The Module 2 Bridge Layout started life not as a design for a starship's Main Bridge but instead as the design for the Battle Bridge of the Galaxy Class. Highly modular, the Module 2 Bridge Layout is extremely configurable based upon the operational needs of the Captain.

Like its counterparts, this Bridge design features a centrally located Captain's Chair in a slightly recessed area at the center of the Bridge; however, additional seating can be provided for up to two additional persons in this area. Directly ahead of the Captain down an additional series of steps are two freestanding workstations that are typically assigned to the Helmsman on starboard and the Operations Manager to port. Ahead of these workstations on the forward bulkhead is a large viewscreen that provides detailed information from the sensors or main computer. The lower level port and starboard walls allow access to the remaining space of the Deck on one side and a turbolift on the other by default; however, this is also at the Captain's discretion.

Two large duty stations were located on the port and starboard rear walls of the Bridge and were separated by a large alcove with access to the remainder of the deck. Commonly the Dedication Plaque of the vessel was located in the center of this rear bulkhead directly behind the Captain. The starboard duty stations were traditionally separated into Science and Environmental consoles with the freestanding workstation adjacent to them dedicated to the Executive Officer. The Tactical Officer utilizes the freestanding console on the port side with the Engineering and Mission Operations workstations located along the wall. While this is the typical layout the design can be modified based upon the taste of the assigned Commanding Officer to meet mission need.


Required Workstations


Typically located in the center of a starship's Bridge, the Command Station allows direct supervision of vessel operations, while also providing access to key personnel and an unobstructed view of the viewscreen. At minimum the Command Station houses informational displays for the Commanding Officer of the vessel while, on larger vessels, additional seating may be provided for other command personnel as needed. Personnel working from the Command Station can override all shipboard operations if needed and have direct access to all shipboard systems as needed.


The Helm workstation allows its user to oversee the piloting and navigation of a starship, including warp, impulse and thruster control. While a highly automated process, the Helm is responsible for reviewing sensor data, maintaining subspace field geometry, and making course corrections as needed. Part of these responsibilities involves close monitoring the relativistic effects of spaceflight upon the ship and the status of the inertial damping system.


The Operations console (also known as Ops) coordinates shipboard operations and resources so that mission goals are not jeopardized. The main computer provides Ops with a detailed list of current shipboard activities which allows Ops to set priorities and allocate resources. The Operations workstation also allows the user internal systems control, control over the communications system, and serves as a backup to the Science Station for analysis of sensor data.


Tactical is the Bridge workstation that oversees shipboard security and defense. The Tactical Station additionally provides its operator with the ability to control the shields, phaser, and torpedo systems. It also allows the ship's Security Chief can oversee internal security needs and to manage the internal protection of the starship and its crew. Depending on operational need, the Tactical Station works closely with Flight Control and Operations to ensure optimal function.


Traditionally located on the forward bulkhead of the Bridge, the Viewscreen allows the Bridge crew real time external views of the starship's surroundings or can be utilized to display communications between the ship and other parties. At the discretion of its Captain the viewscreen can also be set to display a Heads Up Display (also known as a HUD) that provides real-time data on the vessel's status, sensor data, or alert status.

Supportive Workstations

Depending on operational need workstations on the Bridge of a starship can be reconfigured to assume responsibility of other shipboard functions to alleviate strain on other departments or to increase shipboard efficiency.


Communications is the workstation that monitors all communications aboard ship - both external and internal - and manages the Universal Translator protocols to allow communications with other species involving languages other than Federation Standard.

Damage Control

A specialized workstation, the Damage Control station oversees the general health of the vessel itself. Should damage be detected or routine maintenance be required an operator of this panel may deploy a repair team as appropriate to investigate and fix the issue.


The Engineering workstation allows the Chief Engineer to oversee shipboard maintenance and systems when he or she is needed on the Bridge. It provides detailed updates on damage control, energy consumption, and shipboard status to its user at all times and is commonly updated when used.

Environmental Control

The Environmental Control workstation is designed to monitor the status of the crew of the starship and the status of the life support systems. In the event that the Chief Medical Officer of the vessel is needed on the Bridge he or she will typically work from this station.

Master Situation

More commonly found in Engineering, the Master Situation panel is a large schematic diagram of a vessel that provides a general shipboard status overview at a glance to any user.

Mission Operations

Mission Operations is a supplemental workstation that can be configured to monitor activity relating to secondary missions. In the event of a landing party assignment this station is responsible for monitoring away teams activities and the general wellbeing of the crew on the assignment. Should the vessel be leading a fleet of other vessels this workstation coordinates information received on those vessel's operations.


Uncommon on modern vessels, the Navigation console is utilized by an officer to monitor a starship's course and to plot course corrections if need be. It also can be assigned to oversee cartography needs during exploration missions.


More commonly found in Engineering, the Propulsion console can be used by a vessel's crew to directly monitor the status of the vessels sublight and faster than light drives.


The Science Station provides constant updates and data analysis from the vessel's sensor systems to its user as well as a full linkage to the starship's computer library for exploration purposes. Through the operations of this console a user can also oversee the tasks being undertaken by each program in the Science Department.


Frequently utilized on larger vessels or warships, the Security Console is a dedicated workstation that may be utilized in an emergency to transfer the responsibilities of internal security to another officer to allow the Tactical Officer the ability to focus only upon external threats to the starship only. It allows its operator to oversee internal security needs and to manage the internal protection of the starship and its crew.


Another workstation more commonly found on larger vessels, the Weapons Console is assigned to oversee the function of a starship's defensive and offensive systems only.

See Also

Real World

The Bridge is the Command Center of a Starship and is one of the most common locations featured in our role playing games. The original design of the USS Enterprise by Matt Jeffries for the Original Star Trek television series made history and was studied in detail by the United States military for its effectiveness. A special thanks to Ex Astris Scientia for their detailed gallery of Starship Bridges.


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